Bloomberg News

Lance Armstrong Sues Anti-Doping Agency to Stop Sanctions

July 09, 2012

Lance Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France champion, sued the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to block its effort to strip him of his cycling titles and impose a lifetime ban from the sport.

The organization is requiring Armstrong to decide by July 14 whether to accept sanctions or participate in an arbitration proceeding that he called “rigged” in papers filed today in federal court in Austin, Texas.

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks, ruling that Armstrong’s complaint failed to comply with federal rules, dismissed the lawsuit on procedural grounds while allowing him to refile it within 20 days.

Mark Levinstein, an attorney for Armstrong, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail or phone call seeking comment about how Armstrong will proceed.

Armstrong had asked for a court order to stop the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency from imposing any sanctions and to stay the requirement that he decide about the arbitration by July 14, according to court papers. Armstrong’s attorneys said he is facing “permanent loss of his livelihood” due to the organization’s actions without a single positive drug test.

‘Unlawful Choice’

“Defendants have presented Mr. Armstrong with an impossible and unlawful choice: either accept a lifetime ban and the loss of his competitive achievements or endure a rigged process where he would be certain to lose,” they said in court papers.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency is the national anti-doping organization for Olympic, Pan American and Paralympic sport in the U.S. In June, it accused Armstrong and five others of engaging in a conspiracy to use and traffic prohibited substances, according to Armstrong’s court filing.

The organization said in a statement that Armstrong’s complaint is without merit.

“We are confident the courts will continue to uphold the established rules which provide full constitutional due process and are designed to protect the rights of clean athletes and the integrity of sport,” it said.

In his ruling, Sparks said Armstrong’s filing includes allegations that are irrelevant to his claims and were probably included to increase media coverage and “incite public opinion against” the anti-doping agency and Travis Tygart, its chief executive officer.

“This court is not inclined to indulge Armstrong’s desire for publicity, self-aggrandizement, or vilification of defendants, by sifting through eighty mostly unnecessary pages in search of the few kernels of factual material relevant to his claims,” the judge wrote.

The case is Armstrong v. U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, 12-00606, U.S. District Court, Western District of Texas (Austin).

To contact the reporter on this story: David McLaughlin in New York at dmclaughlin9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Pickering at jpickering@bloomberg.net


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