Editor's note: Lance Armstrong has been stripped of the seven cycling titles that made him a legend. The decision follows this month's finding by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that there is "overwhelming" evidence that Armstrong was involved as a professional cyclist in "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program."
[Updated as 1:43 p.m. ET] An insurance company that covers the performance bonus for Lance Armstrong says it wants all of the money paid to the cyclist returned.
SCA Promotions said it "is considering all legal options to pursue a return of the funds paid."
"Mr. Armstrong is no longer the official winner of any Tour de France races and, as a result, it is inappropriate and improper for him to retain any bonus payments made by SCA."
The BBC has estimated the total amount is $7.5 million.
[Updated as 8:44 a.m. ET] Another day, another sponsor breaking from Lance Armstrong.
The fallout from the cyclist's doping accusations has forced another sponsor to jump ship. This time, it is Oakley. Last week Armstrong stepped down as chairman of the cancer charity Livestrong. Then he was stripped of his sponsorships with Nike and Anheuser-Busch.
"When Lance joined our family many years ago, he was a symbol of possibility," the company said in a statement. "We are deeply saddened by the outcome, but look forward with hope to athletes and teams of the future who will rekindle that inspiration by racing clean, fair and honest. We believe the Livestrong Foundation has been a positive force in the lives of many affected by cancer and, at this time, Oakley will continue to support its noble goals."
[Updated at 7:54 a.m. ET] We've gotten a copy of the press release from the cycling body that explains its decision on Lance Armstrong as well as its reaction to the doping report.
The International Cycling Union said after reading the doping report it was clear that all members of the U.S. Postal Service team, which Armstrong was a part of, showed "no inclination to share the full extent of what they knew until they were subpoenaed or called by federal investigators and that their only reason for telling the truth is because the law required them to do so."
The group goes on to say that these investigations have forced riders to confront the truth about their stories.
"Their accounts of their past provide a shocking insight into the USPS Team where the expression to 'win at all costs' was redefined in terms of deceit, intimidation, coercion and evasion," the statement says. " Their testimony confirms that the anti-doping infrastructure that existed at that time was, by itself, insufficient and inadequate to detect the practices taking place within the team."
Read more of the group's statement here (PDF)
"Today's young riders do not deserve to be branded or tarnished by the past or to pay the price for the Armstrong era," the press release continues.
[Updated at 7:41 a.m. ET] So will the big blow to Armstrong wake up the rest of the cycling community with regard to doping? Can we expect to see a massive change and a doping-free sport?
International Cycling Union President Pat McQuaid isn't quite ready to go that far.
"I don't think in any aspect of society there are no cheats," he said. "I do believe that doping can be hugely reduced."
The keys are education programs and how teams are structured, he said.
[Updated at 7:41 a.m. ET] "Lance Armstrong deserves to be forgotten from cycling," McQuaid said.
For a man who has been at the top of the mountain in this sport, this is quite a long and brutal fall.
What do you think? Vote in the poll below if you think the cycling body made the right decision and tell us what you think in the comments below.
[Updated at 7:37 a.m. ET] A bit of explanation here. The cycling agency has said it will not appeal any decisions to the Court of Arbitration regarding the dossier on doping. Instead the group moved directly and stripped Armstrong of his titles.
That means this is all said and done. His titles are gone forever.
[Updated at 7:30 a.m. ET] There's only one word that describes how International Cycling Union President Pat McQuaid felt after reading the doping report on Armstrong: "Sickened."
Despite the Armstrong blow being a major blight on the sport of cycling, McQuaid emphasized that "cycling has a future."
[Updated at 7:26 a.m. ET] "Huge." "Inevitable." "Shocking." "Sad." "Depressing."
Those are the first words being used to describe the reaction to Lance Armstrong being stripped of his titles on Twitter.
[Updated at 7:11 a.m. ET] The damage to Lance Armstrong's reputation is massive.
First he stepped down as chairman of the cancer charity Livestrong. Then he was stripped of his sponsorships with Nike and Anheuser-Busch.
Now the former seven-time Tour de France winner has been banned from the sport for life. Fourteen years of his career are officially wiped from the record books.
[Updated at 7:08 a.m. ET] The news is the ultimate blow for the cyclist.
"Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling," International Cycling Union President Pat McQuaid says.
Will anything change after disgrace?
[Updated at 7:05 a.m. ET] The International Cycling Union has stripped Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles because of the conclusion he used performance-enhancing drugs.
Highlights of the Armstrong report
"This is not the first time cycling has reached a crossroads and has had to begin anew. ... It will do so again with vigor," International Cycling Union President Pat McQuaid says.
[Posted at 6:56 a.m. ET] The International Cycling Union, the sport's governing body, is set to rule on the agency's recommendation that Armstrong be stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.
His reputation already in tatters after a lifetime ban by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, Armstrong finds out Monday whether he will be scrubbed from the record books for the seven feats that made him a cycling legend.
The USADA found "overwhelming" evidence that he was involved as a professional cyclist in "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program."
The agency then announced it would ban Armstrong from the sport for life and strip him of his results dating from 1998. The decision wiped out 14 years of his career.
Should the International Cycling Union concur with the USADA's recommendation, it will be up to the organizers of the Tour de France whether it will nominate alternate winners for the 1999-2005 tours. The Amaury Sport Organisation, which runs the 21-day event, has said it will decide after the ruling.
