2012 Tour de France continues across the pond, seven time winner Lance Armstrong has filed suit today agains the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in a bid to halt the organization's case against him. The lawsuit was entered into federal court his morning in Austin, Texas amidst allegations of civil rights violations and a personal vendetta against Armstrong on the part of the USADA's Chief Executive Travis Tygart.
You may recall that last month the USADA brought charges against the legendary cyclist, claiming that the organization had proof that he used performance enhancing substances during his career. Armstrong responded in typical fashion, pointing out his spotless record in all of his years of competitive cycling and noting that he was one of the most tested athletes of all time. He pointed out that over the course of his 25 year athletic career he never had a spike in performance and never failed a drug test in over 500 samples.
Today's lawsuit says that the USADA's approach to handling his case has left Armstrong with few alternatives in how to respond and that that case ignored a number of his rights. He claims that he wasn't given due process in the investigation and that he was a "big fish" target that Tygart had on his hit list as a means for the organization to justify it's very existence. Armstrong's lawyers also point out that the USADA is designed to hold arbitration hearings for an athlete who has already tested positive for a banned substance and not charge someone without a pre-existing positive test. The filing also says that jurisdiction of any positive test would fall under the domain of the International Cycling Union and not the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
This news comes after a report over the weekend that several of Armstrong's former teammates and acquaintances are set to testify against the legendary cyclists in exchange for immunity. Some of the riders that were named include Levi Leipheimer, George Hincapie, Christian Vande Velde and David Zabriskie. Tygart says that he has more than ten cyclists lined up to testify about first hand knowledge of Armstrong's alleged doping while he was competing professionally.
If Lance is found guilty of the allegations he could be face a lifetime ban from competition and could also be stripped of his seven Tour wins. He has already been forced to withdraw from the Ironman Triathlon championship in October, a sport that he has started to excel at over the past year.
Stay tuned for more. This one is going to get really messy.