Federal judge hears Lance Armstrong, USADA sides

A federal judge aimed hard questions at the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency over its aim to strip famed cyclist Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles in a hearing in Austin, Texas, on Friday.

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks asked whether USADA has given Armstrong a legitimate chance to defend himself against charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career.

“As we said in court today, Mr. Armstrong agreed to play by the same rules that apply to every other athlete and we believe he should not be allowed to create a new set of rules that apply only to him,” USADA Chief Executive Travis Tygart said in a prepared statement emailed to The Times and other news agencies.

“From the beginning, our investigation has been about ridding sport from anyone in the system that uses their power or influence to encourage or assist athletes in using dangerous performance-enhancing drugs. Every alleged offender is innocent unless and until proven otherwise through the established procedures which are Congressionally mandated to provide full due process, including the right to a public hearing where the evidence is presented, witness testimony is given under oath and subject to cross examination, and an independent panel of arbitrators determines the outcome of the case. We respect the federal court process and will await the judge’s decision.”


Sparks also asked Armstrong’s attorneys to show why USADA should not have jurisdiction in the case, as they have argued.

Armstrong has sued USADA to block its attempt to prove he cheated. Sparks made no ruling and gave lawyers another week to file more legal briefs.

The Associated Press contributed to this report



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