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Lance Armstrong’s Full Statement on the USADA

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Lance Armstrong released the following statement on his website on Thursday, August 23. In it, he explains his decision not to go to arbitration and fight charges brought by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

Austin, Texas—There comes a
point in every man's life when he has to say, “Enough is enough.” For
me, that time is now. 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.

I
had hoped that a federal court would stop USADA’s charade. Although the
court was sympathetic to my concerns and recognized the many
improprieties and deficiencies in USADA’s motives, its conduct, and its
process, the court ultimately decided that it could not intervene.

If
I thought for one moment that by participating in USADA’s process, I
could confront these allegations in a fair setting and—once and for
all—put these charges to rest, I would jump at the chance. But I
refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair.
Regardless of what Travis Tygart says, there is zero physical evidence
to support his outlandish and heinous claims. The only physical evidence
here is the hundreds of controls I have passed with flying colors. I
made myself available around the clock and around the world.
In competition. Out of competition. Blood. Urine. Whatever they asked
for I provided. What is the point of all this testing if, in the end,
USADA will not stand by it?

From the beginning, however, this
investigation has not been about learning the truth or cleaning up
cycling, but about punishing me at all costs. I am a retired cyclist,
yet USADA has lodged charges over 17 years old despite its own eight-year
limitation. As respected organizations such as UCI and USA Cycling have
made clear, USADA lacks jurisdiction even to bring these charges. The
international bodies governing cycling have ordered USADA to stop, have
given notice that no one should participate in USADA’s improper
proceedings, and have made it clear the pronouncements by USADA that it
has banned people for life or stripped them of their accomplishments are
made without authority. And as many others, including USADA’s own
arbitrators, have found, there is nothing even remotely fair about its
process. USADA has broken the law, turned its back on its own rules, and
stiff-armed those who have tried to persuade USADA to honor its
obligations. At every turn, USADA has played the role of a bully,
threatening everyone in its way and challenging the good faith of anyone
who questions its motives or its methods, all at U.S. taxpayers’
expense. For the last two months, USADA has endlessly repeated the
mantra that there should be a single set of rules, applicable to all,
but they have arrogantly refused to practice what they preach. On top of
all that, USADA has allegedly made deals with other riders that
circumvent their own rules as long as they said I cheated. Many of those
riders continue to race today.

The bottom line is I played by the
rules that were put in place by the UCI, WADA and USADA when I raced.
The idea that athletes can be convicted today without positive A and B
samples, under the same rules and procedures that apply to athletes with
positive tests, perverts the system and creates a process where any
begrudged ex-teammate can open a USADA case out of spite or for personal
gain or a cheating cyclist can cut a sweetheart deal for themselves.
It’s an unfair approach, applied selectively, in opposition to all the
rules. It’s just not right.

USADA cannot assert control of a
professional international sport and attempt to strip my seven Tour de
France titles. I know who won those seven Tours, my teammates know who
won those seven Tours, and everyone I competed against knows who won
those seven Tours. We all raced together. For three weeks over the same
roads, the same mountains, and against all the weather and elements that
we had to confront. There were no shortcuts, there was no special
treatment. The same courses, the same rules. The toughest event in the
world where the strongest man wins. Nobody can ever change that.
Especially not Travis Tygart.

Today I turn the page. I will no
longer address this issue, regardless of the circumstances. I will
commit myself to the work I began before ever winning a single Tour de
France title: serving people and families affected by cancer, especially
those in underserved communities. This October, my Foundation will
celebrate 15 years of service to cancer survivors and the milestone of
raising nearly $500 million. We have a lot of work to do and I'm looking
forward to an end to this pointless distraction. I have a
responsibility to all those who have stepped forward to devote their
time and energy to the cancer cause. I will not stop fighting for that
mission. Going forward, I am going to devote myself to raising my five
beautiful (and energetic) kids, fighting cancer, and attempting to be
the fittest 40 year old on the planet.

—Joe Spring
@joespring
facebook.com/joespring.1

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