--Updated at 7:45a Friday--
UCI asks USADA to explain case against Armstrong
AIGLE, Switzerland (AP) - The International Cycling Union says it will wait for the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to explain why Lance Armstrong should lose his seven Tour de France titles before commenting on the case.
The sport's governing body says it wants USADA to "submit to the parties concerned (Mr. Armstrong, WADA and UCI) a reasoned decision explaining the action taken."
The UCI says the World Anti-Doping Code requires USADA to do this in cases "where no hearing occurs."
Armstrong has chosen not to pursue an arbitration hearing where he could have fought charges brought by U.S. anti-doping officials that his teams doped when he won the Tour from 1999-2005.
The UCI and USADA have engaged in a turf war over who had jurisdiction for the case.
(USA TODAY) - Declaring "enough is enough," Lance Armstrong says he will not fight charges brought by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which said it will ban Armstrong from competition for life and strip him of the seven Tour de France titles that turned him into an American hero.
Armstrong said his decision did not mean he would accept USADA's sanctions. His lawyers threatened a lawsuit if USADA proceeded, arguing the agency must first resolve a dispute with the International Cycling Union over whether the case should be pursued.
"It is a sad day for all of us who love sport and our athletic heroes," USADA CEO Travis Tygart said. "This is a heartbreaking example of how the win-at-all-costs culture of sport, if left unchecked, will overtake fair, safe and honest competition."
In walking away, the 40-year-old Armstrong cited a familiar defense: he has never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. He said his decision is not an admission of guilt, but a choice to devote more time to his family and his Livestrong foundation for cancer survivors. Armstrong overcame advanced cancer just a few years before his string of Tour de France victories."I know who won those seven Tours," Armstrong said in a statement. "The toughest event in the world where the strongest man wins. Nobody can ever change that. Especially Travis Tygart."Armstrong said he will "commit myself to the work I began before ever winning a single Tour de France title: serving people and families affected by cancer, especially those in underserved communities."
Jeffery C. Garvey, board member of Livestrong, says the charity supports his decision and looks forward to his future work. "Lance's legacy in the cancer community is unparalleled," Garvey said in a statement.
The news caught many riders off guard. Armstrong's entire RadioShack- trek squad declined to comment when asked about the news. The team, who was returning to their hotel from dinner, hurried into an elevator.
Bissell Pro Cyling team member Ben Jacques-Maynes, who has raced as a pro in the United States since 2002, called it "huge" news.
"This is bigger than Floyd (Lanids), Tyler (Hamilton) and (Alberto) Contador put together," he said from the USA Pro Cycling race in Colorado. "I hope this will be the first step to realizing how poisoned this sport has been and how far we still need to come in order to move on."
On Monday, a federal judge dismissed Armstrong's case against USADA and said the agency can rightfully claim jurisdiction over the cyclist's case. Judge Sam Sparks also rejected Armstrong's claim that the arbitration process was biased, ruling that the cyclist must seek victory there before asking a court to intervene, as Armstrong agreed to do in applying for cycling licenses. Sparks did raise several issues of fairness in USADA's "vague" charging letter, but said those issues could be argued as part of the arbitration.
Armstrong declined, saying, "I refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair" and said USADA has "zero physical evidence" to support its "outlandish and heinous claims."
Instead, Armstrong attorney Tim Herman fired a letter off to USADA Thursday that suggested Armstrong would sue if USADA moves to sanction him. "You are on notice that if USADA makes any public statement claiming, without jurisdiction, to sanction Mr. Armstrong, or to falsely characterize Mr. Armstrong's reasons for not requesting an arbitration as anything other than a recognition of UCI jurisdiction and authority, USADA and anyone involved in the making of the statement will be liable," Herman wrote.
Herman told USADA it could submit its case against Armstrong to UCI or the international Court of Arbitration for Sport, based in Switzerland.
By declining to go to arbitration, Armstrong and his legal team sent the message that he no longer wants to participate in a fight he doesn't consider fair. After years of rumors and accusations of cheating, many people already had made up their mind about him - a point that wasn't lost on Armstrong.
His charity has enjoyed strong support despite the doping allegations, though Armstrong's popularity has slipped, according to Q Scores, which measures the likeability of celebrities.
Sanctions against Armstrong could mark the end of a long sporting saga that once captivated the world. A native of Austin, Texas, Armstrong successful fight against cancer and remarkable career inspired millions of other survivors and gave rise to Livestrong and its iconic yellow bracelets.
Armstrong previously was subject of a federal investigation into whether he committed fraud while on the USPS team, not whether he doped. That investigation was stopped earlier this year with no charges filed. USADA then brought its own non-criminal case against Armstrong, citing its authority to protect the integrity of sports as authorized by Congress.
Armstrong described it as "Tygart's unconstitutional witch hunt."
USADA has consistently said its mission is to keep sports clean and that Armstrong was being handled like any other accused athlete. The agency said Armstrong should be held to the same rules as everybody else and should not have "a new set of rules that apply only to him."
In its letter of charges dated June 12, USADA accused Armstrong of being part of a sophisticated doping conspiracy involving five other members from his U.S. Postal Service cycling team, including doctors, a trainer and coach.
Two declined to fight, leading to swift lifetime bans from USADA. The other three decided to fight the charges in arbitration.