Not for the first time in his extraordinary career, seven time Tour de France athleteis to face serious allegations of illegal doping.
The allegations against the inspirational endurance athlete are being made by the U.S. Anti-doping Agency. The USADA has informed the cyclist that it has forwarded its case to the Anti-Doping Review Board, the body which will decide whether to proceed with it.
The allegations cast a shadow over Armstrong’s current plans to compete as a triathlete.
He could be banned from pursuing that ambition and may also be stripped of the record seven Tour titles he holds if the proposed prosecution is successful.
This could mean an unfortunate, ignominous end to one of international sport's most illustrious careers, comparable, one might venture to the 76-year old Engelbert Humperdinck's 12 point, second-to-last place finish at this year's Eurovision song contest.
Armstrong has responded stridently to the accusations claiming that they have their origin in the USADA’s lack of accountability and have been motivated by envy and personal grudges.
In a strongly worded statement on his website he first attacked the legitimacy of the very functioning of the USADA calling it “an organization largely funded by taxpayer dollars but governed only by self-written rules."
Armstrong also says, “USADA’s malice, its methods, its star-chamber practices, and its decision to punish first and adjudicate later all are at odds with our ideals of fairness and fair play.” (This assessment roughly equates with the “ambushing” behavior this writer ascribed to Barbadian journalist David Ellis in the first article in this series.)
Armstrong, who has survived testicular cancer, then attacks the USADA case, saying the body “intends to again dredge up discredited allegations dating back more than 16 years”.
“These are the very same charges and the same witnesses that the Justice Department chose not to pursue after a two-year investigation. These charges are baseless, motivated by spite and advanced through testimony bought and paid for by promises of anonymity and immunity,” his statement continues.
He further attacks the credibility of the USDA’s witnesses, saying, “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.”
He also says "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.”
In a statement on the case, the USADA has sought to refute any implication of bias on its part. It says: "This formal notice letter is the first step in the multi-step legal process for alleged sport anti-doping rule violations.
"As in every USADA case, all named individuals are presumed innocent of the allegations unless and until proven otherwise through the established legal process," the statement notes.
For much of his career Armstrong - who founded and chairs the Lance Armstrong Foundation for cancer research and support - has been dogged by accusations of cheating and foul play.
According to a Sky report “The U.S. Justice Department spent two years investigating the claims against him but closed their case in February without laying any charges against him.”
The reviving of these charges mere months later begs the question what could have changed in that time?
Fans of Armstrong may be full of foreboding. If prosecuted, this may prove to be one of the most spectacular cases of the USADA’s existence.
The multi-award winning Armstrong has so far responded to this legal test of his endurance with characteristic defiance.
If he loses this challenge it is difficult to see him taking his loss as graciously as Humperdinck - British crooner of the classic "Please Release Me" - has done.
Armstrong once notably declared: “This is my body, and I can do whatever I want to it. I can push it; Study it; Tweak it; Listen to it. Everybody wants to know what I am on. What am I on? I am on my bike busting my ass six hours a day; What are YOU on?”
But with trafficking allegations included in the USADA's case against him, he may come to long for release from this latest challege, as former Olympian sprinterprobably longed for release during her time of imprisonment.