Lance Armstrong Reportedly Being Banned, Stripped of Tour de France Titles

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistAugust 23, 2012

REVEL, FRANCE - JULY 17: Lance Armstrong of team RadioShack crosses the finish line of the 196km Stage 13 of the Tour de France on July 17, 2010 in Revel, France. Armstrong is currently in 36th place, over 25 minutes back.The hilly stage from Rodez featured a final climb, the category three 1.9-kilometres Saint-Ferreol. While Luxembourg's Andy Schleck of team Saxo Bank continues to wear the yellow jersey, Astana rider Alexandre Vinokourov won the stage.The iconic bicycle race will include a total of 20 stages and will cover 3,642km before concluding in Paris on July 25.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Lance Armstrong won seven straight Tour de France titles between 1999-2005, but his epic career has been shrouded in controversy.

According to the New York Daily News, his iconic cycling run has reportedly come to a crashing halt:

Lance Armstrong abandons fight against doping charges. Will be stripped of Tour de France titles and banned for life. Story to follow.

— NYDN Sports I-Team (@NYDNSportsITeam) August 24, 2012

UPDATE: Thursday, August 23 at 11:08 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford

The Associated Press confirmed initial reports about the possible repercussions facing Armstrong:

U.S. Anti-Doping Agency chief executive Travis Tygart says the agency will ban Lance Armstrong from cycling for life and strip him of his seven Tour de France titles for doping.

That pretty much puts an official stamp on Armstrong's controversial legacy. He's gone from the winningest athlete the sport has ever seen to a man with no trophies in the blink of an eye.

Stay tuned as more information continues to come out.

----------------End of Update-----------------

Armstrong backed up these sentiments with a statement on his website. Here's a small piece of what he had to say:

There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, "Enough is enough."  Over the past three years, I have been subjected to a two-year federal criminal investigation followed by Travis Tygart's unconstitutional witch hunt. The toll this has taken on my family, and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today—finished with this nonsense.

Armstrong's career has been one of the best, and most inspirational, in sports history. His individual achievements were unrivaled. He's enjoyed more success in his sport than any competitor probably will again.

He's used his success, and courageous story, to make himself into a brand outside of the cycling universe.

ABC News' report outlines Armstrong's predicament in greater detail. They state that the "USADA will almost certainly treat Armstrong's decision as an admission of guilt."

It also mentions that the lifetime ban and stripping of titles would be within the organization's jurisdiction.

This is going to have a seismic impact on Armstrong's legacy, whether it's good or bad.

Some people already consider him guilty, and this will only confirm what they believe to already be true. Others will always stand by cycling's greatest athlete and lend him a martyr-like quality.

Stripping Armstrong of his Tour titles takes away the tangible evidence that he won the race, but anyone who watched him dominate those hills knows what they saw. His story only adds to the dominance he showed on the course.

No matter which side you fall on, there is always going to be that slight twinge of doubt in either direction. Based on Armstrong's statement, this is about finding peace for himself and his family.

He knows what he accomplished, and he doesn't need to validate that to anyone. He sent that message loud and clear Thursday evening.

Armstrong claims in his statement that this isn't an admission of guilt. It's been a long, tiring process, and his family has been through a lot because of it. Whether guilty or not, he would be succumbing to the rigorous process.

Armstrong's run reached heights that the cycling world may never see again. Watching it all potentially end like this is unthinkable.

Stay tuned for more details surrounding this sad situation.