Lance Armstrong. Photo: Oddne Rasmussen/Flickr
On Thursday night, Lance Armstrong chose not to enter into an arbitration process that would pit him against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, saying he's grown tired of fighting charges of doping.
"There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, 'Enough is enough.' For me, that time is now," said Armstrong in a statement. "I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999. Over the past three years, I have been subjected to a two-year federal criminal investigation followed by Travis Tygart's unconstitutional witch hunt. The toll this has taken on my family, and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today—finished with this nonsense."
The New York Times has reported that, according to the World Anti-Doping Code, Armstrong will be stripped of his seven consecutive Tour de France titles, his Olympic bronze medal, any titles and awards he earned from 1998 on, and that he will be banned from the sport for life.
That's technically true, but it's a bit more complicated than that, as has been explained by the Associated Press and The New York Times this morning. The International Cycling Union, which has engaged in a bit of a turf war with the World Anti-Doping Agency in the past, said on Friday morning it would like the USADA to hand over "a reasoned decision explaining the action taken." In other words, they want to see what evidence the USADA has before announcing that they will strip Armstrong of his titles and awards. Once the USADA formally files sanctions against Armstrong, it is up to the International Cycling Union and the individual events to enact the USADA's actions. They are bound to do this under WADA rules, but they can also file an appeal that could go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland. The court could give the International Cycling Union jurisdiction to rule on the case, or enforce the decision made by the USADA.
Armstrong has been given a wide platform to sound off, and his full statement has been published on Outside. Below, we've listed the responses of other parties involved, from doping officials to reporters and columnists who have covered Armstrong for much of his career.