Lance Armstrong banned for life, career vacated

continued from page 2

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

View results

Foundation officials said they remained “proud” of Armstrong and had received hundreds of messages of support from donors, partners and supporters since his announcement. Among them was Nike Inc., which said it planned to continue supporting Armstrong and the foundation.

Lance has stated his innocence and has been unwavering on this position,” the company said.

American Century Investments, another partner, said: “While the actions taken against Lance are unfortunate, we understand his decision to drop his challenge to the USADA charges. The USADA may sanction Lance and attempt to strip his titles, but no one can take away what he’s done for the 28 million people around the world living with cancer.”

Questions surfaced even as Armstrong was on his way to his first Tour victory. He was leading the 1999 race when a trace amount of a banned anti-inflammatory corticosteroid was found in his urine; cycling officials said he was authorized to use a small amount of a cream to treat saddle sores.

After Armstrong’s second victory in 2000, French judicial officials investigated his Postal Service team for drug use. That investigation ended with no charges, but the allegations kept coming.

Others close to Armstrong were caught up in the investigations, too: Bruyneel, the coach of Armstrong’s teams, and three members of the medical staff and a consultant were also charged. Bruyneel is taking his case to arbitration, while two medical team staffers and consulting doctor Michele Ferrari didn’t formally contest the charges and were issued lifetime bans by USADA. Ferrari later said he was innocent.

Armstrong was criticized for his relationship with Ferrari, who was banned by Italian authorities over doping charges in 2002. Former personal and team assistants accused Armstrong of having steroids in an apartment in Spain and disposing of syringes that were used for injections.

In 2004, a Dallas-based promotions company initially refused to pay him a $5 million bonus for winning his sixth Tour de France because it wanted to investigate allegations raised by media in Europe. Testimony in that case included former teammate Frankie Andreu and his wife, Betsy, saying Armstrong told doctors during his 1996 cancer treatments that he had taken a cornucopia of steroids and performance-enhancing drugs.

Armstrong retired in 2005 and almost immediately considered a comeback before deciding to stay on the sidelines — in part because he didn’t want to keep answering doping questions. Three years later, Armstrong was 36 and itching to ride again. He came back to finish third in the 2009 Tour de France.

Armstrong raced again in 2010 under the cloud of the federal investigation. Early last year, he quit for good, making a brief return as a triathlete until the USADA investigation shut him down.

“He had a right to contest the charges,” WADA President John Fahey said. “He chose not to. The simple fact is that his refusal to examine the evidence means the charges had substance in them.”

___

AP National Writer Eddie Pells, AP Sports Writers Graham Dunbar and Paul Logothetis and AP freelance writer James Raia contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus