Fans are shocked and saddened this morning, as the news just broke that Lance Armstrong will be stripped of his seven Tour de France titles -- and also faces being banned from cycling for good. That ban announcement is expected to come out some time today. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency issued the blow last night after Armstrong decided to stop fighting the doping charges against him.
Entering the arbitration process would've given Armstrong one last chance to clear his name, so why on earth would he choose to give up? According to Lance, he was simply sick and tired of fighting -- he just couldn't do it anymore.
Lance issued a statement saying:
There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, 'Enough is enough.' For me, that time is now. I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999. 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.
Ok, so what Armstrong is saying definitely makes sense, and it's understandable that he is 100 percent over constantly trying to prove his innocence. But considering just how much he's accomplished over his lifetime and the fact that he won the greatest battle of his life when he beat testicular cancer, it does seem a little bit surprising that he chose to give up at the last minute like this.
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The USADA is taking Armstrong's decision as an admission of being guilty, and sadly, there are probably a lot of other people who will assume he threw in the towel because he had something to hide.
But all along, Lance has maintained his innocence, saying:
There is zero physical evidence to support [the] outlandish and heinous claims. The only physical evidence here is the hundreds of [doping] controls I have passed with flying colors.
Whether you believe Lance's claims of innocence or not, this story has a heartbreaking ending and is a huge disappointment to fans of Armstrong and the sport of cycling in general. Nobody wants to see such a highly accomplished athlete's career end like this, and sadly, something tells me this isn't the way Lance saw his final chapter coming to a close.
Do you think Lance Armstrong's decision is an admission of guilt?
Image via Frank Eivind Rundholt/Flickr