Lance Armstrong lost a round in federal court, with a judge throwing out his lawsuit against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency on Monday.
The decision by the judge in Austin, Texas, means that USADA’s doping case against Armstrong, seven-time winner of the Tour de France can proceed.
USADA has charged Armstrong with using performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions while competing in cycling events. He and four associates also are charged with involvement in alleged systematic doping on Armstrong’s cycling teams.
Armstrong’s lawsuit had contended that USADA lacks jurisdiction and that its arbitration process violates his constitutional rights.
“With respect to Armstrong’s due process challenges, the court agrees they are without merit,” U.S. District Court Judge Sam Sparks wrote. “Alternatively, even if the court has jurisdiction over Armstrong’s remaining claims, the court finds they are best resolved through the well-established system of international arbitration, by those with expertise in the field, rather than by the unilateral edict of a single nation’s courts.”
Armstrong and his lawyers must now consider his next step: whether to appeal, proceed with arbitration, accept USADA sanctions or challenge USADA’s proceedings before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland. Accepting sanctions would cost him his seven Tour de France titles and cause him to be barred from Olympic competition.
“On balance, the court finds the USADA arbitration rules, which largely follow those of the American Arbitration Association, are sufficiently robust to satisfy the requirements of due process,” Sparks wrote. “This court declines to assume either the pool of potential arbitrators, or the ultimate arbitral panel itself, will be unwilling or unable to render a conscientious decision based on the evidence before it. Further, Armstrong has ample appellate avenues open to him.”