August 24th, 2012
03:29 PM ET

What's behind the Armstrong headlines

CNN has gathered plenty of news and opinion on the prospect that famed seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong may lose his titles after ending his fight against charges of illegal doping.

This post corrals much of it so you can quickly see what's out there.

The issue

Armstrong announced Thursday that he would no longer fight the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's charges, not admitting wrongdoing but rather saying he's tired of having to prove his professed innocence for years without any lasting success.

The USADA responded Friday that it was giving him a lifetime ban and disqualifying him from all events since August 1998. Still at issue is whether the USADA has the power to strip him of his victories; more about that in a bit.

A thorough look at what the USADA accuses him of can be found here. In a nutshell, though, the USADA in June charged Armstrong and several members of his former U.S. Postal Service team with illegal doping and trafficking of performance-enhancing drugs.

The USADA responsible for monitoring drug testing and enforcing the World Anti-Doping Agency code for U.S. Olympic and Paralympic sports alleges that Armstrong, who retired in 2011, took steroids and blood-doped during his career and says testimony from ex-teammates support the charges. This includes Floyd Landis, a former USPS rider who claimed that he saw Armstrong using blood transfusions to increase the level of oxygen-carrying red blood cells in his system as well as taking the blood-boosting drug EPO.

Armstrong has consistently denied allegations of illegal doping.

Armstrong sued the USADA to stop the investigation, arguing that it did not have the right to prosecute him. But a federal judge dismissed Armstrong's lawsuit Monday after ruling that the court did not have jurisdiction.

There's a question of whether Armstrong can be stripped of his wins, including his Tour de France titles, without other international agencies getting involved. The International Cycling Union (UCI), the cycling's world governing body, claims that it, not the USADA, has jurisdiction. That position has been recently backed by USA Cycling, the official organization recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

The World Anti-Doping Agency's president, John Fahey, told Australia's ABC Radio that the U.S. organization "has the right to impose penalties" including a retrospective lifetime ban but that it is essentially up to the cycling union to strip Armstrong of his Tour de France titles.

The International Cycling Union "usually strip athletes or sporting federations for both leagues of titles in such circumstances. But that's now a matter, as I understand it, for UCI," Fahey told ABC Radio.

The immediate players' statements

Friday's statement from the USADA, which said it was giving Armstrong a lifetime ban.

A statement from the International Cycling Union, which has challenged the USADA's claim of jurisdiction.

– Thursday's statement from Armstrong, who says he's tired of "dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven (Tours de France) since 1999" and that there is "zero physical evidence to support" the USADA's claims.

Friday's statement from the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The U.S. Postal Service noted that it hasn't sponsored a pro cycling team since 2004. "We have no additional comment," USPS representative Mark Saunders said.

Reaction, opinion pieces and background

Nike and Anheuser-Busch say Armstrong will stay on as an endorser, CNN Money reports.

"Lance has stated his innocence and has been unwavering on this position. Nike plans to continue to support Lance and the Lance Armstrong Foundation," Nike's statement said.

Nike was referring to Armstrong's foundation to help cancer patients (Armstrong himself is a testicular cancer survivor), known for its LiveStrong yellow wristbands. That work is one of the factors that apparently makes him attractive to advertisers despite the scandal, CNNMoney reports.

Lance Armstrong Foundation Vice Chairman Jeffrey Garvey said he supported Armstrong's decision.

"Faced with a biased process whose outcome seems predetermined, Lance chose to put his family and his foundation first, and we support his decision.

“Lance’s legacy in the cancer community is unparalleled. Lance could have left cancer behind him and never looked back. Instead, before ever winning the Tour de France, he established a foundation that today has served 2.5 million cancer survivors with its free patient navigation services. ... Lance has unfailingly stood by the cancer community and we will always stand by him."

– SI.com's Michael Rosenberg writes that Armstrong is ending his fight because he's banking on a belief that the public doesn't care whether he used drugs. And if Armstrong does think that, Rosenberg thinks, he would be correct.

– A few select tweets on the matter:

From ESPN "First Take" commentator Skip Bayless:

From Donald Trump:

From 2009 Formula One champion Jenson Button:

From Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl:

Back in June, when the USADA charged Armstrong, SI.com columnist Jeff Pearlman argued that Armstrong's position of innocence was unbelievable and that fans shouldn't forgive him.

SI.com: Behind the scenes with Armstrong as he trained in 2009 for return to racing

SI.com, January 2011, "The Case Against Lance Armstrong": SI.com examined old and recent allegations that Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs during his Tour de France wins.

More on Armstrong:

Cyclists say 'good riddance' to Armstrong

Armstrong and the tenuous nature of heroism

Armstrong's cancer foundation still strong

Top Armstrong questions answered

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Filed under: Cycling • Lance Armstrong • Sports
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. theawesomersfranchise

    Lance Armstrong supporters, Joe Paterno Apologists, Hitler Youth...No difference

    August 31, 2012 at 2:28 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. max3333444555

    if you aint cheating you aint trying. not saying he cheated. just saying i dont care if he cheated

    August 31, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. LL

    The whole process seems like a witch hunt and a bit tainted, where was this parade of witnesses before? How many times do you have to defend yourself? I'm not even a fan of cycling, but this seems to be a bit much to keep going through year after year.

    August 31, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • cartann17

      Agreed! It's just a witch hunt. I know what a "semi-gov"can do to an athlete that is envied.
      After 10 years!!!! Just crazy. Armstrong is right, there is no point in keep fighting.

      September 3, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  4. Robby

    Why didn't the USADA test at the day of the event? if they even have the authority. It's crap that they are somehow able to take three year old samples and now test for a substance that they couldn't test during the actual event. So how accurate and consistent is the USADA? Are they going to test everyone now retroactively? If another PED is discovered a few years from now, will they re-test every sample, in every sport?

    August 31, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • cartann17

      It happens that I know one of the head doctors from the anti doping committee for the Olimpic Games... And I know for sure that if they did not know one kind of drug in one event, they will know in the subsequent one! They live among these stuff, they know the business. If you could cheat those tests for 10 years, man, you deserve a medal. And we should close the USADA for incompetence.

      September 3, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  5. Beck

    Not an Armstrong fan but why is it year after year this same thing comes up even after he has quit? If they tested him to begin with and nothing showed up then let it go folks. Geeze, whose daughter/sister did the guy sleep with to bring down so much hate?

    September 1, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. jl

    People go after Lance in an extraordinary way because of JEALOUSY? Just a guess.

    September 2, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. RustyHinges8

    He is historically, the "most tested athlete in sports". They sprung surprise tests on him, sometimes testing three times in one day....and NOTHING. Even if he could have doped....there isn't a cyclist alive who could win seven Tour de France races in a row, no matter what drugs they were on. I'll always think the very best of Lance Armstrong.

    September 3, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Caninus Lupus

    Why the team mates and others accusing him did not came forward before??? Why now???
    Why these people are not cross investigated, is there enough evidence just out of their mouths?!

    October 24, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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