Formal charges were brought against Lance Armstrong by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, banning Armstrong from competing as a triathlete and calling into question the validity of his seven Tour de France titles.
Armstrong received a 15-page letter from the USADA and alleged tainted blood samples taken in 2009 and 2010 were consistent with blood manipulation or blood transfusions. Armstrong has not tested positive and the United States Attorney’s Office opted not to file charges after its own two-year investigation completed in February.
Armstrong released a statement Wednesday decrying the USADA charges.
“I have been notified that USADA, an organization largely funded by taxpayer dollars but governed only by self-written rules, intends to again dredge up discredited allegations dating back more than 16 years to prevent me from competing as a triathlete and try and strip me of the seven Tour de France victories I earned,” the statement read. “These are the very same charges and the same witnesses that the Justice Department chose not to pursue after a two-year investigation. These charges are baseless, motivated by spite and advanced through testimony bought and paid for by promises of anonymity and immunity.
“Although USADA alleges a wide-ranging conspiracy extended over more than 16 years, I am the only athlete it has chosen to charge. USADA’s malice, its methods, its star-chamber practices, and its decision to punish first and adjudicate later all are at odds with our ideals of fairness and fair play.
“I have never doped, and, unlike many of my accusers, I have competed as an endurance athlete for 25 years with no spike in performance, passed more than 500 drug tests and never failed one.
“That USADA ignores this fundamental distinction and charges me instead of the admitted dopers says far more about USADA, its lack of fairness and this vendetta than it does about my guilt or innocence.”