In his statement Armstrong said he believed he had little chance of defending himself in a “one-sided and unfair” process, and has described the proceedings as a “witch-hunt”. He also cited the toll on his family and work for his Livestrong foundation as reason to decide “enough is enough”.
How can he be punished if he has not been found guilty of these charges?
Although Armstrong has not been found guilty of the charges against him by an arbitration hearing, his decision not to contest them is effectively seen by the USADA as an admission of guilt.
How were charges brought when Armstrong has never failed a drugs test?
This is one of the more difficult elements to explain as the evidence gathered against Armstrong by USADA, believed to include testimonies from up to ten former team-mates, is not in the public domain. Armstrong has never failed a drug test but the USADA clearly felt the testimonies alleging doping offences were strong enough on their own.
Can USADA enforce the sanction of removing his tour titles and banning him for life?
The USADA and their chief executive Travis Tygart are adamant they can enforce these sanctions. However, the International Cycling Union (UCI) argue they should have jurisdiction over Armstrong as they were responsible for doping checks when he competed. They could yet decide to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Who stands to gain from Armstrong’s punishment?
Should Armstrong’s seven wins be removed from the record books it will open up a minefield. Among those to finish second to him between 1999 and 2005 were Germany’s Jan Ullrich and Spain’s Ivan Basso, both of whom have served bans for doping. Potentially some Tours could end up with winners who have been found guilty of doping. Britain’s Bradley Wiggins, the 2012 Tour champion, could also benefit as he would assume Armstrong’s third place from the 2009 Tour.
What happens next?
Five of Armstrong’s associates, including Johan Bruyneel, his sporting director at the US Postal and Discovery Channel teams, have also been charged by USADA and those cases are set to go to arbitration hearings. After those are completed USADA plan to make the evidence against Armstrong public. The UCI are to wait to receive a communication from the USADA over their reasons for punishing Armstrong before making a decision over whether to go to CAS and challenge the ruling or the right to jurisdiction.