Armstrong stripped of Tour de France titles and banned for life as UCI ratify sanctions against disgraced rider
13:01 GMT, 22 October 2012
Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after
the sport's world governing body, the UCI, accepted the findings of the
United States Anti-Doping Agency's investigation.
Armstrong refused to co-operate with USADA, who earlier this month published
a 1,000-page report which concluded the Texan and his United States Postal
Service team ran 'the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping
programme that sport has ever seen'.
Shamed: Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his titles after the UCI endorsed the USADA sanctions
In accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code, the UCI had 21 days to
respond, until October 31, and president Pat McQuaid today announced the world
governing body would accept USADA's findings and ratified the sanctions imposed
It means the Texan has been stripped of all results since August 1, 1998 and
banned for life.
At a media conference in Geneva, McQuaid said: '(The UCI) will not appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and it will recognise the sanctions that USADA has imposed.
'The UCI will ban Lance Armstrong from cycling and the UCI will strip him of his seven Tour de France titles. Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling.'
Endorsement: UCI chief Pat McQuaid confirmed the governing body accepted the Lance Armstrong sanctions
Eleven former team-mates of Armstrong testified against him to USADA, receiving six-month bans.
These suspensions were also ratified by the UCI, which thanked the riders for giving evidence against Armstrong.
McQuaid added: 'The UCI will also recognise the sanctions imposed on the riders who testified against Lance Armstrong; UCI indeed thanks them for telling their stories.'
Banned: Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour titles by the USADA, but claims he was the victim of a 'witch hunt'
The UCI, particularly the leadership of McQuaid and honorary president Hein Verbruggen, who was president at the time of Armstrong's record run of Tour success, have met criticism over the USADA investigation.
Allegations have been made against the UCI, which McQuaid dismissed.
'UCI has nothing to hide in responding to the USADA report,' he said. 'The UCI has called a special meeting of the UCI management committee next Friday to discuss this report and the measures which the UCI wishes to put in place in order that we are never faced with such a situation in the future.'
Not so magnificent seven: Armstrong's wins have been erased from the Tour de France record books
While addressing the past, McQuaid was steadfast in his belief that cycling has a positive future.
He added: 'This is a landmark day for cycling. Cycling has endured a lot of pain as it has absorbed the impact of the USADA report.
'UCI promised to prioritise our analysis of the report and to provide an early response and we've done that.
'My message to cycling, to our riders, to our sponsors and to our fans today is: cycling has a future.
Support: Cyclists gathered to listen to Armstrong's address at the start of the annual Team Livestrong Challenge in Austin on Sunday
'This is not the first time that cycling has reached a crossroads or that it has had to begin anew and to engage in the painful process of confronting its past.
'It will do so again with renewed vigour and purpose and its stakeholders and fans can be assured that it will find a new path forward.
'We're here to answer your questions and to say to the cycling community: UCI is listening and is on your side.
'We've come too far in the fight against doping to return to our past.
'Cycling has a future and something like this must never happen again.'
Armstrong always protested his innocence, but he has lost support from some of his major sponsors since USADA's report was made public.
Nike, Trek and Anheuser-Busch, brewers of Budweiser, all severed their ties with Armstrong, while fashion brand Oakley are reviewing their position in the wake of the doping scandal which has transcended sport.
Armstrong has also stepped down from his position as chairman of his cancer charity, Livestrong.
He made his first public appearance on Friday at the 15th anniversary celebration of the charity. He said to the 1,700-strong gathering: 'I am truly humbled by your support.
'It's been an interesting couple of weeks. It's been a difficult couple of weeks for me and my family, my friends and this foundation.
'I say, “I've been better, but I've also been worse”.'