Lance Armstrong will be banned from cycling and stripped of his seven Tour de France titles by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the organization said in a stunning announcement last night.
The punishment stems from drug charges brought against the world famous cyclist that he is declining to fight.
"There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, 'Enough is enough.' For me, that time is now," Armstrong said in a statement sent to The Associated Press, referring to the USADA's investigation an "unconstitutional witch hunt."
After refusing to follow though with an arbitration process that could officially clear his name, Armstrong added:
"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."USADA believes that Armstrong starting taking banned substances in 1996, including the blood-booster EPO and steroids, as well as blood transfusions.
It maintains that blood samples taken from the athlete in 2009 and 2010 tested positive for "blood manipulation."
Says Travis Tygart, USADA's chief executive: "It is a sad day for all of us who love sport and athletes. It's a heartbreaking example of win at all costs overtaking the fair and safe option. There's no success in cheating to win."
A two-year federal criminal investigation into similar charges against Armstrong concluded in 2011 without any evidence to support the initial claims. Many, however, will believe that Armstrong's decision NOT to fight the latest allegations is an admission of guilt.
"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," said the cancer survivor.
Do YOU think he took performance enhancing drugs?