Lance Armstrong filed a federal lawsuit Monday aimed at preventing the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency from moving ahead with charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his record-setting career.
Armstrong's lawsuit says USADA rules violate athletes' constitutional right to a fair trial, and that the agency doesn't have jurisdiction in his case. It also accuses USADA's chief executive, Travis Tygart, of waging a personal vendetta against the cancer survivor who won the Tour de France every year from 1999 to 2005.
The lawsuit is an aggressive - and expected - move as Armstrong seeks to preserve his legacy as one of the greatest cyclists ever and an inspiring advocate for cancer survivors and research. Armstrong wants a judge to bar USADA from pursuing its case or issuing any sanctions against him.
Armstrong asked the court to issue an injunction by Saturday, the deadline he faces to formally challenge the case in USADA's arbitration process or accept sanctions. He could receive a lifetime ban from cycling and be stripped of his Tour de France victories if found guilty.
Armstrong insists he is innocent.
"The process (USADA) seek to force upon Lance Armstrong is not a fair process and truth is not its goal," his lawsuit says.
USADA, created in 2000 and recognized by Congress as the official anti-doping agency for Olympic sports in the United States, formally charged Armstrong in June with taking performance-enhancing drugs and participating in a vast doping conspiracy on his Tour de France winning teams, some of which were sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service.
The charges came after a two-year federal criminal investigation into doping allegations against Armstrong ended in February with no charges filed against him. The anti-doping agency says up to 10 former teammates and associates are willing to testify against him and that it has blood samples from 2009-2010 that are "fully consistent" with doping.
Armstrong, who retired in 2011, says he has passed more than 500 drug tests in his career and was never flagged for a positive test.