A federal judge has dismissed Lance Armstrong's lawsuit against the US Anti-Doping Agency, opening the way for the agency's drug case against the seven-time Tour de France winner to proceed.
Armstrong, who has vehemently denied doping during his cycling career, had argued USADA lacked jurisdiction to pursue a case against him and claimed the agency's arbitration process violated his rights under the US constitution.
US District Judge Sam Sparks dismissed the lawsuit, filed in Armstrong's hometown of Austin, Texas. Armstrong can appeal to a higher court, move on to arbitration with USADA or accept sanctions from the agency, which has charged Armstrong with doping during the years he won his Tour de France titles from 1999-2005.
Penalties could include a lifetime ban from cycling and the loss of his Tour de France titles.
"We are pleased that the federal court in Austin, Texas, has dismissed Lance Armstrong's lawsuit and upheld the established rules which provide Congressionally-mandated due process for all athletes," USADA chief executive Travis Tygart said in a statement.
"The rules in place have protected the rights of athletes for over a decade in every case USADA has adjudicated and we look forward to a timely, public arbitration hearing in this case, should Mr. Armstrong choose, where the evidence can be presented, witness testimony will be given under oath and subject to cross examination, and an independent panel of arbitrators will determine the outcome of the case."