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Armstrong stripped of Tour de France wins

London, Oct 22 (Agencies)
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Published on 22 Oct. 2012 10:25 PM IST
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Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles by cycling's governing body.
The International Cycling Union (UCI) has accepted the findings of the United States Anti-Doping Agency's (Usada) investigation into Armstrong.

UCI president Pat McQuaid said: "Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling. He deserves to be forgotten."
McQuaid added Armstrong had been stripped of all results since 1 August, 1998 and banned for life for doping.

On what he called a "landmark day for cycling", the Irishman, who became president of UCI in 2005, said he would not be resigning.

"This is a crisis, the biggest crisis cycling has ever faced," he said. "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.
"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," McQuaid said.

"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."
Armstrong, 41, received a life ban from Usada for what the organisation called "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen".

The American, who overcame cancer to return to professional cycling, won the Tour de France in seven successive years from 1999 to 2005.

He has always denied doping but chose not to fight the charges filed against him. Usada released a 1,000-page report earlier this month which included sworn testimony from 26 people, including 15 riders with knowledge of the US Postal Service Team and the doping activities of its members.

Usada praised the "courage" shown by the riders in coming forward and breaking the sport's "code of silence". Armstrong, who retired in 2005 but returned in 2009 before retiring for good two years later, has not commented on the details of Usada's report. His lawyer Tim Herman, however, has described it as a "one-sided hatchet job".

McQuaid said he was "sickened" by what he read in the Usada report, singling out the testimony of Armstrong's former team-mate David Zabriskie.

"The story he told of how he was coerced and to some extent forced into doping is just mind-boggling," he said. "It is very difficult to accept and understand that that went on.

"But cycling has changed a lot since then. What was available to the UCI then was much more limited compared to what is available now. If we had then what we have now, this sort of thing would not have gone on."

McQuaid was quizzed over the $100,000 (£62,300) donation made by Armstrong to the UCI in 2002, one year after the American cyclist had had a suspicious test for EPO at the 2001 Tour of Switzerland.

Asked by BBC sports editor David Bond how he could justify the payment, McQuaid said: "We used the money against doping, it was done openly and put to good use." The management committee of the UCI will meet on Friday to discuss whether to reallocate Armstrong's Tour de France titles and prize money.

 
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