Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.
Lance Armstrong is, once again, facing doping charges that could cost him his Tour de France titles.
The Washington Post reports that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency informed the seven-time Tour winner on Tuesday that it is bringing formal doping charges against him and five former cycling team associates, accusing the group of engaging in a sweeping 13-year doping conspiracy that continued until last year.
As a result of the charges, Armstrong has been immediately banned from competing in officially-sanctioned triathlons, a sport he took up after retiring from pro cycling last year, and could be stripped of his Tour de France titles and other pro cycling wins during that time.
USADA says that blood samples collected in 2009 and 2010 indicate blood manipulation, and alleges that Armstrong used a host of performance-enhancing methods including EPO, blood transfusion, and testosterone to fuel his record-setting career.
The new doping charges come only four months after federal authorities ended a nearly two-year investigation into doping allegations against Armstrong without bringing any criminal charges against him.
Armstrong has steadfastly denied any and all allegations concerning performance-enhancing drugs, a stance he maintained Wednesday in the face of the new charges.
"I have never doped, and, unlike many of my accusers, I have competed as an endurance athlete for 25 years with no spike in performance, passed more than 500 drug tests and never failed one," the Texan said in a statement. "That USADA ignores this fundamental distinction and charges me instead of the admitted dopers says far more about USADA, its lack of fairness and this vendetta than it does about my guilt or innocence."