Judge dismisses Armstrong's suit
JIM VERTUNO, AP Sports Writer
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A federal judge has dismissed Lance Armstrong's lawsuit against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, but says the cyclist can refile it within 20 days.
The seven-time Tour de France champion sued USADA on Monday in an attempt to prevent it from moving forward with charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout much of his career.
U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks ruled just hours later. He criticized Armstrong's attorneys for filing an 80-page complaint the judge says seems more intended to whip up public opinion for his case than focus on the legal argument.
Sparks, however, did not decide on the merits of Armstrong's case and said he can refile his lawsuit.
Armstrong wanted Sparks to rule in his favor by Saturday, the deadline he faces to either accept sanctions from USADA or go to arbitration.
Armstrong's lawsuit contended that USADA rules violate athletes' constitutional right to a fair trial, and that the agency doesn't have jurisdiction in his case. It also accused USADA's chief executive, Travis Tygart, of waging a personal vendetta against the cancer survivor who won the Tour de France every year from 1999 to 2005.
The lawsuit was an aggressive -- and expected -- move as Armstrong seeks to preserve his legacy as one of the greatest cyclists ever, and an inspiring advocate for cancer survivors and research. Armstrong wanted the judge to bar USADA from pursuing its case or issuing any sanctions against him.
Armstrong could receive a lifetime ban from cycling and be stripped of his Tour de France victories if found guilty.
Armstrong insists he is innocent.
"The process (USADA) seeks to force upon Lance Armstrong is not a fair process and truth is not its goal," his lawsuit said, calling the USADA process a "kangaroo court."
Tygart said Armstrong's lawsuit is "aimed at concealing the truth."
"USADA was built by athletes on the principles of fairness and integrity," he said in a statement. "We are confident the courts will continue to uphold the established rules which provide full constitutional due process and are designed to protect the rights of clean athletes and the integrity of sport."
USADA, created in 2000 and recognized by Congress as the official anti-doping agency for Olympic sports in the United States, formally charged Armstrong in June with taking performance-enhancing drugs and participating in a vast doping conspiracy on his Tour de France winning teams, some of which were sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service.
The charges came after a two-year federal criminal investigation into doping allegations against Armstrong ended in February with no charges filed against him.
The anti-doping agency says up to 10 former teammates and associates are willing to testify against him and that it has blood samples from 2009-2010 that are "fully consistent" with doping.
Armstrong, who retired in 2011, says he has passed more than 500 drug tests in his career and was never flagged for a positive test.
Also charged by USADA are former Armstrong team manager Johan Bruyneel and several team doctors and associates.