Tag Archives: lance

Lance Armstrong pulls out of Masters Swimming Championships in Texas

Armstrong forced into U-turn on competition return after FINA chiefs raise objections to drug cheat's participation at Masters Swimming Championships

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

06:53 GMT, 4 April 2013

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UPDATED:

05:10 GMT, 5 April 2013

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has decided against making a return to competitive sport as a swimmer this weekend.

Armstrong, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after being part of a doping scandal, had been entered for the Masters South Central Zone Swimming Championships which takes place at the University of Texas.

The event is hosted by the university's Longhorn Aquatics club, whose director Ann Nellis told Press Association Sport: 'Longhorn Aquatics and the Jamail Texas Swimming Center are hosting the US Masters South Central Zone Championships.

Water performance: Lance Armstrong will not now return to competitive sport this weekend as a swimmer

Water performance: Lance Armstrong will not now return to competitive sport this weekend as a swimmer

Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong

'Lance Armstrong, a member of the
West Hills Athletic Club, registered to participate in that event and
was accepted in accordance with US Masters Swimming policy.

'Today we were notified that Mr
Armstrong will not be competing, following a request from the
International Swimming Federation (FINA) to the US Masters Swimming
organisation that his entry not be accepted.'

Although he is banned for life from
all competitions that adhere to either the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA)
or World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) codes, it was thought the
low-profile US Masters Swimming event fell outside those restrictions.

However, world governing body FINA
today released a statement making clear that the event remains under its
jurisdiction and is therefore subject to the ban in place.

FINA said: 'Following reports on the
media referring the participation of Mr Lance Armstrong in the Masters
South Central Zone Swimming Championships in Texas (USA), FINA would
like to clarify that: 1. This national competition is under the
jurisdiction of the US Masters Swimming; 2. FINA Rule DC 15.1 states:
'Subject to the right to appeal provided in DC 13, the testing,
therapeutic use exemptions and hearing results or other final
adjudications of any signatory to the code which are consistent with the
code and are within the signatory's authority, shall be recognised and
respected by FINA and its member federations.(…)'.

'Therefore, FINA wrote a letter to
the US Masters Swimming (with copy to US Aquatic Sports and USA
Swimming) requesting not to accept the entry of Mr Lance Armstrong in
the above mentioned competition.'

Disgraced: Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour titles after coming clean about doping

Disgraced: Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour titles after coming clean about doping

Disgraced: Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour titles after coming clean about doping

Armstrong, who came clean on his
doping past in a television interview with Oprah Winfrey in January, was
due to contest the 1,650-yard freestyle tomorrow night, and was also
pencilled in for freestyle races over 500 and 1,000 yards.

Armstrong was billed to compete in
freestyle races over 500 yards, 1,000 yards and 1,650 yards at the event
held in his home city of Austin.

The
championships are open to all ages but most competitors are veteran
swimmers. Armstrong, aged 41, would have been racing against swimmers mostly
older than he is.

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Bradley Wiggins: Liar Lance Armstrong made me so glad I"m clean

Liar Lance made me so glad I'm clean, says Tour de France winner Wiggins

By
Richard Moore

PUBLISHED:

21:59 GMT, 24 January 2013

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UPDATED:

02:38 GMT, 25 January 2013

Sir Bradley Wiggins has revealed how
watching Lance Armstrong's drug confession left him feeling angry, sad
and emotional – but relieved that he will never have to tell his son his
father doped to win the Tour de France.

'I wasn't going to watch it,' said
Wiggins last night, speaking at the Team Sky training camp in Majorca.
'I was determined not to watch it. But then I got home and I watched it
with my seven-year-old son Ben.

'Those initial six questions, the yes-no answers, watching him suddenly cave in after all those years of lying so convincingly . . . there was a lot of anger, a lot of sadness. I was slightly emotional as well. It was difficult to watch. My wife couldn't watch it. She walked out the room.

All smiles: Sir Bradley Wiggins during the Team Sky Media Day in Alcudia, Majorca on Thursday

All smiles: Sir Bradley Wiggins during the Team Sky Media Day in Alcudia, Majorca on Thursday

All smiles: Sir Bradley Wiggins during the Team Sky Media Day in Alcudia, Majorca on Thursday

'It was heartbreaking in some respects for the sport, but then the anger kicks in,' Wiggins continued. 'You're thinking, “What a ****ing a******e”.

