Lance Armstrong was officially stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the cycling governing body, on Monday, according to the New York Post.
The action follows the US Anti-Doping Agency’s (USADA) report that Armstrong lead a massive doping program on his teams. Pat McQuaid, the UCI president, said the federation accepted the USADA’s report and would not appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said the UCI’s decision was “totally logical” and “Lance is no longer the winner of the Tour de France from 1999 to 2005.”
Sponsors Nike, Trek Bicycles, and Anheusner-Busch have dropped Armstrong. Armstrong himself has stepped down as chairman of Livestrong, the cancer awareness charity he founded 15 years after surviving testicular cancer, which spread to his lungs and brain.
The USADA report alleged that Armstrong and his team used steroids, the blood booster EPO, and blood transfusions. The 200 page report said he should be stripped of his Tour titles. 11 riders from the U.S. Postal Service and Discovery Channel teams testified against Armstrong in the report and received reduced bans from the American authorities.
Armstrong denies doping and has said that he passed hundreds of drug tests. He will not fight the USADA in an arbitration hearing because the process is biased against him. Armstrong, who has dealt with doping rumors for decades, stopped fighting against charges years ago. He said, “there comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, ‘Enough is enough.’”
Armstrong may lose his time trial bronze medal from the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said, “We will study UCI’s response to the USADA and await to receive their full decision including further potential sanctions against Lance Armstrong as well as regarding any ramifications to his case.” Armstrong may face civil lawsuits from ex-sponsors and even the US government.
McQuaid, who has received criticism for his and the UCI’s handling of the affair, said, “When I took over (as president) in 2005 I made the fight against doping my priority. I acknowledged cycling had a culture of doping. Cycling has come a long way. I have no intention of resigning as president of the UCI.”
The UCI and the USADA had a long going feud on who should handle the doping case. The UCI said about their final decision, “Even apart from any discussion on jurisdiction, it would have been better that the evidence collected by USADA had been assessed by a neutral body or person who was not involved in collecting the evidence and prosecuting the defendant.”
The UCI Management committee will discuss the possibility of re-awarding Armstrong’s Tour titles and prize money on Friday. Prudhomme, director of the Tour, said he does not believe any rider should receive the title when doping was so common among the peloton. McQuaid has made it clear that the UCI will make the decision.
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