Lance Armstrong no longer won seven Tour de France titles.
At least that's what the establishment wants history to think.
The greatest cyclist of all-time gave up his legal battle against doping charges, which will trigger a lifetime ban from the sport and seven consecutive Tour de France titles from 1999-2005.
He will now join other athletic icons like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens as people everyone "knows" used PEDs but no one could ever prove it. A group being railroaded out of their respective sports, cast aside like they didn't exist.
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency was ready to parade witnesses up to the stand to testify they saw Armstrong using the same PEDs they were during his unprecedented run. Embark on another 'he said, she said' merry-go-round with people often convicted of crimes themselves, willing to take down someone like Armstrong since they've already been caught.
I can't say I blame Armstrong for giving up this tiresome, and bothersome, legal "witch hunt," as he calls it. The difference between Armstrong and people like Ben Johnson and Marion Jones, sprinters who had medals stripped due to PED use, is Armstrong gave testers 500 samples during the course of his run (according to his statement). Blood and urine, everyday being tested. Nothing ever came back. Johnson and Jones failed tests.
As Armstrong asks in his statement, what was the point of all those tests if it's just thrown out now? His legacy will be damaged because people will be able to say he's a "cheater." I still haven't seen any proof, other than being better than everyone in a sport where nearly everyone was using PEDs. Just like Bonds.
Really, the only thing Bonds and Armstrong did wrong was being the best in a sport overran with PED use, and used in a way to go undetected in the tests. That doesn't make it right, but the name of the game in those dirty sports is to not get caught. They weren't....unless you count former teammates turning state's evidence.
Lance Armstrong has done a lot with his name, his foundation, his cause. He beat cancer, but the fight to keep the continued doping charges at bay finally were too much.
You can "strip" him of all his Tour titles, but I'll still know who won them. For some his legacy may have changed, but not for me. Armstrong is doing something the Anti-Doping Agency should have done long ago --- move on.