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. Hope

    Maybe, now he can find a team in
    Jamaica and make a cycling team of
    his own and compete in the olympics
    as a coach!

    😀

    Cool... but, bored,
    Hope

    August 24, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Peg

    He competed, won, and passed all the drug tests. Let it go. Leave the man alone. Why continue to persuit the man after he has left professional cycling? It's not like he's become a cycling coach or continuing to make his money from cycling. Where is the test to prove he doped? If you have no proof,drop it and let his record stand. He has NEVER failed a drug test. That's enough for me.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Lilazblondie

    Why don't they just leave the man alone. He has always been a hero to me. The evidence is their is no evidence.

    August 24, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mary

    I've been seeing the word "hero" on every blog regarding Armstrong.
    I do have to wonder why people don't look at Jesus as their hero. Really.
    He went through a tremendous amount for everyone to have a chance at paradise...

    August 24, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • max3333444555

      id rather watch a bicylce race on replay for eternity than hang out with a bunch of christians for eternity. paradise?

      try to stay on topic. i know its hard when the meds make you so groggy

      August 31, 2012 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  5. Mary

    please step away from the computer! LOL Sorry

    August 25, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  6. whats the topic?

    Just wondering. Hard to tell.

    August 25, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  7. Welago Chicfare

    Is this the funny pages?

    August 25, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  8. banasy©

    Notice to Perado Colorvert:
    You aren't nearly as clever as you think you are.

    August 25, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bayousara

    Testimony by other cyclists is weak weak proof. Where are the drug tests to prove this? Why isn't the media talking about drug tests that prove the charges? Where can I find these test results? This whole thing seems so trumped up.

    August 26, 2012 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
  10. ronvan

    TESTS, we don't need no stinking tests! IF there is no REAL evidence, like test results, then what is the REAL reason this is being done? Heard on the news the other day, that the vast majority of the winning cyclists are on something!?
    IF true then the question should be who is taking the drugs, the cyclists or the drug testors?

    August 26, 2012 at 8:26 am | Report abuse |
  11. Kenney

    At least several times a year i ride with some pro cyclists i eat a really good diet and take supplements b12 cliff bars caffein shots while riding i keep up with these guys no problem after lance had cancer why couldnt he ? He im sure would not want to get the complications of using such performance drugs , let alone risk all of his victories would he ? I think all this bs is trumped up and there are some highly paid pros out there with some big wads of cash now this lance has made some major accomplishments in his life compared to the standard couch potatoes that talk a big game and only wish they could live like that

    August 27, 2012 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
  12. Santosh Kumar

    Dear All,
    Let us be very honest in trying to prove against Lance. Do we have an evidence of tests? Are we using people whose character is consitently questioned to witness against Lance. I mean after umpteen tests in days of cycling that could not prove positive, are we pointing out at Lance just because, someone can't stand his accomplishments. I only wish that USADA realised its mistake and took back its statements. This fight is as good as trying to prove that Jesus was not true.... How can a country like the US, keep quiet at this irony of an innocent and brilliant played being brutally assualted and accused of things that he has not even done.. Give Lance a break guys... he has doen far too many good things than the corrupted officials have ever done... Let him have his due credit of the accomplishments her has done. Anyone now a days can stand as witness for a few million dollars and fake recognition. All the best to those who are fighting against truth... I know Lance will always have the support of those who believe in the truth, ibncluding mine....

    August 27, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kenney

    Hell even the clean cyclists are on something just legal somethings supplements and a dam good diet thats all it takes the human body can with stand some extreme abuse and cycling is the extremist abuse that one can test themselves with so want a drug test ? Get o a road bike a good trainer and a top notch diet and you to can accomplish many things you would be surprised im 50 yrs old and do not feel a day over 21

    August 27, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ~~~

    i could ride with him for a little while in a paceline that wasn't a race. not convinced he needs drugs.

    August 28, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ben

    Cyclists don't think they're accountable for their actions, but everybody else does. If he gets hit blowing through a red light his atonement will be complete.

    August 29, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
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