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Judge extends Armstrong suit, does not issue ruling

Judge Sparks allows another week for Armstrong, USADA to maneuver, but deadline looms for Armstrong response

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Attorneys for Lance Armstrong and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency have another week to file documents in a lawsuit related to the agency’s doping case against the seven-time Tour de France champ. The ruling delays the Texan’s Monday deadline to accept sanction or request binding arbitration.

In a hearing Friday in Austin, Texas, U.S. District Court judge Samuel Sparks questioned USADA over concerns regarding its sanctioning process and Armstrong’s team over its assertion that USADA lacks jurisdiction over the Texan.

In the end, Sparks extended a deadline for both parties to file subsequent documents with the court and did not issue a ruling.

USADA CEO Travis Tygart reaffirmed the agency’s position with a statement posted to its website after the hearing:

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. The rules already in place have protected the rights of millions of clean athletes both famous and anonymous for more than a decade and were approved by athletes, the U.S. Olympic Committee and all U.S. sport federations. 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.

Armstrong faced an August 13 deadline to respond to USADA’s charges that he and five others, including U.S. Postal Service team manager Johan Bruyneel, were involved in a decade-long conspiracy to use and distribute performance enhancing drugs and other doping products. USADA communications director Annie Skinner told Bloomberg News that the judge’s ruling extended that deadline to August 23.