Cycling Bans Armstrong, Strips Tour Titles; Olympic Medal Loss Possible
Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France from 1998 to 2005. (Getty Images)
(ATR) The International Cycling Federation (UCI) banned Lance Armstrong for life and strips his seven Tour de France titles, while the IOC could revoke his bronze medal.
UCI president Pat McQuaid told a news conference in Geneva on Monday that cycling’s governing body accepted the sanctions that the United States Anti-Doping Agency imposed following its probe into Armstrong.
“I was sickened by what I read in the USADA report. Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling,” McQuaid told a venue packed with international media.
“Something like this must never happen again. He deserves to be forgotten."
Lance Armstrong with his Olympic medal. (Getty Images)
The IOC said in a statement: “We will study UCI's response to the USADA report and await to receive their full decision including further potential sanctions against Lance Armstrong as well as regarding any ramifications to his case. The UCI has announced that its management committee will meet on Friday to decide on further action in the light of today’s statement.
“It is good to see that all parties involved in this case are working together to tackle this issue.”
Armstrong won a bronze in the road time trial event at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.
The UCI’s management committee will decide whether to reallocate the seven Tour de France titles that Armstrong won from 1999 to 2005 when he returned to cycling after beating cancer. It will also make a decision on what should happen to the prize money.
Describing the Armstrong scandal as “the biggest crisis cycling has ever faced”, McQuaid dismissed the suggestion that his position as head of the UCI was untenable. He has been under fire ever since the Armstrong revelations emerged two weeks ago, which included a denial of claims that the donation of more than $100,000 received from Armstrong in 2002 was linked to covering up a positive test.
"When I took over in 2005 I made the fight against doping my priority. That still remains my priority. I acknowledged cycling had a culture of doping but it has a long way since then and there’s a lot of evidence that it is changing.”
Noting that the UCI commits $10 million per year to the fight against doping, he said: “There is still more work to be done. Of that there is no doubt. I have no intention of resigning as president of the UCI.”
“It’s been a pretty horrific seven years I have had as president,” McQuaid said, noting the strong of doping scandals he has had to tackle. “But I am confident and optimistic that the landscape in the peloton has changed.”
Dismissing as “absolutely untrue” the claim that Armstrong had attempted to buy the UCI off to cover up a positive doping finding, he appeared to see nothing wrong with the UCI accepting
Pat McQuaid. (ATR/Panasonic Lumix)
donations from riders in the future.
“No it’s not a resignation issue,” he said of the donation, restating comments made last week that the UCI would have handled the donation differently. “There was no connection between donations given to UCI and a test covered up. There was no test covered up.”
The Irishman added: “If I have to apologize on behalf of the UCI, I am sorry that we couldn't catch every damn one of them red handed and throw them out of the sport at the time.”
USADA reported labeled the Armstrong, scandal "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen".
McQuaid used similar phrasing, calling it an “enormous sophisticated cheating program… this was a win at all costs program”.
“I feel sorry for the guys they competed against and raced clean. They must feel sore now and I sympathize and empathize with them,” he said.
The UCI chief told reporters that cycling had “endured a lot of pain” in absorbing the impact of the USADA report. But he insisted that cycling had a future and stakeholders and fans can “find a new way forward”.
Reported by Mark Bisson.
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