Snowmass, CO-- Lance Armstrong competed in the Power of Four Mountain Bike Race Saturday, marking his first public appearance since the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency sanctions were handed down.
The USADA banned Armstrong from sanctioned cycling events for life, and stripped him of his seven Tour de France titles Friday.
Armstrong, who retired last year, effectively dropped his fight against the USADA by declining to enter USADA's arbitration process - his last option - because he said he was weary of fighting accusations that have dogged him for years. He has consistently pointed to the hundreds of drug tests he passed as proof of his innocence while piling up Tour titles from 1999 to 2005.
"There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, `Enough is enough.' For me, that time is now," Armstrong said. He called the USADA investigation an "unconstitutional witch hunt."
Read the full description of the ban here
"I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999," he said. "The toll this has taken on my family and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today - finished with this nonsense."
USADA reacted quickly and treated Armstrong's decision as an admission of guilt, hanging the label of drug cheat on an athlete who was a hero to thousands for overcoming life-threatening testicular cancer and for his foundation's support for cancer research.
Despite the ruling, he will continue racing. On Sunday, he plans to participate in Aspen's Backcountry Marathon.
Armstrong's spokesman says the races this weekend are not governed by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.