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BIKE: Lance Armstrong Is Stripped of His 7 Tour de France Titles

October 22, 2012

Lance Armstrong Is Stripped of His 7 Tour de France Titles
via, by Juliet Macur

Franck Fife/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The International Cycling Union announced on Monday that it would not appeal the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s ruling to bar Lance Armstrong for life from Olympic sports for doping and for playing an instrumental role in the teamwide doping on his Tour de France-winning cycling squads.

The decision to waive the right to take Armstrong’s case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the highest court in sports, formally strips Armstrong of the Tour titles he won from 1999-2005. The Amaury Sport Organization, the company that organizes the Tour de France, will erase Armstrong’s name from its record books.

“We’ve come too far in the fight against doping to go back to the past,” Pat McQuaid, the president of the cycling union, said in a news conference on Monday in Switzerland. “Something like this must never happen again.”

He added that Armstrong, the sport’s biggest star for more than a decade, “has no place in cycling.”

Christian Prudhomme, the race director of the Tour, has said the organization would not give the victories to the runners-up at the races Armstrong won because so many of those riders have been linked to doping as well. He said those Tours simply would have no official winner.

The World Anti-Doping Agency now has 21 days to decide whether it will appeal the ruling. If it does not, Armstrong’s hotly contested case is over.

Armstrong, who vehemently denies ever doping, was charged in June with using banned performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions, and with encouraging their use among his teammates, to help him win races. He initially contested the charges, but backed down in August, saying he dropped out of the fight to spare his family and his foundation any stress or damage.

Nearly two weeks ago, the antidoping agency publicly released the evidence it had on Armstrong, including testimony from nearly a dozen of his former teammates who said there was widespread, team-organized doping on Armstrong’s United States Postal Service and Discovery Channel cycling teams.

Armstrong, a cancer survivor, stepped down last week as chairman of his Livestrong charity and lost nearly all of his endorsements. But in light of the cycling union’s decision not to appeal, more bad news might be on its way for Armstrong.

The International Olympic Committee is reviewing his case and now will likely strip him of the bronze medal he won at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

SCA Promotions, an insurance company based in Dallas, will probably start the process of trying to recoup the bonus money it awarded Armstrong for winning Tour after Tour.

Armstrong sued the company in 2005 to force it to pay him the bonus he was owed for winning the 2004 Tour. The company had withheld that bonus because of accusations in the book, “L.A. Confidentiel,” published only in French, which said Armstrong had doped and cheated to win. The two parties reached a settlement, with the insurance company paying Armstrong $7.5 million.