In his statement released Thursday evening, ex-seven-time Tour de France-winner Lance Armstrong lashed out at the head of the US Anti-Doping Agency for conducting an "unconstitutional witch hunt." He also criticized USADA for his lack of evidence:
Regardless of what Travis Tygart says, there is zero physical evidence to support his outlandish and heinous claims. The only physical evidence here is the hundreds of controls I have passed with flying colors. I made myself available around the clock and around the world. In-competition. Out of competition. Blood. Urine. Whatever they asked for I provided. What is the point of all this testing if, in the end, USADA will not stand by it?
Late Thursday, VeloNation was able to get Tygart on the record concerning Armstrong and his giving up in the fight against USADA's doping charges:
VN: Were you satisfied with evidence that you had amassed, and were you confident in your case?
TT: Absolutely. We never would have brought a case if we were not extremely confident in the level of evidence. And the truth – at the end of the day, our job is to search for truth and justice, to expose the full truth and ensure, to the best of our ability, perfect justice.
VN: Are you surprised by what happened, that this didn't go to arbitration?
TT: No, I think it was our expectation from the beginning. He knows all the evidence as well and he knows the truth, and so the smarter move on his part is to attempt to hide behind baseless accusations of process. It is pretty telling because the federal court was crystal clear on Monday that our process meets constitutional due process, and that is the appropriate forum for the evidence to be presented and all the arguments to be made.
Tygart also confirmed that USADA would be using its authority to strip Armstrong of his Tour titles and ban him from the sport ...
VN: It was said before that the likely sanctions would be a lifetime ban and the loss of seven Tour titles – will that be the case?
TT: Yes…the charges were not contested, so what automatically goes into place will be a lifetime ban from any participation from any sport which recognises the WADA Code and disqualification from all results, including any Tour de France victories, any other victories and placings beginning August 1st 1998 to the present.
... and directly contested Armstrong's characterization that USADA did not have the authority to levy such punishments.
VN: Armstrong's lawyers have said in a letter to USADA that USADA can't impose these sanctions, and have threatened legal action if they go through. Do you have any concerns about that?
TT: No, they have already taken legal action and the federal judge told them we do have authority and our process is the process where those complaints can be made. It is kind of funny that they walking away from a process, but are threatening to attempt to go back to somewhere else to fight. It is a little ironic but, no…it means nothing.
As for the evidence that USADA presented, that may yet become public.
VN: There was reportedly a lot of evidence in the case, there was witness testimony and presumably more…do you expect any of those details to emerge?
TT: Yes, absolutely…at the right time. Obviously there are other cases that are alleged to be involved in the conspiracy. Their cases are still proceeding, so it will be in due course.
VN: So there is no impediment to USADA releasing the evidence?
TT: No, no.
Obviously, this controversy is far from finished.