April 25, 2023 -BBC News –When Lance Armstrong admitted to cheating during all seven of his Tour de France wins in front of a worldwide television audience in 2013, it brought mixed emotions for Jeff Novitzky.
For three years, American Novitzky, who was a federal agent at the time, had been leading a criminal investigation into Armstrong for the use of performance-enhancing drugs in cycling.
Armstrong never faced criminal charges because the investigation was eventually shut down by the United States Attorney in Southern California, but the American’s confession to US chat show host Oprah Winfrey that he had been doping led to him being stripped of his titles.
Novitzky says no explanation was given for the investigation being shut down, which was “unusual”, and speculates that “some type of political favour” may have been called in.
“While that was disappointing [the investigation being shut down], ultimately I think the same end game was met and that was, not just the exposure of Armstrong and US Postal Cycling Team, but all of professional cycling and what was really going on there,” Novitzky tells BBC Sport.
“You look at him and while you may say he didn’t have to pay for it after the criminal investigation was shut down, I don’t think that’s accurate.
“He was stripped of all his titles, he still today is considered one of the biggest falls from grace in professional sports, and he will forever have to live with that legacy.”