The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency leveled a violation accusation against the seven-time Tour de France winner accusing him of participating in a doping conspiracy and using performance-enhancing drugs for much of his stellar career.
Armstrong, 40, who has always denied doping, will likely take his case to an arbitration panel that will hold a hearing sometime in the coming months.
The charges also named Armstrong's team manager, Johan Bruyneel, and his former trainer, Michele Ferrari, plus two former team doctors and a trainer.
If upheld, Armstrong and the others face a possible lifetime ban from cycling and other Olympic sports.
Armstrong's lawyer has said the charges were based on old and flimsy allegations. The New York Times said agency investigators contend they have plenty of credible witnesses, including first-hand accounts of alleged drug use.
Doping practices in cycling generally revolve around manipulating the oxygen level in the bloodstream to improve endurance rather than strength building.