The Faceoff: Did Lance Armstrong deserve to be stripped of his seven Tour de France titles?

Lance Armstrong recently chose to give up his fight against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and its charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs en route to winning seven consecutive Tour de France titles.

Armstrong continues to state that he is innocent but said in a statement that he believes “enough is enough.” The USADA plans suspend Armstrong from international cycling and strip him of his seven Tour titles.

If I were in Armstrong’s shoes and I were truly innocent, I would never stop fighting the USADA. Wouldn’t you?

Many have said that the costs of fighting the charges – financially, mentally and emotionally – are not worth the chance of being found innocent. But isn’t the opposite true as well? Being shunned from the cycling community and no longer glorified as one of the greatest athletes is a lot to give up if he is certain that he is innocent.

All of this leads me to believe that Armstrong did use PEDs during his stretch of dominance in the late ’90s to early 2000s. After all, who didn’t? An innumerable amount of cyclists have been found guilty of using PEDs since 2000. It seems astounding that not only did Armstrong win seven straight Tour titles clean, but he also beat out a host of top-tier cyclists who were cheating.

Sorry, but in this day and age I just do not buy it. We have seen too many athletes who we thought were clean found guilty. We have also seen how long masking agents can help athletes cheat without being caught.

Now that he has given up his fight, we will never know for sure if Armstrong used PEDs to win those seven titles. This seems like the perfect outcome for a guilty Armstrong. He can keep his image somewhat intact for his cancer foundation and the millions of fans that believe in him. He can say that he was never found guilty of any wrongdoing.

Years from now, maybe we will forget about the exact details and outcome of this whole scandal. If I were Armstrong, that’s precisely what I would want.

What do you think? Did Lance deserve to get his titles stripped? Click here to read a differing opinion.