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Lance Armstrong levelled by doping charges

Seven-time Tour de France winner banned from all competition.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has handed seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong a doping charge and he is now banned from all competition, according to The Washington Post.

Armstrong has never tested positive for a banned performance enhancing substance during his career as a professional cyclist or triathlete.

The Washington Post reported that it obtained a 15-page letter charging that outlined allegations against Armstrong. USADA alleged that in 2009 and 2010 it collected blood samples from the former cyclist that are, “fully consistent with blood ma­nipu­la­tion including EPO use and/or blood transfusions.”

The Washington Post also reported that the letter alleges Armstrong used EPO, took blood transfusions, and various other performance enhancing drugs and masking agents.

These new charges come after a lengthy federal investigation against Armstrong (and others) spearheaded by the Food and Drug Administration’s Jeff Novitzsky. No criminal charges were laid during that investigation.

Armstrong released a public statement in response to the charges that read, “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.”

Armstrong could also lose his seven Tour de France titles.

UPDATE: Armstrong is not banned from all triathlon competitions. However, the WTC has agreed to maintain its rule of not allowing athletes to compete if they are under investigation of doping and will only allow them to compete when that investigation is concluded. However, this does not prevent Armstrong from competing in events like the Challenge Family Series of events (a great deal of speculation is growing for an appearance at Challenge Roth), or other non-WTC races that choose to let Armstrong compete.