Lance Armstrong will be stripped of his seven Tour de France titles as a result of his decision not to continue his fight against doping allegations brought by the US Anti-Doping Agency. The athlete, who announced retirement last year, will also be banned from cycling.
"It is a sad day for all of us who love sport and our athletic heroes," USADA CEO Travis Tygart said. "This is a heartbreaking example of how the win-at-all-costs culture of sport, if left unchecked, will overtake fair, safe and honest competition."
Armstrong insisted his decision was not an admission of guilt, but a move to dedicate more time to his family and his Livestrong foundation to help cancer survivors. "There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, 'Enough is enough.' For me, that time is now," he said.
"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."
"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."
He noted that the results of his tests for performance-enhancing drugs never came back positive. "I know who won those seven Tours," he said. "The same courses, the same rules. The toughest event in the world where the strongest man wins. Nobody can ever change that."