By Michelle Mathis / Staff Writer
Seven-time Tour De France winner Lance Armstrong, who single handedly put cycling on the map, has been stripped of his titles based off of the many assertions that he used illegal performance enhancement drugs during each tour.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency stripped Armstrong of all competitive results from August 1, 1998 to the present as well as a lifetime ban from any activity or competition for which it has jurisdiction.
Armstrong, while publicly maintaining his innocence, decided to not officially challenge the agency’s sanctions.
In a statement Armstrong said that the anti-doping agency had engaged in “an unconstitutional witch hunt” based on “outlandish and heinous claims.”
He added that he would have been more than willing to fight what he described as the agency’s “one-sided and unfair” arbitration process was not worth it.
“There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, ‘Enough is enough,’” Armstrong said. “For me, that time is now.”
If the United States Anti-Doping Agency is going to take away Armstrong’s titles then they need to do the same for every other cyclist since the establishment of the tour in 1903 because it is widely known that majority of the participants have in fact doped.
For 60 years this was allowed. For the past 30 years it has been officially prohibited.
Yet the fact remains great cyclists have participated in doping, then and now.
Basically, the message Armstrong and the other cyclists are sending to the people is that the tour is only possible because there is performance enhancement drugs.
No dope, no hope right? But it’s false hope for those who look up to these professional cyclists and want to be in their places one day.
It’s obvious that the continued integrity of the sport will be forever affected by Armstrong but do his titles deserve to be taken away?
No, because regardless if the United States Anti-Doping Agency has evidence that he has used such drugs, there is no evidence that he used them during the tours.
What if he doped during just one tour and was clean the rest? What justifies the stripping of titles from 14 years ago or any other past year when he tested negative?
There is none.
The agency scrambled together a thousand page document and gathered witnesses, only after Armstrong called their bluff on taking away his titles.
It was a one-sided accusatory body that gave only its side and would have never allowed Armstrong the fair opportunity to defend himself even if he had taken it to court.
The only “evidence” the United States Anti-Doping Agency has against Armstrong are the testimonies from coerced witnesses under trial from their own persecutions, along with sworn affidavits from witnesses who have already committed perjury.
Because we all know jealous teammates would never lie or be bitter about someone they lost to, right?
Should we really put our money on their credibility?
I think not.
The message I got was go ahead and dope so long as you don’t win a lot.
If you get caught just point your finger at some retired rider and you get a slap on the wrist and are back in time for the next tour.
The fact of the matter is Armstrong is retired and so the real question at hand is, is it all worth it?
I suppose investigation might clean the sport up by simply killing cycling all together.
But other than that I’m not sure how banning a retired rider ,who is an icon to many, helps anyone.
The races that Armstrong won can’t be remedied in a significant way.
The wins won’t even be retroactively assigned to the runner ups for they too, were allegedly using drugs.
Besides the only real effect is that next year, some other doper will win with a fewer sponsors than last year.
Armstrong should just be left alone being that he was just another number in the great amount of cyclists that were utilizing performance enhancement drugs, he just happened to get caught.
The concern should be present in the fact that Armstrong’s legacy one which has impacted millions of people has left those with questions over both a role model and an inspiration.
With that in mind, what should be said about the number of cyclists that have yet to be exposed?