UCI Agrees to Strip Armstrong’s Tour Wins
October 22, 2012
The European governing body for cycling sports has agreed to strip Lance Armstrong of his Tour titles.
The seven-time Tour de France winner is now banned for life from competing in any internationally sanctioned cycling competitions following the report by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that accused him of master-minding a doping regimen while competing from 1999 to 2006.
UCI President Pat McQuaid announced this morning that the federation accepted the USADA’s report on Armstrong and would not appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The decision clears the way for Tour de France organizers to officially remove Armstrong’s name from the record books, erasing his consecutive victories from 1999-2005.
Tour director Christian Prudhomme has said the race will now have no official winners for those years.
USADA claimed in their report that Armstrong led a highly sophisticated doping program while racing for the U.S. Postal Team, and the Discovery Team.
The report detailed team use of steroids, blood booster EPO and blood transfusions. Statements from 11 previous teammates in the 202-page report alleged to the massive undertaking.
In their statement today, UCI wrote that:
The testimony of the riders in the USADA report “confirms that the anti-doping infrastructure that existed at that time was, by itself, insufficient and inadequate to detect the practices taking place within the team. The UCI has always been the first international sporting federation to embrace new developments in the fight against doping and it regrets that the anti-doping infrastructure that exists today was not available at that time so as to render such evasion impossible.”
Armstrong denies doping, saying he passed over 500 drug tests.
Saying that they had tested Armstrong 218 times, the UCI said, “If Lance Armstrong was able to beat the system then the responsibility for addressing that rests not only with the UCI but also with WADA and all of the other anti-doping agencies who accepted the results.”
But Armstrong chose not to fight USADA in one of the agency’s arbitration hearings, saying the process was biased against him. Former Armstrong team director Johan Bruyneel is also facing doping charges, but he is challenging the charges.
Armstrong has been fighting doping allegations for years. But the allegations against him in the USADA report are all hearsay.
Indeed, the UCI confirmed that two of the riders who have testified against Armstrong tested positive for banned substances: “The UCI tested Tyler Hamilton 40 times and found him positive. It tested Floyd Landis 46 times and found him positive as the winner of the Tour de France. The list of riders that it has found positive does not end there.”
No proof either in the form of tests or left-over syringes, or any other type of facsimile of material proof, has been offered.
Indeed, Armstrong was tested more than any of the other cyclists involved in the investigation, and possibly more than any other sports man in the world:
USADA Athlete testing history as published on USADA website (see above).
It’s been a difficult couple of weeks for Armstrong, who after being dropped by his primary advertising sponsors, resigned from the executive leadership of LiveStrong, the cancer organization that he founded. He will still hold a position on the board there.