Lance Armstrong escaped prosecution on the doping charges that have dogged him for years, but he may still lose his seven Tour de France titles thanks to a new investigation by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Stripping Armstrong of his titles and preventing him from competing in the triathlons with which he's replaced professional cycling is about the most the "quasi-government agency" can do, but it would still be a blow after Armstrong tested negative and denied doping for all these years. The Washington Post's Amy Shipley, who broke the story, reports:
In the 15-page charging letter obtained by The Post, USADA made previously unpublicized allegations against Armstrong, alleging it collected blood samples from Armstrong in 2009 and 2010 that were 'fully consistent with blood manipulation including EPO use and/or blood transfusions.' Armstrong has never tested positive.
The feds closed their two-year investigation in February without ever charging Armstrong, but his former teammates, including Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis, have accused him, publicly and emphatically, of doping.
Update (5:15 p.m. EDT): Armstrong has issued a statement responding to the new charges, which you can read in full on his website. The salient passage:
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.
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