Lance Armstrong stripped of Tour de France medals
Last Updated 10:22 a.m. ET
GENEVA American cyclist Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life by cycling's governing body Monday following a report from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that accused him of leading a massive doping program on his teams.
Cycling's governing body agreed Monday to stripping Armstrong of his Tour de France titles, following a report from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that accused him of leading a massive doping program on his teams.
UCI President Pat McQuaid announced that the federation accepted the USADA's report on Armstrong and would not appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The decision cleared the way for Tour de France organizers to officially remove Armstrong's name from the record books, erasing his consecutive victories from 1999-2005.
In Paris, Tour director Christian Prudhomme said at a news conference he no longer considers Armstrong the seven-time champion of the race. Prudhomme called UCI's decision "totally logical" and said "Lance Armstrong is no longer the winner of the Tour de France from 1999-2005."
Prudhomme has said the race would go along with whatever cycling's governing body decided, and will 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 program that sport has ever seen" within his U.S. 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.
Armstrong denies doping, saying he passed hundreds of drug tests. But he chose not to fight USADA in one of the agency's arbitration hearings, arguing the process was biased against him. Former Armstrong team director Johan Bruyneel is also facing doping charges, but he is challenging the USADA case in arbitration.
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On Sunday, Armstrong greeted about 4,300 cyclists at his Livestrong charity's fundraiser bike ride in Texas, telling the crowd he's faced a "very difficult" few weeks.
"I've been better, but I've also been worse," Armstrong, a cancer survivor, told the crowd.
While drug use allegations have followed the 41-year-old Armstrong throughout much of his career, the USADA report has badly damaged his reputation. Longtime sponsors Nike, Trek Bicycles and Anheuser-Busch have dropped him, as have other companies, and Armstrong also stepped down last week as chairman of Livestrong, the cancer awareness charity he founded 15 years ago after surviving testicular cancer which spread to his lungs and brain.
Armstrong's astonishing return from life-threatening illness to the summit of cycling offered an inspirational story that transcended the sport. However, his downfall has ended "one of the most sordid chapters in sports history," USADA said in its 200-page report published two weeks ago.
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