Lance Armstrong has quit the race.
The seven-time Tour de France victor announced Thursday he will no longer fight his investigation by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency – meaning he will be banned for life from ever competing again, reports CNN.
Late Thursday, the USADA confirmed it will also strip Armstrong of all results since Aug. 1, 1998, reports USA Today.
“There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ For me, that time is now,” Armstrong, 40, said in a statement.
This latest turn of events began to unfold in June, when the quasi-government agency (recognized as the official anti-doping agency for Olympic, Pan American and Paralympic sports in the U.S.) accused Armstrong of using, possessing, trafficking and giving to others performance-enhancing drugs, as well as covering up doping violations.
Armstrong, as he had in the past, vigorously denied the charges.
“I have never doped, and, unlike many of my accusers, I have competed as an endurance athlete for 25 years with no spike in performance, passed more than 500 drug tests and never failed one,” he said on his website, where he also accused the USADA of wanting to “dredge up discredited allegations,” which he called “baseless” and “motivated by spite.”
Armstrong, who has never been convicted of any doping charges, had been accused of doping before by other disgraced U.S. riders, including Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton. In February, the U.S. Justice Department closed a criminal investigation after reviewing allegations against Armstrong, apparently for lack of evidence that he used performance-enhancing drugs.
Following news reports of Armstrong’s decision Thursday, USADA chief executive officer Travis T. Tygart issued the following statement: “It is a sad day for all of us who love sport and our athletic heroes. 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.”
Of losing his titles, Armstrong said: “I know who won those seven Tours. The toughest event in the world where the strongest man wins. Nobody can ever change that. Especially Travis Tygart.”