'Then I've got to explain to my son what it's all about, that he has won the same race his dad has won. But by the end of the hour and a half I had the best feeling in the world.'

It was a feeling of relief and smugness, said Wiggins, who last year became the first Briton to win the Tour de France.

Confession: Lance Armstrong admitted to doping during his interviews with Oprah Winfrey

Confession: Lance Armstrong admitted to doping during his interviews with Oprah Winfrey

He said: 'When Armstrong started welling up talking about his 13-year-old son asking him what it was all about . . . I never have to have that conversation with my own son. I can tell him his father's won the Tour de France clean and so there was an element of being quite smug.

'By the end, I thought, “You deserve everything you get”, and I felt no sympathy for him at all.

Meet the team: Wiggins with Josh Edmondson and Chris Froome in Mallorca

Meet the team: Wiggins with Josh Edmondson and Chris Froome in Mallorca

Training: Wiggins rides in Port Alcudia

Training: Wiggins rides in Port Alcudia

'I was a fan of Lance. I watched him
win the world championships in 1993 when I was 13, and when he came back
from cancer and won the Tour de France in 1999 I was 19, on the British
track programme, and that was so inspirational.

'And then I never really raced with him in his prime. I raced him at
the Tour when he came back in 2009 and I was fourth and he was third.'

Armstrong told Oprah Winfrey that he was clean in that comeback Tour,
though the US Anti-Doping Agency put the chances of him not doping that
year at 'one in a million'. Wiggins concurs. 'When he said he was upset
about USADA's claim that he doped in 2009 and 2010, I thought, you lying
b*****d,' he said.

'I can still remember going toe-to-toe with him, watching his body language and comparing the man I saw at the top of Verbier on stage 15 to the man I saw at the top of Mont Ventoux on stage 20 a week later, when we were in dope control together. It wasn't the same bike rider.

'I don't believe anything that comes out the guy's mouth any more.'

Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford added that Armstrong's confession had put cycling's credibility in the 'last chance saloon'.

He said: 'The sport must never go back to the place it was in the past. Fans must genuinely trust the results.'

Lance Armstrong "admits" to drug abuse to win Tour de France during Oprah Winfrey interview

Armstrong 'admits' to drug abuse to win Tour de France during Oprah Winfrey interview

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

00:42 GMT, 15 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

00:46 GMT, 15 January 2013

Lance Armstrong last night reportedly admitted using performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France.

The disgraced cyclist is said to have confessed in an interview with American TV chat show queen Oprah Winfrey which is scheduled to be broadcast on Thursday.

Armstrong earlier visited the staff of his charity at the Texas offices to apologise for putting their work at risk.

Banned: Disgraced cyclist Armstrong conducted his first interview since being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles with Oprah Winfrey

Banned: Disgraced cyclist Armstrong conducted his first interview since being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles with Oprah Winfrey

Banned: Disgraced cyclist Armstrong conducted his first interview since being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles with Oprah Winfrey

Several employees cried when he told them: ‘I’m sorry.’ He promised he would try to restore the foundation’s reputation – before meeting his legal team to prepare for the Oprah interview.

Armstrong reportedly spoke to a room
full of about 100 staff members for about 20 minutes, expressing regret
for everything the controversy has put them through.

He told them how much the foundation
means to him and that he considers the people who work there to be like
members of his family. None of the people in the room challenged
Armstrong over his long denials of doping.

After the interview, Winfrey tweeted: 'Just wrapped with @lancearmstrong More than 2 1/2 hours. He came READY!'

Winfrey and her crew planned on filming Monday's session at Armstrong's home. As a result, local and international news crews were camped near the cyclist's Spanish-style villa before dawn.

Armstrong still managed to slip away for a run despite the crowds outside his home. He returned by cutting through a neighbour's yard and hopping a fence.

UCI hope to set up doping hotline

UCI looking to set up confidential hotline for riders to blow whistle on doping

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UPDATED:

13:51 GMT, 14 November 2012

International Cycling Union president Pat McQuaid has revealed in an open letter to all riders that the sport's governing body are hoping to set up a confidential hotline to tackle doping.

