21st of August 2012 Author: Glo Wood
Lance Armstrong's attempt to block an investigation into whether he took performance-enhancing drugs has been dismissed in a United States federal court. The legendary seven-time Tour de France winner was charged by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in June with using performance-enhancing drugs going back 16 years.
Armstrong, now aged 40, took legal action against USADA, accusing it of offering "corrupt inducements" to other riders in order to persuade them to testify against him. The American rider has always denied doping. Armstrong has won the Tour de France, the world's most important cycling race, in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 and the road race World Championships in1993.
The ruling of the Texas court means Armstrong must now face the doping charges and could lose all his seven Tour de France titles if found guilty. However, despite ruling to dismiss Armstrong's case against USADA, United States District Judge Sam Sparks noted "troubling aspects" of the agency's case.
The judge remarked upon the contrast between USADA's determination to pursue with the hearing "in direct conflict" with the "equally evident desire" of the UCI, cycling's world governing body, not to proceed against Lance Armstrong. Lance Armstrong's alleged offences have taken place, according to USADA, from 1999 to 2005. If Armstrong will decide to answer the charges, the case may ultimately go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Armstrong has previously accused the USADA, which has already handed out lifetime bans to three of the five other men accused in the case, of pursuing a personal vendetta against him. On the other hand, the UCI said it had not been a party to the US proceedings. The UCI had also proposed that an independent body should decide whether Armstrong had a case to answer or not.
Lance Armstrong, who survived testicular cancer prior to his record-breaking winning streak at the Tour de France, retired after the 2005 race but made a comeback in 2009. He retired for a second time in February 2011.
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