NEW YORK, Aug 24 — American cyclist Lance Armstrong said yesterday he would no longer fight US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) accusations that he used illegal drugs during his seven Tour de France victories:
- Born: Sept 18 1971, in Texas, United States.
- Finishes 14th in the individual road race at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Turns professional.
- In 1993, he wins a Tour de France stage at Verdum. Wins the Triple Crown in the US and world championship in Oslo, Norway.
- Twelfth in road race and sixth in individual time trial at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
- Signs for the Cofidis team, but is diagnosed with testicular cancer and given less than a 50 per cent chance of survival. Has surgery and aggressive chemotherapy.
- In 1997, he is declared free of cancer. Joins the US Postal team.
Tour De France
- Wins the Tour de France for the first time in 1999, taking four stage victories on the way.
- Earns a second Tour victory and wins a bronze medal for the individual time trial at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
- In 2001, he becomes only the fifth man in 88 editions of the Tour to win three or more times in succession — following Louison Bobet (1953-55), Jacques Anquetil (1961-64), Eddy Merckx (1969-72) and Miguel Indurain (1991-95).
- Takes his fourth Tour title in 2002 — one short of the record held by Anquetil (France), Merckx (Belgium), Bernard Hinault (France) and Indurain (Spain). Wins four stages and wears the yellow jersey continuously after taking it on stage 11.
- Takes the Tour de France yellow jersey on the eighth stage to L’Alpe d’Huez on his way to a fifth victory in 2003.
- In 2004, he wins a record sixth Tour de France after taking control of the yellow jersey with victory on the 15th stage.
- Retires in 2005 after winning the Tour for an unprecedented seventh consecutive time.
- In May 31, 2006, Armstrong is cleared of doping by an independent investigation launched by the International Cycling Union after French newspaper L’Equipe published allegations that six of his urine samples from the 1999 Tour showed traces of the blood-boosting drug erythropoietin.
Back on the bike
- In Sept 9, 2008, Armstrong announces he will come out of retirement to compete in the 2009 Tour de France to raise awareness of the global cancer burden.
- Finishes third in the 2009 Tour de France behind Spain’s Alberto Contador and Luxembourg’s Andy Schleck. Returns a year later to finish 23rd after a crash in the first mountain stage brought an end to any hopes of a title challenge.
- In his last race, Armstrong finishes 65th overall and almost six minutes adrift of race winner Cameron Meyer of Australia in the 2011 Tour Down Under as continued allegations over illegal doping overshadowed his swansong.
- Announces second retirement from competitive cycling on Feb 16 last year.
Doping allegation return
- In June this year, USADA officially charges Armstrong with doping, based on blood samples from 2009 and 2010, and testimonies from other cyclists. Armstrong was charged in a letter from USADA, along with five others, including former team manager Johan Bruyneel.
- On July 9, Armstrong files lawsuit against the USADA, which a federal court judge threw out later the same day. The following day he files a revised lawsuit, once again asking to stop the agency from stripping his seven Tour de France titles and banning him from the sport for life if he failed to submit to arbitration over alleged doping violations.
- Armstrong’s lawsuit claimed that the USADA did not have jurisdiction and that his right to due process was being violated but it was thrown out by US District Judge Sam Sparks on Aug 20, who upheld the USADA’s jurisdiction in the case.
USADA CEO Travis Tygart said yesterday that Armstrong’s decision not to fight the doping accusations was “heartbreaking”.
“It is a sad day for all of us who love sport and our athletic heroes,” Tygart said in a statement released to Reuters.
“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, but for clean athletes, it is a reassuring reminder that there is hope for future generations to compete on a level playing field without the use of performance-enhancing drugs,” he said.
Armstrong maintains the USADA lack jurisdiction to strip him of his Tour de France titles. — Reuters