U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks has thrown out Lance Armstrong’s case against USADA leaving the seven time Tour de France winner three days to make a decision whether to head to arbitration or accept sanctions which could include stripping him of his seven Tour titles and also put in jeopardy his involvement in triathlon.
Whilst Judge Sparks threw the charges out he also commented that USADA’s pursuit of Armstrong beyond it’s eight-year statute of limitations did indicate some politcial motivation. This means that USADA has somewhat of a victory in this case but their motivation in the pursuit of Armstrong is still viewed as questionable by many.
USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart commented today after the ruling. “We are pleased that the federal court in Austin, Texas has dismissed Lance Armstrong’s lawsuit and upheld the established rules which provide Congressionally-mandated due process for all athletes. The rules in place have protected the rights of athletes for over a decade in every case USADA has adjudicated and we look forward to a timely, public arbitration hearing in this case, should Mr. Armstrong choose, where the evidence can be presented, witness testimony will be given under oath and subject to cross examination, and an independent panel of arbitrators will determine the outcome of the case.”
Tim Herman’s Response to Judge Sparks’ Opinion
Judge Sparks’ opinion confirms what we have said all along. Among other things, the Court confirmed that “USADA’s conduct raises serious questions about whether its real interest in charging Armstrong is to combat doping, or if it is acting according to less noble motives.” The Court also expressed serious concerns about USADA’s charges, including the vagueness of its charging letters, its attempt to charge Mr. Armstrong for alleged infractions dating back to before 1996, and USADA’s apparent promises of lesser sanctions to other cyclists in exchange for testimony against Mr. Armstrong. The Court is concerned that USADA may be motivated by “politics and a desire for media attention” in bringing these charges, but ultimately concluded that it lacked jurisdiction over the case, observing that it “should be resolved internally, by the parties most affected,” including UCI. UCI has asserted that it has exclusive authority to decide whether charges should be brought in this case, and has directed USADA not to proceed further. We are reviewing the Court’s lengthy opinion and considering Mr. Armstrong’s options at this point.