Lance Armstrong was stripped of all seven of his Tour de France titles last month after the United States Anti-Doping Agency uncovered what they described as the most sophisticated doping programme the sport has ever seen.

With cycling's reputation once again at rock-bottom, McQuaid is urging riders to come forward if they have any suspicions about doping within the sport.

Disgraced: Lance Armstrong

Disgraced: Lance Armstrong

'At the end of the day, it is you the riders who have the ultimate say about whether our sport is clean,' McQuaid wrote.

'Naturally, we need to do more to ensure that the UCI is as accessible as possible, and in particular to you the riders, should you wish to discuss issues or concerns relating to doping,' he added.

'That is why, during the coming weeks… the UCI will be looking into establishing a new open line – a confidential hotline.'

Meanwhile, Team Sky have appointed Australian Shaun Stephens as performance coach for the 2013 season.

New recruit: Stephens joins Bradley Wiggins (right) and Shane Sutton (left) at Team Sky

New recruit: Stephens joins Bradley Wiggins (right) and Shane Sutton (left) at Team Sky

Stephens, 37, is regarded as one of the world's best triathlon coaches and recently worked as head coach to the Australian national team at London 2012.

He will leave his current roles as head coach and programme manager at the Australian Institute of Sport and Triathlon Australia to work alongside Team Sky's head of performance Tim Kerrison in a full-time capacity.

Stephens said: 'I'm very excited about the opportunity to work as part of the Team Sky programme.

'I have watched their outstanding performances with interest over the last three years and have been impressed by how they have assembled their team and introduced innovative performance strategies to cycling.'

Lance Armstrong doping scandal: UCI complicit, claims sponsor

Sponsor claims that UCI were complicit with Armstrong in covering up doping

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UPDATED:

23:13 GMT, 5 November 2012

Disgraced: Armstrong

Disgraced: Armstrong

Pressure continued to mount on the International Cycling Union (UCI) on Monday with one sponsor claiming the organisation was 'complicit' in sweeping the Lance Armstrong doping scandal under the carpet.

Jaimie Fuller, chairman of the Australian sportswear firm Skins that has ploughed around 10million US dollars into the UCI over the last five years, says the scandal has caused reputational damage to the sponsors.

The firm has served a legal notice on the UCI claiming 2million dollars (1.25m) in compensation.

Fuller said: 'This is a ground-breaking move and it's one of those situations that could become case law for the future.

'When a sport is in trouble you look to
the international federation to help it through. It's a pretty rare
situation where the international federation is actually complicit in
what was going on.'

Fuller also claimed that UCI president
Pat McQuaid and his predecessor and honorary president Hein Verbruggen
needed to accept responsibility for the failure to deal with Armstrong,
who was last month stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.

'These two gentleman have sat at the top of world cycling for 22 years and they need to be accountable for what they did and did not do,' said Fuller.

Meanwhile, British cyclist David Millar says the UCI need to make a full apology.

Millar told the Guardian:
'The UCI need to be very careful, because the momentum is rolling too
fast for them to control it. Just as with Lance Armstrong, we'll reach
another tipping point soon. I sense the same looming crash with the UCI –
unless they act decisively.

'I
don't think they realise what everyone needs is immediate action.
They're trying to go through the usual sports politics way of trying to
ride this out until people forget about it. These are career sports
politicians. But they cannot evade this any longer. They have to act
quickly or they're going to face a total revolt and they'll be out
anyway.

Under pressure: Millar demanded a full apology

Under pressure: Millar demanded a full apology

'Now there is a
public awakening and the UCI will be in real trouble unless they make a
full apology. There seems to be some unbreakable alliance between
McQuaid and Verbruggen. Pat needs to cut that cord and move forward. He
needs to wake up to the fact that some revolutions become unstoppable.'

McQuaid and Verbruggen did not respond to requests to comment on Fuller's claims when contacted.

The UCI later released a statement in which it stated steps it has taken since the Armstrong affair became public, including setting up an independent commission to examine the issues raised.

The statement read: 'The UCI can confirm that it has received a letter from the chairman of Skins International Trading AG.

'In the years that Skins have been a sponsor, since 2008, cycling has been a completely different sport from what it was during the period 1998-2005, when tests for EPO did not exist.

