For a man that has never tested positive for performance enhancers, Armstrong has faced a ridiculous number of allegations of doping, and here he is in the spotlight again.
UPDATE: Wednesday, June 13 at 5:10 p.m. ET by Richard Langford
Armstrong has released a statement on his website concerning the new charges. Needless to say, Armstrong does not feel he should be again facing charges.
He points out that the USADA is funded by tax dollars and asserts they are using the same charges and witness that the Justice Department "chose not to pursue" after their investigation.
He ends it with this:
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.
Armstrong doesn't have to dig very deep to support his claims of a vendetta. The intensity with which agencies have tried to pin him to doping was already bordering on absurd. These most recent charges push that right over that border.
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The New York Daily News tweeted the news:
Earlier this year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles concluded a nearly two-year investigation of Armstrong and doping, and it did so without bringing any criminal charges against the icon.
These charges are brought on by an agency operating under different rules. The USADA does not issue criminal charges. It oversees anti-doping efforts in Olympic sports in the United States.
The USADA has the power to suspend athletes from competition and/or strip them of awards. It clearly feels it has enough evidence on Armstrong to issue these charges.
Amy Shipley of The Washington Post reported that her publication obtained a 15-page letter sent to Armstrong and others from the USADA:
[The] USADA made previously unpublicized allegations against Armstrong, alleging it collected blood samples from Armstrong in 2009 and 2010 that were "fully consistent with blood manipulation including EPO use and/or blood transfusions."
She goes on to say the USADA alleges Armstrong and several others were in involved in a "massive doping conspiracy" from 1998 to 2011.
Armstrong, who is retired from cycling, has now been suspended from competing in triathlons.
Doping has already rocked cycling, but this could be unprecedented. If the charges are upheld, it will erase an entire era.
Up to this point, Armstrong has amazingly been unharmed by all allegations, but these charges have a different feel. The USADA seems to have the key piece of evidence it needs. This ruling could easily go against Armstrong.