Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.
“Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling,” International Cycling Union President Pat McQuaid said. This is not the first time cycling has reached a crossroads and has had to begin anew. … It will do so again with vigor,” McQuaid said.
He’d already been slapped with a lifetime ban from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which recommended the International Cycling Union strip him of his titles. By taking away the Tour titles, Armstrong’s name has been erased from the record books altogether, reports CNN.
The USADA said earlier this month it has “overwhelming” evidence that he was involved in the “most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program,” and stripped him of all his results dating back to 1998, erasing 14 years of his career.
And to add insult to injury, the International Olympic Committee is reviewing the findings and may revoke Armstrong’s bronze medal from the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Now that Armstrong’s Tour De France wins are set aside, Greg LeMond, who won the 1986, 1989 and 1990 tours, is the only American to have won the event. If the ICU agrees with the U.S. agency’s recommendations, it may nominate alternate winners for the 1999-2005 tours.
Despite the evidence, Armstrong still denies the allegations. He says he’s taken 500 drug test and never failed. The USADA said it tested Armstrong fewer than 60 times. The ICU tested him about 215 times, so the USADA says the biking legend was tested “considerably fewer” times than what Armstrong claims.
Armstrong hasn’t just lost his career achievements, but the blow to his reputation may even be harder to deal with. He stepped down as chairman of the namesake Lance Armstrong Foundation, formed to encourage people with cancer to “Livestrong” after Armstrong survived bouts with testicular cancer, and many of the foundation’s donors want their money back.