'Since the dark period of Lance Armstrong, cycling has been a pioneer in the fight against doping in sport under the leadership of the UCI and this role has been recognised by WADA. For example, it was the UCI that first introduced the urinary EPO test, the homologous blood transfusion test and the Athlete Biological Passport programme.

Fallout: Armstrong has been stripped of all seven of his Tour de France

Fallout: Armstrong has been stripped of all seven of his Tour de France

'As a result, today's riders are subject to the most innovative and effective anti-doping procedures and regulations in sport.

'Today, cycling has enjoyed a huge boost in visibility and popularity, as was apparent at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

'The UCI is determined to turn around this painful episode in the history of our sport. We will take whatever actions are deemed necessary by the independent commission and we will put cycling back on track.

'While we understand the concerns expressed by Skins, the UCI is determined to work hand in hand with all cycling's stakeholders towards the same goal, which is to safeguard the integrity and future wellbeing of the sport.

'The UCI has listened to the world's reaction to the Lance Armstrong affair and the USADA report and has taken decisive steps in response to the grave concerns raised, including setting up a fully independent commission.

'The UCI is determined that this independent commission will just be the start of the process and nothing will be off the agenda.'

Lance Armstrong reputation goes up in smoke (again!) … 30ft effigy of disgraced cyclist unveiled for Bonfire Night

Lance Armstrong's reputation goes up in smoke (again!) … 30ft effigy of disgraced cyclist unveiled for Bonfire Night

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UPDATED:

12:31 GMT, 31 October 2012

An effigy of Lance Armstrong will be burned by the famous Edenbridge Bonfire Society in Kent on Saturday, after being picked as this year's 'Celebrity Guy.'

Armstrong, the disgraced cyclist who has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for alleged doping, was chosen over a number of celebrities and politicians, including Jimmy Savile and George Osborne.

The 30ft effigy (pictured below), complete with a 'Jim Fixed It For Me' Jim'll Fix It medallion, has been produced by local artist and member of Edenbridge Bonfire Society Frank Shepherd.

Armstrong's selection completes a sporting hat-trick at Edenbridge. Last year Mario Balotelli was selected after it emerged he'd be setting off fireworks in his bathroom and the year before Wayne Rooney was burned after his explosive contract dispute with Manchester United.

Other previous effigies have included
Katie Price, Saddam Hussein and Tony Blair at the event, which takes
place in Edenbridge, 12 miles from Royal Tunbridge Wells.

Feeling the burn: Artist Frank Shepherd of the Edenbridge Bonfire Society puts the finishing touches to a giant effigy of American cyclist Lance Armstrong, which will be burnt on Saturday

Feeling the burn: Artist Frank Shepherd of the Edenbridge Bonfire Society puts the finishing touches to a giant effigy of American cyclist Lance Armstrong, which will be burnt on Saturday

Going down in flames: Shepherd included a Jim'll Fix It medallion in reference to the Jimmy Savillle scandal and a Nike swoosh. Nike until recently stuck by disgraced Armstrong

Going down in flames: Shepherd included a Jim'll Fix It medallion in reference to the Jimmy Savillle scandal and a Nike swoosh. Nike until recently stuck by disgraced Armstrong

Frank Shepherd puts the final touches to his creation of Lance Armstrong who has been unveiled as this year's Edenbridge Bonfire Society celebrity guy

Lance Armstrong in 2010

Dubious honour: The effigy Armstrong (left) and the real Lance on his bike in 2010 (right)

Bookmaker William Hill were taking bets on who this year's bonfire would be.

Hill spokesman Mark Young told International Business Times: 'Lance Armstrong is certainly the biggest villain in sport, with fans across the globe feeling cheated by a man who was thought to be whiter than white.'

Armstrong became embroiled in a cheating scandal after it was alleged he used performance enhancing drugs to win cycling races. He has since been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.

