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USADA says it will strip cyclist of his 7 Tour de France titles

  • FILE - In this July 6, 2010, file photo, Lance Armstrong grimaces prior to the start of the third stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Wanze, Belgium. Armstrong said on Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, that he is finished fighting charges from the United States Anti-Doping Agency that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his unprecedented cycling career, a decision that could put his string of seven Tour de France titles in jeopardy. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)

AUSTIN, Texas — Never one to back away from a fight, Lance Armstrong is finally giving in and the cost of quitting is steep: His seven Tour de France titles could be gone as soon as Friday.

The superstar cyclist, whose stirring victories after his comeback from cancer helped him transcend sports, chose not to pursue arbitration in the drug case brought against him by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. That was his last option in his bitter fight with USADA and his decision set the stage for the titles to be stripped and his name to be all but wiped from the record books of the sport he once ruled.

Travis Tygart, USADA's chief executive, left no doubt that was the next step. He said Armstrong would lose the titles as soon as Friday and be hit with a lifetime ban, even though he is retired and turning 41 next month.

Tygart said the UCI, the sport's governing body, was "bound to recognize our decision and impose it" as a signer of the World Anti-Doping Code.

"They have no choice but to strip the titles under the code," he said.


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