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Poll: Is Lance Armstrong Guilty or Just Exhausted?

The seven-time Tour de France champion and cancer survivor decides against entering the arbitration process with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, effectively ending his defense against charges he used drugs during his unprecedented cycling dominance.

Depending on who you believe, Lance Armstrong, one of the greatest endurance athletes of all time, either admitted Thursday that he used banned substances during his historic seven-year reign as Tour de France champion or simply grew tired of defending himself against charges he's faced for more than a decade.

Either way, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said Thursday that it will strip Armstrong of his seven Tour titles after he said he wouldn't seek arbitration with the agency over the case, a move that would have been his final chance in staving off a lifetime ban and being stripped of his titles, according to the Associated Press.

Travis Tygart, USADA's chief executive, said Armstrong's decision should be interpreted as an admission of guilt.

"It is a sad day for all of us who love sport and athletes," Tygart told the AP. "It's a heartbreaking example of win at all costs overtaking the fair and safe option. There's no success in cheating to win."

But Armstrong has issued a lengthy statement that admitted nothing and said he was simply done fighting what he called an "unconstitutional witch hunt." He has consistently pointed to the hundreds of drug tests that he has passed as proof of his innocence during his seven-year run from 1999 to 2005 as Tour de France champion.

"There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, 'Enough is enough.' For me, that time is now," Armstrong said in a statement posted on his website. "I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999. The toll this has taken on my family and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today -- finished with this nonsense."

So who do you believe? Is Lance effectively admitting his guilt, or do you buy his claim that he's simply done fighting this battle and wants to focus on his work with his Livestrong Foundation?

Take the poll below and tell us in the comments why you voted the way you did.

Scott Meehleib September 07, 2012 at 06:39 PM
There is physical evidence. The USADA collected urine samples in 2009 and 2010 that were found to be "fully consistent with blood manipulation including EPO use and/or blood transfusions." A lot of these so-called world class athletes have used blood transfusions to exploit the system. But, of course, hero-worship never dies for some, and it's easier to believe that there is a vast conspiracy against him by a network of disgruntled scientists, fellow team members, and even a massage therapist.
Scott Meehleib September 07, 2012 at 06:48 PM
If modern sports are to be taken at all so seriously (which maybe they shouldn't be anyway, being essentially games after all), the realities of blood transfusions have to be taken into account. It's no longer sensible to assume that normal drug testing alone is fail-safe. When there are millions of dollars at stake in winnings and/or endorsement deals, of course many will cheat for even a small edge. It's the American way!
Bwood September 07, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Scott, what source are you quoting from? If that evidence was so rock-solid and damning, then why wasn't he busted?
Scott Meehleib September 12, 2012 at 07:29 PM
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/mobile/cycling/18435771 I would assume that he wasn't busted before because drug testing has been simplistic in the past. You were either found to have a certain level of a drug or you were not. But, now, in several sports, it's quite obvious that blood transfusions and drugs that run "clear" are becoming routine among the highest-paid athletes in several sports.
Scott Meehleib September 12, 2012 at 07:44 PM
As to why he isn't going to trial for this, it could very well be due to a statute of limitations issue. But that doesn't mean that there isn't a national economic interest in reexamining evidence with the latest scientific techniques available to make sure that sports go back to having some smidgen of integrity, especially when the "heroes" become iconic and create new records that will be artificially boosted when drugs are involved.

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