2011 Guy: Man City striker Mario Balotelli was 'honoured' for his use of fireworks in his bathroom

2011 Guy: Man City striker Mario Balotelli was 'honoured' for his use of fireworks in his bathroom

2010 Guy: Wayne Rooney was chosen after his contract dispute with Manchester United. Artist Frank Shepherd cheekily gave him Shrek's neck and ears due to Rooney likeness to film character

2009 'Guy': Or rather doll, Katie Price featuring the faces of former husband Peter Andre and current partner Alex Reid

2010 Guy and 2009 Doll: Wayne Rooney (left) was chosen after his contact dispute with Manchester United – he was also given the neck and ears of Shrek due to his perceived likeness to the film character. Katie Price (right) was selected in 2009 after splitting from husband Peter Andre

Price is right: Jordan featuring the faces of former husband Peter Andre and current partner Alex Reid in 2009

Price is right: Jordan featuring the faces of former husband Peter Andre and current partner Alex Reid in 2009

Jon Mitchell, from the Edenbridge Bonfire Society, said that there has been some celebrity interest in the event, which dates back to the 1930s.

He said that in 2006, flamboyant racing pundit John McCririck was picked as the Celebrity Guy, and has since become quite involved in the process.

'Over the past few years, John McCririck has come up with suggestions [for which celebrity to burn]. One year he suggested Cliff Richard.'

Last year's Celebrity Guy was Manchester City footballer Mario Balotelli because he had recently had an accident with fireworks at his home.

Mitchell admitted in 2011 they wanted to add 'a little Premier League balance' after burning Manchester United striker Rooney last year.

He added: 'Now we will probably have upset the whole of Manchester, not just the United fans.'

The society is a non-profit organisation and money raised from collections on the night is donated to 'local worthy causes'. In recent years, the event has generated almost 50,000 for charity.

Steven de Jongh leaves Team Sky after admitting doping during career

Team Sky chief De Jongh leaves after admitting he doped during cycling career

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UPDATED:

20:08 GMT, 29 October 2012

Steven de Jongh has left his role as a sporting director at Team Sky after admitting to taking performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career.

De Jongh is the third member of Team Sky staff to leave the Tour de France-winning team after the zero-tolerance approach to doping was restated in the wake of the Lance Armstrong affair.

Sean Yates announced his retirement from professional cycling on Sunday, leaving his role as senior sports director but refuting reports his departure was forced.

Suspicion: Dutch TVM rider Steven de Jongh being escorted away by police in 1998 to be questioned about doping

Suspicion: Dutch TVM rider Steven de Jongh being escorted away by police in 1998 to be questioned about doping

American Bobby Julich left the squad last week after revealing he took EPO in his racing career.

A Team Sky statement read: 'Steven de Jongh has left Team Sky following three seasons as sports director.

'After the team reaffirmed its position on anti-doping, Steven disclosed that he had taken a banned substance earlier in his career as a professional rider.'

Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford said: 'There's no doubt about Steven's work with us or his approach. He's been a highly-valued sports director and colleague over three seasons.

Gone: Bobby Julich

Gone: Bobby Julich

'Steven deserves our respect for the courage he's shown in being honest about the past and it's right that we do our best to support him.

'He has our best wishes for the next step in his career.'

Yates, Julich and De Jongh could yet be joined by others in leaving Team Sky.

Brailsford and sports psychiatrist Dr
Steve Peters are interviewing every team member in turn and asking them
to sign a document confirming they have had no involvement in doping.

Yates, one of five Britons to have
worn the Tour de France race leader's yellow jersey, and Team Sky
insisted his departure was for personal reasons and 'there were no
admissions or disclosures that would have required him to leave the
team'.

Both Yates, who was key in Wiggins
becoming the first British winner of the Tour, and Julich worked with
Armstrong during their careers.

Armstrong was banned for life and stripped of all results from August 1, 1998 to leave the 1999 to 2005 Tours without a winner, following an investigation by the United States Anti-doping Agency.

Michael Barry was a key witness in the USADA investigation, with which Armstrong declined to co-operate, and spent three years at Team Sky before recently retiring and admitting to doping.

Like Julich last week, De Jongh opted to tell his tale in an open letter, expressing remorse and his wish to continue in the sport.

In the letter, published on www.cyclingweekly.co.uk, he wrote: 'I've been shocked by the stories and rumours of organised doping programmes because I've simply never seen anything like that.

Unforced: Sean Yates (left) said he was not made to leave

Unforced: Sean Yates (left) said he was not made to leave

'My experience was very different. My doping was done by me, and nobody ever forced me. Of course, I always knew it was wrong and was scared of the risks I was taking. And I will always regret what I did.

