Lance Armstrong’s efforts to become a world Ironman champion have hit a major speed bump.
The U.S. anti-doping agency (USADA) filed new charges that he doped as a Tour de France cyclist; causing organizers of France Ironman (for which Armstrong has been training for) to deny him a place in the competition.
“He cannot take the start,” Ironman France spokeswoman Delphine Vivet told the AP.
The decision is a setback for Armstrong, who recently adopted a partial-vegan diet that he says has completely changed his body.
“Even when you’re training really hard, it’s normal that you would have certain things for lunch or certain things for breakfast, and then have this dip, or almost like a food coma,” he told HuffPo in April. “I don’t experience that anymore. My energy level has never been this consistent, and not just consistent, but high. I’m a big napper — I couldn’t even take a nap these days if I wanted to. The other thing — I expected to get rid of that dip, but I didn’t expect the mental side of it, and the sharpness and the focus that I’ve noticed. And I was the biggest non-believer, I was like ‘whatever man’, and I’m in. I’m not doing dinners yet, but breakfast and lunch, I’m in.”
After winning his first major Ironman in Florida late last month, Armstrong once again praised his new eating regimen. “I felt pretty good I must say. Think I finally figured out the nutrition component which has been dogging me.”
As for these latest allegations, Armstrong released a statement calling the “baseless” and “motivated by spite and advanced through testimony bought and paid for by promises of anonymity and immunity.”
He added: “I have never doped, and, unlike many of my accusers, I have competed as an endurance athlete for 25 years with no spike in performance, passed more than 500 drug tests and never failed one. That USADA ignores this fundamental distinction and charges me instead of the admitted dopers says far more about USADA, its lack of fairness and this vendetta than it does about my guilt or innocence.”