The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has granted Lance Armstrong a 30-day extension to decide whether he will accept the lifetime ban proposed for alleged doping and conspiracy charges or fight the case in an arbitration hearing, USADA has confirmed. The move allows time for a Texas judge to consider a federal lawsuit against USADA filed by Armstrong's attorneys.
"USADA has agreed to extend its Saturday, July 14th deadline for 30 days. A temporary restraining order is not now necessary. This extension will allow the court sufficient time to evaluate Mr. Armstrong’s amended complaint," stated Armstrong spokesman Mark Fabiani.
Armstrong's team has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the validity of the USADA case, part of which was a request for a restraining order aimed at delaying the deadline to decide upon arbitration or not. The maximum amount of time a court could have granted to Armstrong's team would have been 14 days with one 14-day extension, so the 30-day extension rendered the request moot.
Armstrong has been accused by USADA of not only using performance enhancing drugs throughout his career but also engaging in a conspiracy together with his US Postal and Discovery Channel team manager Johan Bruyneel and doctors Pedro Celaya, Luis Garcia del Moral, Michele Ferrari and trainer Jose "Pepe" Martí.
The latter three have already accepted bans for life from engaging in any sport which is a signatory to the WADA code.
USADA CEO Travis Tygart confirmed to Cyclingnews that the extension was granted after Armstrong's attorneys filed the amended federal suit, which calls into question the validity of USADA's jurisdiction and other issues which are fundamental to the worldwide anti-doping effort.
"USADA has granted Mr. Armstrong a brief extension of up to 30 days to contest the doping charges until the court dismisses the lawsuit or rules on any preliminary injunction," Tygart stated. "USADA believes this lawsuit, like previous lawsuits aimed at concealing the truth, is without merit and is confident the court will continue to uphold the established rules which are compliant with federal law and were approved by athletes, the U.S. Olympic Committee, and all Olympic sports organisations."