'I took EPO on a few occasions from 1998 to 2000. It was very easy to get hold of and I knew it couldn't be detected.'

He added: 'With the steps we've been taking in cycling there is a better chance than ever to compete in a clean sport. I'm certainly committed to that and everybody I've worked with can assure you that's the case.

'I truly regret what I did. I hope very much to stay in this sport, and I'm sure I can play my part in its clean future.'

Andy Murray: Tennis must get tough on drugs

Murray: It's time tennis got tough on drugs… we must be tested more out of competition

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UPDATED:

22:57 GMT, 29 October 2012

Just along the Seine from where the Tour de France finishes, Andy Murray called for tennis to step up its efforts to ensure it does not suffer from the same drugs-related scourge that has blighted cycling.

The world No 3, preparing for his final fortnight of the season with this week’s BNP Paribas Paris Masters at Bercy, particularly wants to see an increase in the unannounced testing of players in their off-season.

In the country where the Lance Armstrong affair reverberates more than any other, Murray actually welcomed having a random blood test at his hotel last Saturday night, and would like more players to have those ‘surprises’ when they disappear for winter training blocks.

Nice trim, Andy! Murray, sporting a new haircut, spoke at Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy on Monday

Nice trim, Andy! Murray, sporting a new haircut, spoke at Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy on Monday

He joined a growing number of professionals who want to see more done in a sport which, while still involving a huge amount of skill, places an increasing premium on strength and endurance.

‘The out-of-competition stuff could probably get better,’ he said. ‘When we’re in December, when people are training and setting their bases, it would be good to do more around that time.’

Earlier in his career Murray was outspoken about the intrusion of testers arriving at his home at 6am to take samples, but admitted that the Lance Armstrong affair has changed his perspective.

‘On Saturday night it was completely random and that’s good because we’re not used to doing many blood tests.

‘I’ve probably had four or five blood tests this year, but a lot more urine, so it’s obviously completely necessary when you hear things like about Armstrong. It’s a shame for their sport but how they managed to get away with it was incredible, for so long.

‘The one thing I would say with a sport like cycling is it’s purely physical, there’s very little skill involved in the Tour de France. It is the power, how many watts you’re producing, whereas with tennis you can’t learn the skill by taking a drug.

Hard line: The Scot has urged tennis to get tough with drug cheats

Hard line: The Scot has urged tennis to get tough with drug cheats and called for more testing of players

‘I think tennis at the top level has been pretty clean compared to most sports. But that isn’t to say more can’t be done to make 100 per cent sure there are no issues.’

Even before Andre Agassi revealed in his autobiography that a positive test for crystal meth had been covered up by the sport’s authorities there was the suspicion that tennis has been less vigilant than it could be about rooting out any abuse.

For example, published records show that in 2010 Murray himself did not have a single out-of- competition test for either blood or urine from the International Tennis Federation.

The most recent high-profile case involved American Wayne Odesnik, who that same year was caught not by the sport’s testers but customs officials at Melbourne airport with vials of human growth hormone in his luggage.

His two-year ban was subsequently truncated to barely six months due to the player’s unspecified ‘co-operation’ with authorities on related matters, something that appalled Murray and many of his fellow professionals.

Favourites: Novak Djokovic (left) and Murray are at the BNP Paribas Masters

Favourites: Novak Djokovic (left) and Murray are at the top seeds at the BNP Paribas Masters this week

‘The thing that bugged me with it is that if we’re going through the testing process, which can at times be frustrating even if it is necessary, don’t just let them back into the sport 18 months earlier than when they should be,’ said the 25-year-old Scot.

‘We’re going through all of this and they’re being too lenient with guys travelling with human growth hormone to other countries, it’s ridiculous.’

Murray’s punishing off-season camp in Miami is not far off, but before then he has a frenetic fortnight in which to finish off what has been a breakthrough year, with his first two appearances in Europe since winning the US Open.

Next week he plays the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at London’s O2 Arena for the top eight-ranked performers of 2012 — two spots are still open with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Janko Tipsarevic the best placed to qualify.

Those will be decided at this last Masters event of the season, which Murray kicks off with a match against either Paul-Henri Mathieu or little-known Spaniard Roberto Bautista-Agut.

