In the words of Lance Armstrong:
There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, "Enough is enough." For me, that time is now. I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999.... The toll this has taken on my family, and my work for our foundation and on me, leads me to where I am today -- finished with this nonsense.
With this statement, Lance Armstrong salvaged the closest thing to a victory he was ever going to get over the United States Anti-doping Agency. He realized he couldn't possibly win so he quit fighting, depriving his accusers of the chance to beat him head on. It's the best Armstrong was going to do.
The case wasn't about Armstrong clearing his name. In the minds of the public, he used performance enhancing drugs. Though never actually testing positive, Armstrong has former teammates testifying that they either did drugs with Armstrong or saw him doing so. An entire book has been written about Armstrong cheating. As the Roger Clemens case demonstrates, you can't clear your reputation in court.
The Rightful Winner
Armstrong will likely be stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, despite the fact that he passed every test given to him at that time. Fine. If it happens, the logical victor of the 2005 Tour is Cadel Evans. Evans finished 8th in the part of the race in which people actually pedaled, but the seven riders in front of him are all proven cheats. Congrats to Cadel.
Since Nike (NKE) is standing behind him, Arstrong's livestrong.org foundation will continue without additional distractions. That's a good thing, since the group has raised nearly half a billion dollars since its inception. You can call Livestrong a vanity foundation if you wish; all you have to do first is find another group started by an athlete that does more for a cause.
Lance Armstrong has done amazing things in the fight against cancer and everyone in his sport seems to cheat. Neither of these things should be counted as a defense. Even if he were a sweet person who ran an orphanage (neither is true), Armstrong would be a cheater.
Today Armstrong conceded defeat, sort of, in his self-serving and flinty statement. What he won in return was the right to be left alone about performance-enhancing drugs. He won his life back, however tainted the public thinks it is.