Although Lance Armstrong has stated that he has had enough of USADA's pursuit of doping charges and will not fight any longer, is the case really over?
If USADA's CEO Travis Tygart has his way, Armstrong's decision will mean that he will be given the lifetime ban that USADA sought, and all of his results dating back to and including his seven Tour de France victories will be expunged from the record.
"It is a sad day for all of us who love sport and our athletic heroes," Tygart stated today following Armstrong's public pronouncement. "This is a heartbreaking example of how the win-at-all-costs culture of sport, if left unchecked, will overtake fair, safe and honest competition, but for clean athletes, it is a reassuring reminder that there is hope for future generations to compete on a level playing field without the use of performance-enhancing drugs."
Armstrong himself preferred to live with the memories that he and his teammates forged together, stating, "I know who won those seven Tours, my teammates know who won those seven Tours, and everyone I competed against knows who won those seven Tours. We all raced together. For three weeks over the same roads, the same mountains, and against all the weather and elements that we had to confront. There were no shortcuts, there was no special treatment. The same courses, the same rules. The toughest event in the world where the strongest man wins. Nobody can ever change that. Especially not Travis Tygart."
However, while Armstrong may have given up, it became clear in an accompanying letter from his attorneys that there could be more battles ahead.
"USADA has no authority to proceed in this matter for all of the reasons we have set out in our previous pleadings, correspondence and my presentation in Federal Court. After Mr. Armstrong filed his federal court action, UCI, the international federation for cycling, and USA Cycling, the national governing body for cycling in the United States, both confirmed that UCI, not USADA, has the exclusive authority and jurisdiction in this matter," attorneys Tim Herman and Robert Luskin wrote.
They stated that USADA cannot move forward with any punishment until the UCI's independent review panel sees the collected dossier of evidence against Armstrong and settles the dispute regarding its jurisdiction in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
"At an absolute minimum, UCI and USADA should go to CAS to resolve the jurisdiction issue before any proceedings begin, a solution offered by UCI but rejected by USADA."
They stated that Armstrong would "respect the decision of UCI with every confidence that his position should and will be vindicated through independent review by authorities with lawful jurisdiction over this matter."
In fact, the attorneys threatened to USADA if it "makes any public statement claiming, without jurisdiction, to sanction Mr. Armstrong, or to falsely characterize Mr. Armstrong's reasons for not requesting an arbitration as anything other than a recognition of UCI jurisdiction and authority, USADA and anyone involved in the making of the statement will be liable."
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