Lance Armstrong Loses Seven Tour de France Titles in One Day

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Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong has decided to end his fight against the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) after a federal judge dismissed his lawsuit against the anti-doping organization. Armstrong had been accused by USADA of using anabolic steroids, erythropoietin (EPO) and other prohibited performance-enhancing methods. As a result, USADA stripped Armstrong of all seven Tour de France titles including prize money. Armstrong has been banned for life from competing in sports.

Armstrong may have relinquished his fight against the steroid charges and USADA’s witch-hunt but he still considers himself the undisputed champion of the seven Tour de France races he won.

“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,” wrote Armstrong. “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.”

Armstrong had been under considerable pressure by anti-doping authorities for some time. USADA collaborated with the United States government during a two-year federal investigation of Armstrong and his teammates. After federal prosecutors decided not to press charges against Armstrong, USADA decided to act on its own.

Armstrong did not feel he would get a fair chance to defend himself against USADA’s charges during arbitration. Instead, he claimed violation of his due process rights in a lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas in Austin.

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks rejected Armstrong’s argument that his due process rights were violated but found several improprieties in USADA’s methods and motives. He found the USADA document charging Armstrong of “serious constitutional concern” but refused to intervene because USADA could simply draft another charging document that passed the constitutional muster.

Judge Sparks also criticized the sport of cycling for its handling of the Armstrong doping case. UCI, cycling’s international governing body and U.S. Cycling were at odds with USADA. Both organizations claimed that USADA lacked the jurisdiction to bring such charges against Armstrong.

“As mystifying as USADA’s election to proceed at this date and in this manner may be, it is equally perplexing that these three national and international bodies are apparently unable to work together to accomplish their shared goal — the regulation and promotion of cycling,” Sparks said. “However, if these bodies wish to damage the image of their sport through bitter infighting, they will have to do so without the involvement of the United States courts.”

The initial reaction to USADA’s decision to take away Armstrong’s Tour de France titles seems to be one of ambivalence. The steroid witch-hunt against celebrity athletes may have finally reached a tipping point.

Lance Armstrong

Photo credit: Millard Baker


Associated Press. (August 20, 2012). Federal judge tosses Lance Armstrong’s lawsuit against US Anti-Doping Agency. Retrieved from