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Lance Armstrong: Federal prosecutors drop investigation

February 3, 2012 |  5:06 pm

It appears the latest threat to Lance Armstrong's controversial legacy as one of the era's greatest sportsmen is over.

Federal prosecutors announced Friday that they have dropped their investigation into whether the seven-time Tour de France winner and his former teammates took performance-enhancing drugs.

U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. announced in a news release that his office was closing its "investigation into allegations of federal criminal conduct by members and associates" of a team partially owned by Armstrong. He also confirmed that no charges will be filed.

Armstrong's lawyer Mark Fabiani described the decision as "great news" in a statement. "Lance is pleased that the United States Attorney made the right decision, and he is more determined than ever to devote his time and energy to Livestrong and to the causes that have defined his career.”

Since winning his first Tour de France in 1999 after nearly dying from testicular cancer, Armstrong has made a side career out of denying every allegation that he used performance-enhancing drugs.

Over the last decade, several former teammates and colleagues -- including former teammates Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton (both of whom failed drug tests) -- have accused Armstrong of doping. Another former teammate, Frank Andreu, and his wife, Betsy, also say Armstrong used drugs during his career.

“Our legal system failed us,” Betsy Andreu told the Associated Press in regard to the decision. “This is what happens when you have a lot of money and you can buy attorneys who have people in high places in the Department of Justice.”

While the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said the government's decision will not prevent them from continuing their ongoing investigation into allegations Armstrong used drugs, it may be a little too late for Armstrong to repair his reputation as a cyclist following years of allegations from all corners of the cycling world.

But what do you think? Do you think Armstrong cheated or do you think he's the victim of a series of meritless attacks?


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Photo: Lance Armstrong pulls himself up the final ascent to win Stage 15 of the 2003 Tour de France. Credit: Christophe Ena / Associated Press