Famous for winning the Tour de France a record seven consecutive times after having survived testicular cancer.
Lance Armstrong on Friday faced being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after abandoning his fight against the drug charges that have tainted his legacy.
The 40-year-old former champion announced late on Thursday that he was dropping his legal challenge against the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), which claim he used performance-enhancing drugs to win cycling’s most prestigious race from 1999 to 2005.
Armstrong, who battled to the top of his sport after beating life-threatening cancer, maintained his innocence but said he was growing weary of the fight and the strain it had put on his personal and professional life.
“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 on his website, adding: “Finished with this nonsense.”
In response, USADA chief Travis Tygart told AFP that Armstrong would be stripped of all his results dating back to August 1, 1998, adding in a separate statement that the situation was a “sad day” for sport.
The agency maintains that Armstrong used banned substances, including the blood-booster EPO and steroids, as well as blood transfusions dating back to 1996, and said 10 of his former team-mates were ready to testify against him.
Armstrong argued that USADA was usurping the jurisdiction that should belong to world cycling’s governing body, the International Cycling Union (UCI).
The UCI on Friday gave a guarded response, saying in a statement that it was aware of Armstrong’s decision not to pursue his case.
But it said it had no comment to make other than it expected to receive a “reasoned decision” from the USADA explaining the situation.
Do you have a News tip, Story, Gossip, Article Submission, or Advertisement? Please send to: firstname.lastname@example.org