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(NECN: Greg Wayland) - Lance Armstrong - once universally admired as a cancer survivor and seven-time Tour de France winner - will now be seen by many as just as a run-of-the-mill cheater, even though he continues to deny every using performance-enhancing drugs.
But the head of the world anti-doping agency sees Armstrong's decision not to contest the charges as an admission of guilt.
"If he was innocent, he would've stated as much by rebutting the evidence, testing the evidence, cross-examing the witnesses. That won't now happen," said John Fahey, president of the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Armstrong made his announcement as he approached a deadline to formally challenge the accusations, declining his last option of entering arbitration, citing the strain on his family and charitable work.
In a statement on his website he said, "There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, 'enough is enough.' For me, that time is now."
One of his teammates, who is also one of his chief accusers, was unavailable Friday. The teammate is Marblehead, Mass.-native Tyler Hamilton, who was also stripped of cycling titles for doping.
In Hamilton's hometown of Marblehead, Armstrong's fate was on a lot of people's minds.
"It's sad for cycling. It's not a big surprise. But it's definitely sad for cycling," said Chris Finn of the Marblehead Cycle Shop. "You know, they probably should have 15 years ago done a better job at trying to, ah, fix the problem then. not kind of half fix it and now here we are at this."
At Marblehead's Atomic Cafe, favored by cyclists, owner and former competitive cycler Andrew Mahoney believes Armstrong can make a partial recovery.
"You know, him being so famous in cycling, being so successful, he has done a lot of good with it, so I think if he continues with that, then, you know, eventually he'll be fine," said Mahoney.
But doubts and disappointment abound.