Lance Armstrong over the years
October 22nd, 2012
01:43 PM ET

Lance Armstrong stripped of Tour de France wins, banned for life

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.

soundoff (303 Responses)
  1. Rhino

    and the ban for doping in NFL.... 4 game suspension (one-fourth of a season). Where is all the outrage about cheating in football.

    the ban for doping in baseball.... 50 game suspension (about one-third of a season).

    the ban for doping in track and field (and cycling)... your name is erased as if you've never existed. To be outraged about cycling but not the slap of the wrist in other sports doesn't seem consistent.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:54 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. thatoneguy

    well without lance in the races anymore i have already canceled getting any biking channels no point in watching it anymore

    October 22, 2012 at 7:54 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Justice Seeker

    Still waiting to see evidence, that followed all legal codes of conduct for tracking and testing, not something done by a man set on vengeance. Not everyone is created equal, it is possible that Lance did all of this without doping. He had cancer and had to change his diet and work his tail off. Many of the people who did dope where drinking and not working out anywhere near as much as he did. Funny, the ones who cheated complain that they got beat by a guy work did the work.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:54 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • breal

      athletes that do doping do not go out drinking, they still work their tails off, just with less physical pains and strains. he beat others because he worked his tail off and got a non regulation boost. if this guy was french,italian.german. most people you first were probably be crucifing the athlete. HE CHEATED AND GOT STRIPPED AS THE CYCLING FEDERATION RULES ALLOW

      October 22, 2012 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
  4. Robbinwithabatman

    1 you can't test for doping years back!
    2 Its his team mates word against his!
    3 Its his own freaking blood
    4 The bigger you are, the more people want to see you fall.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:54 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • breal

      The USADA found "overwhelming" evidence that he was involved as a professional cyclist in "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program."

      October 22, 2012 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
  5. lincoln douglas

    if anybody follows cycling they will simply laugh at armstrong getting stripped of medals. who will win in his place? virtually every single fellow cyclist who shared the podium through the years has also been caught and punished for doping.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:54 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Liliana

    I understand that many other people were doping at the same time as Lance but since when does that free him from any obligations to follow the rules? Just because EVERYONE wasn't caught doesn't mean that he should not be held accountable for his actions. Everyday in the world, people are caught for breaking the laws and there are those that are not caught but that doesn't mean we don't hold people to a certain standard and of course the promise to follow the law/ rules.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:55 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Canowupass

    A waist of media air time, it's here to stay and the can't stop it. every athetic organization has them, keep looking and you'll find them. Tired of hearing this crap, If you were an athlete and had millions on the line....good morals bye bye...greed, it wins all the time if your the one that stands to loose.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:55 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. breal

    Lance Armstrong was and is great with his live strong organization he did cheat in the sport of cycling. it is a sad day today for any cycling fan (pro or con Armstrong). and for some ignorant people here cycling and soccer have beena round longer than many other team sports in no one cared they wouldn't be around for so long

    October 22, 2012 at 7:56 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Peg

    I hope the people of France and the bicycling community issue a warrant for his arrest. He needs some prison time for this.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:56 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Steve

    So when will Lance Armstrong start to send the message to all athletes, young and old, that using steroids can lead to testicular cancer? If he believes in his Livestrong cause, and wants to promote cancer prevention, shouldn't he be standing up now and using himself as an example to all – that using steroids is linked to cancer, especially testicular cancer. His story is ironic – much of his fame and fortune is tied to his battle and winning against cancer, yet it was his use of steroids that put him at highest risk for such cancer in the first place.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:56 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Floyd

    If someone can get a whole team to cheat, it doesn't say much about the "sport". And you could cheat while other members got caught? Really?

    October 22, 2012 at 7:56 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. John

    Father of 5, Full time cancer fighter, 0 time tour de france winner, full time cheater. Now it's time for you to pay back all your ill gotten gains mate.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:58 am | Report abuse | Reply
  13. frank

    So, I can understand how he may have had that opportunity to dope during the 1st or 2nd. But how with all of the scrutiny he was under during the 3rd, 4th, 5th , 6th and EVEN 7TH!!! race how did the ICU NOT catch him? Why isnt the ICU being investigated as ruthlessly as Lance? They had the equivilent of 210 chances to test and catch him in the act and FAILED. (7 times 30 day races = 210) That kind of epic failure either implies some sort of consent to Lance's doping activities or is glaring evidence to his innocence.

    October 22, 2012 at 8:02 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • brian

      Because they were being notified of the tests. The AFLD has admitted that.

      October 22, 2012 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      What I don't understand is there was no legal court order for this and never has he been found guilty or tested positive in the past. So my question is, how is chain of custody preserved and who validated that protocol was followed? Who's to say these old samples were not tampered, cause we did just see a lady go to jail for tampering with over 60,000 dna results right? Also, they did say they used new experiments that are not even approved by the government yet. This lynch hunt is so insane... Let's just go back and pull out some old tests of every famous athlete and then take back all their accomplishments. Seriously, don't just stop at one person... Test them all now that pandoras box is open smh!

      October 22, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
    • skicoach

      Yes, it's ridiculous that they are singling out Lance Armstrong when practically everyone in the sport was doping and there must have been support and complicity on many levels. If that isn't accepted and the blame spread fairly then I'd prefer to accept his claim of innocence. There should be a total amnesty. All of the old winners going back to the origins of the Tour admitted openly that they doped – but no sanctions were ever applied – so the current hysteria is totally hypocritical.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  14. Canowupass

    A waist of media air time, it's here to stay and the can't stop it. every athletic organization has them, keep looking and you'll find them. Tired of hearing this crap, If you were an athlete and had millions on the line....good morals bye bye...greed, it wins all the time if your the one that stands to loose.

    October 22, 2012 at 8:02 am | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Ryan

    Hmmm basing a decision off of claims made by people when the physical evidence says he is clean, ya because that makes perfect sense!

    October 22, 2012 at 8:04 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • DougMH

      Read the report Ryan. You'll see all the medical evidence you need to back up the witnesses.

      October 22, 2012 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
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