ICU strips Tour de France titles, bans cycling cheat Lance Armstrong for life
The President of the International Cycling Union said on Monday that Lance Armstrong had “no place in cycling”, as he announced the ICU’s backing for a lifetime ban decided by the United States Anti- Doping Agency earlier this month.
At a press conference in Geneva to announce whether the ICU would endorse the USADA decision, ICU president Pat McQuaid also announced that Armstrong is to be stripped of his seven Tour de France wins.
The UCI had little choice, after overwhelming evidence was gathered in a 202 page-dossier with more than 1000 pages of supporting testimony, by the American anti-doping agency which concluded that he was at the heart of the biggest doping programme in the history of sport.
Pat McQuaid declared that he would not be resigning as UCI president, despite heavy criticism for his apparent failure to see the extent of doping in the sport.
He took over from Hein Verbruggen in 2005, the year of Armstrong’s seventh Tour victory, and he has been credited with improving the UCI’s anti-doping programme, introducing the pioneering blood passport programme.
Verbruggen has been accused of protecting Armstrong, and accepting a donation to hide the positive results of a dope test.
In the wake of this month’s revelations, Lance Armstrong’s sponsors have dumped him but in a more serious blow for the whole sport, Dutch sponsors Rabobank have announced that they are ending their sponsorship of their whole professional cycling team, after 17 years.
Rabobank described professional cycling as “sick” to its core and unlikely to recover in the foreseeable future.
Armstrong’s inspiring backstory as a cancer survivor helped restore cycling’s battered image, after several high-profile doping scandals in the 1990s.
His Tour de France wins are unlikely to be re awarded preventing further scandal as many of those who came second or third in the races have also been implicated in doping.
Armstrong could now be sued by former sponsors who say he signed written assurances to them that he did not use banned substances.