Not long after the story broke yesterday afternoon, Lance posted the following statement to his website:
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. These are the very same charges and the same witnesses that the Justice Department chose not to pursue after a two-year investigation. These charges are baseless, motivated by spite and advanced through testimony bought and paid for by promises of anonymity and immunity. Although USADA alleges a wide-ranging conspiracy extended over more than 16 years, I am the only athlete it has chosen to charge. USADA’s malice, its methods, its star-chamber practices, and its decision to punish first and adjudicate later all are at odds with our ideals of fairness and fair play.
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.
So there you have. Lance once again maintains his innocence and points to his MANY drug tests over the years as evidence. He is right in pointing out that he has never failed a test and he is quite possibly the most tested athlete in history.
I find it interesting that the USADA is dredging up blood samples from 2009 and 2010, which is when Armstrong came out of retirement to ride. The allegations against Lance were already out there at that point and it would seem foolhardy for him to try to ride again while doping. He had to know that he would be under even more scrutiny in his return than he had been before.
I'm also disappointed that this could mean that Lance won't get to compete in Kona in October. I was personally looking forward to seeing how he would do at the Ironman Championships and it now seems unlikely that this situation will be resolved before then.
This is probably going to get very messy before we're done.