Armstrong moves on allegations

LONDON: Cycling great Lance Armstrong formally responded to U.S. Anti-Doping Agency allegations by accusing the agency of rehashing discredited claims in a secretive and spiteful campaign that could strip him of his seven Tour de France titles.

“Just two months shy of the Olympic Games, the agency charged with monitoring Olympic athletes has chosen to devote its energies instead to 14-year-old charges against an athlete who is not involved in the coming games and who has never tested positive for the use of performance-enhancing drugs,” his attorney wrote.

The USADA sent Armstrong a letter advising of its intent to send formal charges to a review board. Armstrong and his lawyers had until Friday to submit his formal response.

The USADA letter was not publicly released but reported by a newspaper. Armstrong made his formal response public on Friday by tweeting a link to the filing.

Lawyers for Armstrong asked the agency’s review board to recommend to the USADA to end its pursuit of the allegations, which had the immediate effect of banning him competing in triathlons and, if upheld, could strip him of his Tour de France titles.

Accusations of doping have dogged Armstrong since he ascended to the top of the cycling world, but he has steadfastly denied taking banned drugs.

In February, the Justice Department stopped an inquiry into whether Armstrong and his team mates had cheated their sponsor by engaging in a doping program. (Reuters)