AUSTIN, Texas, July 9, 2012 (AFP) – Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong filed a lawsuit Monday in US District Court to stop US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) officials from pushing forward with doping charges against him.
The legal move, coming in the US cycling legend’s hometown, claims USADA rules are a violation of his US constitutional right to a fair trial and that USADA lacks jurisdiction in his specific case.
Armstrong, who has denied ever using performance-enhancing drugs, also claims that USADA chief executive Travis T. Tygart is pursuing a personal vendetta upon Armstrong, who won the Tour de France from 1999 through 2005.
Armstrong, who has retired from cycling, could be stripped of his Tour de France triumphs and banned from the sport for life if convicted.
“It is a testament to USADA’s brazenness and callous disregard for its own mission that it seeks to strip Mr. Armstrong of his life’s work,” Armstrong’s attorneys said in the lawsuit.
“The process (USADA) seek to force upon Lance Armstrong is not a fair process and truth is not its goal.”
Armstrong wants a federal judge to prohibit USADA pushing its case to an arbitration hearing panel, the next step in procedures that could lead to the case being settled by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
He asked that an injunction against USADA be filed by Saturday, the deadline for Armstrong to challenge USADA’s charges through arbitration or accept sanctions.
Armstrong’s lawyers called USADA’s hearing procedure a “kangaroo court” and said that Armstrong would not be able to launch a proper defense against the charges under USADA rules and would face irreversible harm if USADA proceeds.
The charges against him have foiled Armstrong’s plans to participate in World Ironman triathlon events in France and Hawaii because the sanctioning body of the sport abides by rules forbidding participation by athlete facing such accusations.
Tygart, in a statement, said Armstrong’s lawsuit is part of a bid to hide the truth about his misdeeds.
“USADA was built by athletes on the principles of fairness and integrity,” Tygart said.
“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.” – AFP
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