The charges against Lance Armstrong, his team manager, a team trainer and three doctors follow an investigation by USADA into doping in cycling that lasted more than two years.
In February, federal prosecutors closed a nearly two-year criminal probe into alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs by Armstrong without charging him or other members of his former cycling team.
In 2010 and 2011, Armstrong was accused of doping by two ex-teammates -- Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton, both of whom admitted to doping. Landis accused Armstrong in May 2010 in a series of e-mails to sponsors and race officials, sparking the federal probe of the U.S. Postal Service team, although doping isn't a violation of U.S. federal criminal laws. And in May 2011, Hamilton told "60 Minutes" that Armstrong took blood-booster EPO in the 1999 Tour and before the race in 2000 and 2001. Armstrong denied the allegations and noted that he has never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
What's at stake: The action could cost him some or all of his record seven Tour de France titles -- which he won every year from 1999 to 2005 after surviving testicular cancer that had spread to his brain and lungs -- and he could face a lifetime ban from the sport if he is found to have used performance-enhancing drugs. It also immediately bans him from competing in triathlons, which he turned to after he retired from cycling last year.
What power does USADA have? The charges aren't criminal charges. The agency only has the power to ban athletes from competition and to revoke titles.
What's next: Athletes can request a hearing, and if they lose, they have the ability to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Robert D. Luskin, a lawyer representing Armstrong, said he has 10 days -- until June 29 -- to "make a submission" to the USADA. But he said the agency had not "identified the witnesses or provided us with any background info" on the blood tests they used.