Lance Armstrong banned for lifeThis file photo shows Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong riding down the Champs Elysees with an American flag. (AP)
Mon, October 22, 2012 - 11:58 AM
GENEVA (AP) — Forget the seven Tour de France victories. Forget the yellow jersey celebrations on the Champs Elysees. Forget the name that dominated the sport of cycling for so many years.
As far as cycling's governing body is concerned, Lance Armstrong is out of the record books.
Once considered the greatest rider in Tour history, the American was cast out today by his sport, formally stripped of his seven titles and banned for life for his involvement in what U.S. sports authorities describe as a massive doping program that tainted all of his greatest triumphs.
"Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling and he deserves to be forgotten in cycling," said Pat McQuaid, the president said of the International Cycling Union. "This is a landmark day for cycling."
McQuaid announced that his group, known as UCI, accepted sanctions imposed by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and would not appeal them to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. McQuaid said he was "sickened" by some of the evidence detailed by USADA in its 200-page report and hundreds of pages of supporting testimony and documents.
The condemnation by cycling's most senior official confirmed Armstrong pariah status, after the UCI had backed Armstrong at times in trying to seize of the doping investigation from USADA. McQuaid said the UCI endorsed a life ban for Armstrong after almost two weeks studying the American agency's evidence, and will meet Friday to discuss going after his 2000 Olympic bronze medal.
Tour director Christian Prudhomme said he no longer considers Armstrong to be a champion from 1999-2005 and wants him to pay back his prize money.
"We wish that there is no winner for this period," he said in Paris. "For us, very clearly, the titles should remain blank. Effectively, we wish for these years to remain without winners."
Armstrong's representatives had no immediate comment, but the rider was defiant in August as he chose not to fight USADA in one of the agency's arbitration hearings. He argued the process was rigged against him.
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