Roger Federer has withdrawn to rest before London, meaning that Murray and new world No 1-elect Novak Djokovic are top seeds.

Lance Armstrong ordered to pay back prize money won while doping

It's payback time, Lance! Armstrong told to return EVERY PENNY of prize money earned during doping years

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UPDATED:

15:50 GMT, 26 October 2012

Lance Armstrong has been told to pay back all the prize money he won while using performance-enhancing drugs.

The 1999 to 2005 Tours de France will be forever without a winner after Armstrong was stripped of the titles, the International Cycling Union confirmed.

The UCI on Monday ratified the decision taken by the United States Anti-Doping investigation to ban Armstrong for life and strip him of all results since August 1998, including his seven successive Tour wins.

Exposed: The USADA lifted the lid on Lance Armstrong's drug cheating

Exposed: The USADA lifted the lid on Lance Armstrong's drug cheating

At a special meeting of the UCI's
management committee, it was ruled results following any future
disqualifications relating to the Armstrong years, 1998 to 2005, would
not be reallocated.

A UCI
statement read: 'With respect to Lance Armstrong and the implications of
the USADA sanctions which it endorsed on Monday, October 22, the
management committee decided not to award victories to any other rider
or upgrade other placings in any of the affected events.

'The
committee decided to apply this ruling from now on to any competitive
sporting results disqualified due to doping for the period from 1998 to
2005, without prejudice to the statute of limitation. The committee also
called on Armstrong and all other affected riders to return the prize
money they had received.

The Armstrong allegations

2010
May – Armstrong's former US Postal team-mate Floyd Landis launches allegations against the Texan.

2011
May – Forced to deny claims made by former team-mate Tyler Hamilton that they took performance-enhancing drugs together.

2012
February – An investigation into alleged doping by Armstrong is dropped by federal prosecutors in California.

June – United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) confirm they will file formal doping charges against Armstrong.

July – Armstrong files lawsuit against USADA accusing them of 'corrupt inducements' to other cyclists to testify against him.

August 20 – Armstrong's legal action dismissed in court.

August 24 – Armstrong announces he will not fight doping charges filed against him but insists he is innocent. He is stripped of all his titles and banned from cycling for life by USADA.

October 10 – USADA claim 11 of Armstrong's former team-mates have testified against him.

October 22 – Cycling's world governing body, the UCI confirms it has ratified USADA's decision to ban Armstrong from cycling for life and to strip him of his seven Tour de France titles for doping offences.

October 26 – The UCI confirms Armstrong's Tour titles will not be awarded to other riders, and calls on 'all affected riders' to return prize money earned while doping.

'The UCI management committee acknowledged that a cloud of suspicion would remain hanging over this dark period – but that while this might appear harsh for those who rode clean, they would understand there was little honour to be gained in reallocating places.'

The UCI has come under intense criticism and scrutiny before and since the publication of USADA's 1000-page reasoned decision document, which concluded Armstrong and his United States Postal Service team ran 'the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen'.

Three-time Tour winner Greg LeMond is among those to call for a change of leadership, but president Pat McQuaid and his predecessor Hein Verbruggen, now honorary president, have stood firm.

Allegations were levelled at the UCI for accepting donations from Armstrong, and, although any wrongdoing is denied, the management committee will commission an independent investigation.

The UCI statement added: 'In order to ensure that UCI and cycling could move forward with the confidence of all parties, the governing body also decided to establish a fully independent external commission to look into the various allegations made about UCI relating to the Armstrong affair.

'The committee agreed that part of the independent commission's remit would be to find ways to ensure that persons caught for doping were no longer able to take part in the sport, including as part of an entourage.'

Moves will begin next month, with recommendations to be published no later than June 1, 2013.

Erased from the history books: Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour de France wins between 1999 and 2005 by cycling's governing body

Erased from the history books: Armstrong has been stripped of his seven
Tour de France wins between 1999 and 2005 by cycling's world governing body

'UCI is determined to turn around this painful episode in the history of our sport,' McQuaid said. 'We will take whatever actions are deemed necessary by the independent commission and we will put cycling back on track.

'Today, cycling is a completely different sport from what it was in the period 1998-2005.

'Riders are now subject to the most innovative and effective anti-doping procedures and regulations in sport.

