Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 6/13/12

The USADA has brought new allegations against former cyclist and marketing icon Lance Armstrong. As it stands, Armstrong will no longer be able to compete in triathlons, the sport he took up after retiring from cycling in 2011. Armstrong has proven himself to be unscrupulous and immoral in his personal life; the jury is still out on his professional.

But the smoke is here. Soon we’ll see if there’s fire present or not. The latest doping allegations could strip Armstrong of his 7 Tour de France titles. Not that you actually care about cycling, but this is a huge story that transcends that niche sport.

In the 15-page charging letter obtained by The Wall Street Journal, USADA, the agency that oversees antidoping efforts in Olympic sports in the U.S., said “numerous riders, team personnel and others will testify based on personal knowledge” of Mr. Armstrong’s alleged doping. The knowledge was “acquired either through observing Mr. Armstrong dope” or through “admissions of doping to them,” it added.

The letter also mentions “data from blood collections obtained by” the International Cycling Union, or UCI, in 2009 and 2010. “This data is fully consistent with blood manipulation” including use of use erythropoietin, or EPO, a drug that controls red-blood-cell production, “and/or blood transfusions.”

Armstrong released a response statement on his website. It reads:

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.

PLAYERS: Lance Armstrong
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