Lance Armstrong was at the top of the cycling mountain, but now seems to be falling fast down the mountainside.
Constantly surrounded by dark clouds of allegation, the seven-time Tour de France champion has decided to no longer fight the PED accusations that have followed him since the 1990s.
Recent allegations by the United States Anti-Doping Agency stated that Armstrong was "using, possessing, trafficking and giving to others performance-enhancing drugs, as well as covering up doping violations," according to Chelsea J. Carter of CNN.com.
The former champion decided not to challenge this claim, calling the process a "witch hunt" (via CNN.com):
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. I refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair.
As a result, the USADA said it will give Armstrong a lifetime ban and erase all of his wins since 1998.
The question now is, "were they right to strip him of his seven Tour titles?"
The agency said they have Armstrong's blood tests from 2009-10, which are "fully consistent" with blood doping.
With all of these accusations, and Armstrong's refusal to fight them, it is obvious he is giving in. Sports fans knew the truth would come to light one day, much like they want to see it happen with baseball's greats of the 1990s and early 2000s.
While Armstrong's actions are not a direct admission of guilt, the truth bleeds through his words just as they did when Mark McGwire told Congress, "I'm not here to talk about the past."
Armstrong and his supporters—the few that remain—will question the USADA's jurisdiction in this matter. The International Cycling Union has already done so, saying it will not comment until the USADA issues "a reasoned decision," according to CNN.com.
Nevertheless, the credibility of an anti-doping agency that heads the Olympic, Pan American and Paralympic Games should not be too much in question.
Stripping the cyclist of his titles may seem harsh. After all, Barry Bonds still has every home run to his name.
Nevertheless, the truth comes before everything else. If these accusations are accurate and valid, Armstrong deserves to lose his trophies.