Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his titles for alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs. The cyclist has been given a lifetime ban from the sport.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced on Friday that it would strike Lance Armstrong's name from the Tour de France winners' lists and ban him from all future competition.
Armstrong, who won a record seven consecutive Tours de France from 1999 to 2005, was formally charged by the USADA in June. He was accused of conspiring with teammates to cover up doping violations.
"Numerous witnesses provided evidence to USADA based on personal knowledge acquired, either through direct observation of doping activity by Armstrong,or through Armstrong's admissions of doping to them that Armstrong used EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone and cortisone during the period from before 1998 through 2005," said the organization in a statement.
A lawsuit Armstrong filed in a federal court in Austin, Texas, saying the USADA had no jurisdiction in the matter was dismissed on Monday. The 40-year-old had until midnight local time on Thursday to contest the evidence against him, but chose not to do so.
The USADA said that Armstrong "as a result has received a lifetime period of ineligibility and disqualification of all competitive results from August 1, 1998, through the present."
"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," Armstrong said in a statement on his website. "But I refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair."
Armstrong called the USADA's investigation an "unconstitutional witch hunt," saying that it has taken a toll on his family and that he is "finished with this nonsense."
He accused the USADA of breaking the law, saying that the organization "has lodged charges over 17 years old despite its own eight-year limitation."
“Nobody wins when an athlete decides to cheat with dangerous performance enhancing drugs, but clean athletes at every level expect those of us here on their behalf, to pursue the truth to ensure the win-at-all-cost culture does not permanently overtake fair, honest competition,” USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart said.
Armstrong added that he "will no longer address this issue, regardless of the circumstances."
The Tour de France organizers and the International Cyclists Union have not yet commented on the ruling.