US doping agency erases Lance Armstrong's titles
FILE - In this July 24, 2005, file photo, overall leader Lance Armstrong signals seven for his seventh straight win in the Tour de France cycling race as he pedals during the 21st and final stage of the race between Corbeil-Essonnes, south of Paris, and the French capital. The superstar cyclist, whose stirring victories after his comeback from cancer helped him transcend sports, chose not to pursue arbitration in the drug case brought against him by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. That was his last option in his bitter fight with USADA and his decision set the stage for the titles to be stripped and his name to be all but wiped from the record books of the sport he once ruled. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)
His seven Tour de France titles stripped away and his legacy in tatters, Lance Armstrong is heading back outdoors and into the public eye.
A day after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency punished Armstrong with a lifetime ban from professional cycling and erased 14 years of his career after concluding he used performance-enhancing druugs, Armstrong is scheduled to ride in a mountain bike race in Aspen, Colo., on Saturday and follow it up by running a marathon there Sunday.
And he has no plans to slow down any time soon, despite the whirlwind of controversy swirling around him.
Armstrong spokesman Mark Higgins said Armstrong also still plans to attend the World Cancer Congress in Montreal where's he scheduled to deliver a keynote address to thousands in attendance.
"He's getting out there," Higgins said.
Anti-doping and cycling officials will continue to address his career.
USADA said Friday it expects cycling's governing body to take similar action, but the International Cycling Union was measured in its response, saying it first wanted a full explanation of why Armstrong should relinquish Tour titles he won from 1999 through 2005.
The Amaury Sport Organization, which runs the world's most prestigious cycling race, said it would not comment until hearing from the UCI and USADA. The U.S. agency contends the cycling body is bound by the World Anti-Doping Code to strip Armstrong of one of the most incredible achievements in sports.
Armstrong, who retired a year ago and turns 41 next month, said Thursday he would no longer challenge USADA and declined to exercise his last option by entering arbitration. He denied again that he ever took banned substances in his career, calling USADA's investigation a "witch hunt" without any physical evidence.
FILE - This July 25, 1999 file photo shows Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong being kissed by his wife Kristin, left, and his mother Linda after the 20th and final stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Paris. The superstar cyclist, whose stirring victories after his comeback from cancer helped him transcend sports, chose not to pursue arbitration in the drug case brought against him by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. That was his last option in his bitter fight with USADA and his decision set the stage for the titles to be stripped and his name to be all but wiped from the record books of the sport he once ruled. (AP Photo/Laurent Rebours, File)
USADA chief executive Travis Tygart described the investigation as a battle against a "win-at-all-cost culture," adding that the UCI was "bound to recognize our decision and impose it."
"They have no choice but to strip the titles under the code," he said.
That would leave Greg LeMond as the only American to win the Tour de France, having done so in 1986, 1989 and 1990.
LeMond did not immediately respond to messages requesting comment left through his attorneys and friends.
Armstrong on Friday sent a tweet about his plans to race in Aspen, but did not comment directly on the sanctions.