When we, the mortals "cheat" at our jobs, we generaly go to prison. Get caught falsifying sales numbers – Fraud....lie to customers – Fraud. He should count himelf lucky and hope that more sponsors dont come asking for their money back.
I'm surprised his sponsors didn't have a "morals clause" to require just such a thing. Nonetheless, I imagine that the Société du Tour de France will be demanding their money back, tout de suite.
Lie to customers? ...That's what successful people and companys do. "Best deal in town" "Lowest Prices" "It's a steal" etc...
II've mentioned this to you all 8 years ago saying he was a "DOPER" ........... as ALWAYS, my justification is correct. What are all you disagreeing slapjacks have to say now? ......... Thank You
We all know who won here in Texas. Lance is still a BA. I have seen no blood test proof
That is because there are none. Except for the one case of the saddle sore cream, which was determined to be a legitimate medical use, he has passed every test – some people report 500 and 600 and other thousands. The simple fact is there is not credible evidence and the people making the accusations were caught be the same tests and procedures. No one can be extraordinary in today's political climate.
Man up Lance, admit you did it, come clean and may be, just may be we can point to you in the future and tell our kids that you did the right thing. Although it is probably too late for even that......
Mr Armstrong has consistently been cleared of cheating for more than a decade and he has consistently claimed he did not cheat. So why would he admit to something he has stated for more than a decade that he did not do? And now this organization (the USADA) makes deals with know cheaters to destroy Mr Armstrong. Don't you think with all of the accusations over more than a decade he would have been caught if he was actually cheating? He has been under the microscope for more than a decade.
He tested negative on every test. The people that cheated are the ones accusing him because he won.
Who would be the worst position to be in:
As a fellow Texan, I hereby revoke your self-deluded, imagined right to speak for me.
I am from the Caribbean, one thing I have to say about the whole situation with Armstrong, I tip my hat off for this man seeing that he has cancer and ride bicyle for all those years, and I am sure he is taking medication. Well I am ashamed because if it was one of their own they would not have gone that far or do anything about it. One thing I have to say to Lance be strong God is in control. He has bless you with a gift even do they banned you for life, God has not banned you and he will never. Keep you head up and continue. My prayers are with you.
There are no true sports anymore, it's all about the money and fame. Teach your children well my fellow humans.
Why all the hatred against Lance? People are just hate-filled. What he did was wrong, but people are stupidly acting as if he killed someone. There is a difference in difference between being angry at a cheat v. being angry at a murderer.
People are mad, screaming and ranting because they believed he cheated even though he has consistently claimed he didn't and he is standing by what he has said for more than a decade. They refuse to believe that a man who has consistently been cleared for years of cheating is not guilty because the known cheaters claim Mr Armstrong cheated – even though the tests that caught them did not catch Mr Armstrong. They would rather believe he cheated instead of believe he was a great athlete. This is unfortunately what the extraordinary athletes are going to have to face now. Even when passing all of the tests no one will believe they did not cheat. This is the nature of the political climate of today – no one can be extraordinary unless they cheated.
Because Mr Armstrong would not admit to something he has consistently said he did not do he is now being punished – even though every investigation at the time showed him to not have cheated. Sometimes you get a great athlete who is great and any athlete now will have to ask themselves if it is worth the risk to their reputation. I wonder when the current crop of Olympic champions are going to be accused of cheating in the same manner and lose their medals?
The USADA made deals with known cheaters to bring Mr Armstrong down in order to make a name for themselves. This whole process was rigged from the beginning and was a classic Kangaroo Court. That why Mr Armstrong did not participate. The only outcome the USADA was interested in was a "I did it".
And yes I know about the saddle sore cream – he was shown to have used it legitimately.
Banning him for life is the same as banning me for life. Neither one of us was going to race anyway.
My gut tells me this is wrong, wrong, wrong! no proof, no justification! just judgement... idiotic ;/
This is so sad. I don't understand how people can be so bright and do such great things only to throw them away on things such as silly and immaterial as drugs. Not to mention, Lance Armstrong was a major role model for many people and set a horrible example in life of what to do. However, I am glad to know that people are learning from his mistakes and trying their best to better themselves and set better examples to others.
He is still a champion, money, revenue records winning. High School Football, to get to College to the NFL, on the gear, since the 2000 people use steroids to go to nightclubs. It is a much wider culture than one man. The fact is the best of world, in that sport and many other are on the gear, so he is still the best because professional sport, and everyone want the money to be a pro. That is the reality of professional sport. He is not a bad human being, he is guilty of being a professional. Every time someone gets busted nothing changes. And it won't change with Lance.
Pro sport taints all sports because everyone wants to be a pro. Done it all HGH, Insulin HGH-1, Jurox animals, human steroids, EPO, blood doping. Whatever it takes to get that golden ticket, to do what you like and get paid for it.
Don't forget we all had the same source, same people that win gold medals for country. Same reason the DEA sting on Jurox. It is a small world.
Couldn't be happier to see Lance been dragged down a peg or two. He has been lying for years, using his charities as a front to evade criticism and isn't man enough to admit he is wrong. He should be ordered to pay back all winnings and sponsorships and face prison time for lying under oath. He is a liar, disgrace and has brought shame to his family, cycling and himself.
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