'Nevertheless, we have listened to the world's reaction to the Lance Armstrong affair and have taken these additional decisive steps in response to the grave concerns raised.'

Pending the results of the independent report, defamation proceedings against Paul Kimmage, a former cyclist and Sunday Times journalist, have been suspended, the UCI confirmed.

The UCI statement added: 'While continuing strongly to maintain the merits of UCI's case, the committee decided to seek to suspend the UCI legal action against journalist Paul Kimmage, pending the findings of the independent commission.

'UCI president Pat McQuaid and honorary president Hein Verbruggen who are individual parties to the case will similarly seek to put their cases on hold.'

The Armstrong affair has ripped a hole through the heart of the sport.
At this week's route presentation for next summer's 100th Tour, the 41-year-old Texan's sequence of seven straight wins were marked using asterisks.

Tour director Christian Prudhomme believed no one should replace Armstrong as winner, as few racing in the era are untainted by doping, particularly the use of blood-booster EPO. He now has his wish.

Armstrong declined the opportunity to cooperate with USADA, but following Monday's ruling removed the reference to his seven Tour wins from his Twitter profile.

Tour de France 2013: Bradley Wiggins left with a mountain to climb

Wiggins left with a mountain to climb with Tour to unveil high-altitude route for centenary

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 23 October 2012

With the credibility of cycling now in tatters, this year’s Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins could be forgiven if he decides not to defend the yellow jersey.

And when the mountainous route of next year’s race is unveiled in Paris, he may not want to anyway.

Wiggins won the 2012 race over a terrain that suited his time-trialling pre-eminence and limited his exposure to the high-altitude finishes that trouble him.

For next year’s 100th Tour, the organisers have devised a course which offers little respite from mountains.

Tall order: The 2013 Tour does not suit Bradley Wiggins

Tall order: The 2013 Tour does not suit Bradley Wiggins

The legendary peaks of Mont Ventoux and Alpe d’Huez will feature in a handful of summit finishes which mark the 2013 Tour as a race for climbers like Alberto Contador, Andy Schleck and Wiggins’s Sky team-mate Chris Froome.

Alpe d’Huez will be climbed twice on the same stage while the final stage on the Champs-Elysees in Paris will be held at night under floodlights.

While two individual time trials will entice Wiggins to compete, one of them will be over the hilly terrain of the Alpes-Maritimes, meaning that he may give serious thought to the advice of Shane Sutton, his mentor at Team Sky, to skip the Tour next year and concentrate instead on the Giro d’Italia in May and the Vuelta a Espana in September.

The unveiling of the route is supposed to be a celebration of the centenary Tour. Instead, Wiggins and race director Christian Prudhomme will be besieged by questions about Lance Armstrong, doping, cheating and cycling’s credibility.

Unwanted attention: Lance Armstrong's shadow looms large over the Tour

Unwanted attention: Lance Armstrong's shadow looms large over the Tour

The Tour is now a race without a recent past after Armstrong was stripped on Monday of his seven Tour triumphs beginning in 1999.

Add in the retrospective expunging of the names of Floyd Landis in 2006 and Contador in 2010 and the inevitable tarnishing of Contador’s wins in 2007 and 2009, and only Wiggins, Carlos Sastre in 2008 and Cadel Evans in 2011 can be considered clean winners in the past 14 Tours.

Even Armstrong is no longer publicly declaring himself a seven-time Tour champion after changing his Twitter profile to reflect being stripped of his Tour success by the International Cycling Union (UCI).

On Monday, Armstrong’s profile read: ‘Father of 5 amazing kids, 7-time Tour de France winner, full time cancer fighter, part time triathlete.’

/10/23/article-0-15A12BF0000005DC-272_468x312.jpg” width=”468″ height=”312″ alt=”Calls to resign: Pat McQuaid is under pressure” class=”blkBorder” />

Calls to resign: Pat McQuaid is under pressure

‘UCI clearly have to take the blinkers off, look at the past, examine people who are there, ask themselves the questions, “Are those same people still in the sport and can they proceed forward with those people remaining”’

Tyler Hamilton, a former US Postal team-mate of Armstrong retrospectively stripped of his 2004 Olympic time trial gold medal for doping, said: ‘Pat McQuaid’s comments expose the hypocrisy of his leadership. He has no place in cycling.’