In these modern times, whenever an athlete is incredibly successful it is automatically assumed that they used performance-enhancing drugs. In the case of legendary American cyclist Lance Armstrong, the doubts were inevitable. In the latest chapter of Armstrong's battle against accusation, the seven-time Tour de France Winner is being dragged down by formal charges by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.
The USADA released a 15-page letter claiming that it spoke with numerous sources that were aware of Armstrong and his team's experience with PEDs. The letter accused others, including team manager Johan Bruyneel, team doctors Luis Garcia del Moral and Pedro Celaya, and consulting doctor Jose Marti. Specific doping methods include blood transfusions and the administration of Human Growth Hormone.
The letter has accused Armstrong and his team of conspiring to fool anti-doping officials into believing nothing was wrong. Cover-ups, lies and intimidation are also mentioned in the letter. Because of these charges, the 7-time Tour de France winner has been suspended from participating in triathlons, which he has been competing in since he retired in 2011, and also faces the threat of having all seven of his Tour de France wins stripped from him.
Armstrong has released a statement about these charges and he goes so far as to say there is a vendetta against him. "I have been notified that USADA, an organization largely funded by taxpayer dollars but governed only by self-written rules, intends to again dredge up discredited allegations dating back more than 16 years to prevent me from competing as a triathlete and try and strip me of the seven Tour de France victories I earned."
One could argue that something is definitely fishy here. Armstrong has already survived accusations by other riders as well as an investigation by the U.S. Attorney's office in Los Angeles earlier this year, which found him to be innocent.
In addition, some of the doping he is accused of allegedly happened so long ago that it will be almost impossible for those events to be proven to be true. If he never failed a drug test when he was winning Tour de France titles, how could it be proven he tested positive now, several years after the fact?
Perhaps Armstrong is right. Maybe someone somewhere deeply wants to catch him with blood on his hands out of resentment of his success. This is unfortunate for Armstrong, who can't seem to escape accusations of doping no matter how far into the future it is. If there is solid evidence that points to him and it's proven that he really did use performance enhancing drugs, then those revelations will be a major disappointment to Americans, who viewed Armstrong as a hero after he defeated testicular cancer.