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Armstrong stripped of Tour titles

ALL GONE: Lance Armstrong, surrounded by media, signalling seven, for his seventh straight win in the Tour de France cycling race back in 2005. Those titles were taken away yesterday. (AP Picture)

Tue, October 23, 2012 - 12:01 AM

GENEVA – Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life by cycling’s governing body yesterday following a report from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) that accused him of leading a massive doping programme on his teams.

International Cycling Union (UCI) president Pat McQuaid announced that the federation had accepted the USADA’s report on Armstrong and would not appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

“Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling and he deserves to be forgotten in cycling,” McQuaid said at a news conference. “This is a landmark day for cycling.”

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 to 2005.

Tour director Christian Prudhomme had said the race would go along with whatever cycling’s governing body decided and would have no official winners for those years.

USADA said Armstrong should be banned and stripped of his Tour titles for “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen” within his US Postal Service and Discovery Channel teams.

The USADA report said Armstrong and his teams used steroids, the blood booster EPO and blood transfusions. The report included statements from 11 former teammates who testified against Armstrong.

“I was sickened by what I read in the USADA report,” McQuaid said, singling out the testimony of David Zabriskie.

“The story he told of how he was coerced and, to some extent, forced into doping is just mind boggling.”

Armstrong denies doping, saying he passed hundreds of drug tests. But he chose not to fight the USADA in one of the agency’s arbitration hearings, arguing the process was biased against him. (AP)

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