Cycling: Lance Armstrong was definitively cast out of cycling forever today by the sport’s world governing body the UCI, which confirmed that he would be stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for doping.
At a press conference in Geneva UCI president Pat McQuaid said that his organisation had accepted the findings of the the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s (Usada) investigation, which revealed the US cyclist to be involved in and at the forefront of “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen.”
In ratifying those findings the UCI has also banned Armstrong from the sport for life, as well as wiping all of his results from August 1 1998.
The landmark decision marks an ignominious end for a man until recently viewed as one of the greatest sportsmen of all time.
McQuaid, whose organisation has also come in for criticism over their handling of the saga, said that the sport can now start to move on — and stated that such a process begins with Armstrong being erased from the sport’s history.
“Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling. He deserves to be forgotten,” McQuaid said.
He added: “This is a crisis, the biggest crisis cycling has ever faced. I like to look at this crisis as an opportunity for our sport and everyone involved in it to realise it is in danger and to work together to go forward.
“Cycling has a future. This is not the first time cycling has reached a crossroads or that it has had to begin anew.”
He added: “When I took over (as president) in 2005 I made the fight against doping my priority. I acknowledged cycling had a culture of doping. Cycling has come a long way. I have no intention of resigning as president of the UCI.
“I’m sorry that we couldn’t catch every damn one of them red-handed and throw them out of the sport at the time.”
Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme described the UCI’s decision as “totally logical” and said that he did not wish to see Armstrong’s results reallocated.
“We hope that there is no winner in these editions,” he said. “A formal decision must be taken by the UCI but for us, very clearly, there must be a blank record.”
McQuaid insisted that the UCI had done nothing wrong in accepting a $100,000 (£62,000) donation from Armstrong in 2002.
“UCI has nothing to hide in responding to the USADA report,” McQuaid said.
Texan-born Armstrong famously overcame cancer to win seven Tour de France titles between 1999 and 2005.
Armstrong had always maintained his innocence, but decided not to contest the charges filed against him.
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