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USADA Files Formal Doping Charges Against Lance Armstrong

It’s a story we’ve all heard before, but, this time around it appears to have some greater substance.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has filed formal doping charges against Austin native, and seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong.

The charges include an immediate suspension of Armstrong from competition in triathlons which he began to compete in after retiring from the competitive cycling circuit last year.

Although Armstrong has never tested positive for performance-enhancing substances over the course of multiple testing cycles, the USADA claims it has samples which are “fully consistent with blood ma­nipu­la­tion including EPO use and/or blood transfusions.”

The USADA has the authority, and ability to bring charges which could force Armstrong to give up his Tour de France awards, but does not have the legal authority to press formal criminal charges related to alleged performance-enhancing drug use.

Armstrong released the following statement through his publicist this afternoon:

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.

That USADA ignores this fundamental distinction and charges me instead of the admitted dopers says far more about USADA, its lack of fairness and this vendetta than it does about my guilt or innocence.

Any fair consideration of these allegations has and will continue to vindicate me.

via Washington Post

This situation is more intriguing than past claims against Armstrong given that the claims are being made by a governmental agency– be it quasi-governmental– and not by Armstrong’s peers who have claimed similar in the past but were unable to meet the burden of proof.

As always, Lance Armstrong is standing firm that his championships were won fairly and without enhancement, and, as always, the cycling community isn’t sure what to think.

It’s yet another chapter in a story that seems to have no end and to which a chance at conclusion always seems dimmer than the light at the end of a distant tunnel.

Kris Hughes is the College Football Network Manager for Rant Sports and a member of the Football Writers Association of America.

You can follow him on Twitter or check out his Facebook page.

Kris is also the host of Rant Sports Radio on the Blog Talk Radio Network Wednesday evenings at 8 Central Time.