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.
There's no place in racing for any of them not just Lance Armstrong. The holier than thou response by McQuaid is assinine. The whole industry is a joke, none have merit, as is the case of the USADA, epic fail and poorly executed investigation. If you are going to ban Lance Armstrong, then ban the whole team and every one else caught doping in these races, if you don't then it's a witch hunt. Happy Halloween!
Only in this troubled nation can a man's accomplishments and name be destroyed by a corrupt judicial system now behaving like ana auction house. In this case, Lance couldn't afford to prove his innocence. That's not an HONORABLE judicial system... that's a criminal enterprise, and with this example, PROVES the broken judicial system is THE #1 THREAT to every American.
The solution: Demand lawyers are legally-prevented from holding legislative and executive branch offices. Remember, our third brnaches of government were designed as a "checks and balances" mechanism. If we continue to allow lawyers to hold ALL THREE branches hostage, our courts ... OUR courts... become the lawyers' weapons against us... where the enrich themselves to buy MORE elected offices.
BREAK THE CYCLE OF ABUSE. REFORM THE SYSTEM. IT IS ESSENTIAL. Lance... now stand with us... Americans victimized by crooked lawyers in THEIR criminal enterprise... make it your cause.
This has been a public service announcement.
i dont believe it and i dont care if he did. what u put in ur body means ur comittment. theyre just defaming armstrong
You can't take away history. If they were dumb enough to allow it to happen for 7 years – then -have to investigate for 7 more years- it should stand. Right or wrong- it happened. The sport is a joke anyway. It's even worse than College Football- another joke sport. How could anybody watch any sport when what you're watching might not even count in the future (i.e – Joe Paterno's wins).. If anything – the entire idiot sport of cycling should be taken away. Dumb Decision by dumb people running a dumb, useless sport.
Before 2000, cycling was like soccer, only popular in another country. The US dollars that poured into the sport was not because it's cool, but because the USA rallied behind Armstrong. I was always told "don't slap the hand that feeds you."
When this worthless sport runs out of money and can't figure out why, all they need to do is remember what Lance Armstrong meant to the sport. Love him or loath him, he brought the money and coverage. They are all a bunch of dummies.
Where were you when Greg Lemond won three Tour de France dope free? If you became a cycling fan only because of Lance Armstrong's fraudulent glitz and glamor, then you're not really a cycling fan, you're a glitz and glamor fan.
The US still has a great cycling champion who also came back from adversity in Greg Lemond. And this guy is honest, principled and a true role model for our children not just because of his cycling record but his actions outside of cycling. i.e. spokesman for ADHD, campaigner against doping.
So I guess Inspector Jauvert fina lly caught Jean Valjean and brought him to justice. And those complicit with Monsieur Valjean? What punishment have they...a few month suspension? I thought Jauvert was seeking Justice. Iff so, all should suffer accordingly. Even more so, what good has come of this? So Armstrong, like Valjean, committed a "crime" and used the proceeds to start and continue something no other athlete has ever done. Millions have been helped, but USADA, a.k.a. Inspector Jauvert, only seeks their version of Justice. If all are not punished equally, then Justice it is not. I pity those small persons who must play Jauvert to satisfy their small existence. Perhaps they should do as he and throw themselves into thriver.
To Bunch of Dummies: Actually in Europe cycling was huge and they had riders more popular then Armstrong ever was and as for money the sport had huge sponsors including Mercedes Benz, Seamins and other big companies in Europe. In The USA Armstrong was a legend and only in The US did he have coverage as the rest of the world knew he was cheat and nobody really cared.
TO CNN: I HAVE WATCHED THE TOUR DE FRANCE FOR MANY YEARS. THIS NEWS ABOUT LANCE ARMSTRONG IS EXTREMELY UPSETTING TO THOSE WHO HAVE ENJOYED WATCHING THIS SPORT, AS WELL AS OTHERS, ESPECIALLY FOR THE AMERICANS. IT SEEMS TO ME THAT EUROPE HAS FORGOTTEN LANCE'S STRUGGLE WITH CANCER AND TREATS THIS SUBJECT AS IF IT IS NOT IMPORTANT. MOST IMPORTANTLY, THERE ARE SO MANY CASES OF DRUG ENHANCEMENT REGARDING SPORTS, THAT YOU MAKING THESE DECISIONS MAY BE UNLEASHING A MOMENTUM THAT YOU MAY REGRET FOREVER WHEN THE REACTIONS AND RETALIATIONS TO THIS DECISION BEGIN TO UNFOLD. LASTLY, THE TOUR DE FRANCE WAS NOT MUCH OF A WATCHED SPORT FOR THE EUROPEANS AND THE WORLD UNTIL LANCE CAME ALONG AND PUT THE SPORT IN THE NEWS SO TO SPEAK. THE TOUR DE FRANCE WILL SUFFER ALONG WITH LANCE IS PROBABLY TRUE FOR THESE DECISIONS MADE DECRIBED ABOVE. ANOTHER LAST POINT, YOU WHO ARE MAKING THESE DECISIONS AGAINST LANCE ARE DOING SO FROM A PURITANICAL VIEW. THERE ARE TONS OF ILLEGAL DRUGS TRAFFICKED INTO EUROPE AND THE MIDDLE EAST, NAMELY COCAINE AND OPIUM, AS WELL AS HERION AND HASHISH ON A YEARLY BASIS. THIS WAS MY PH.D. REEARCH TOPIC AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI, FLORIDA DURING THE 90S. I WAS RESEARCHING TRAFFICKING ROUTES AND DEVELOPMENT ISSUES. AFTER READING THIS EXTREMELY UPSETTING NEWS, I CAN ONLY SAY THAT YOU MAKING THESE DECISIONS ARE EXTREMELY IGNORANT OF THE WORLD'S DRUG ADDICTION OR ARE PART OF IT. A FRIEND OF OURS WAS UNDERGOING TREATMENT FOR CANCER DURING THE TIME OF LANCE'S WINS OF THE TOUR DE FRANCE. LANCE'S CYLCLING MOTIVATED HER TO KEEP TRYING TO OVERCOME HER CONDITION, WHICH SHE FINALLY WAS SUCCESSFUL IN DOING. FOR YOU WHO ARE DOING THIS TO NOT THINK OF THE REPERCUSSONS OF SUCH A DECISION ONLY TELLS READERS HOW REALLY IGNORANT YOU ARE OF THE WORLD AND PEOPLE GENERALLY SPEAKING. LANCE IS STILL THE WINNER TO ALL OF HIS FANS AND YOU WHO ARE DOING THIS ARE THE LOSERS.
I agree with this statement 100%. There are tons of over the counter PHARMACEUTICAL DRUGS used by tons of Europeans and Americans for THE ENHANCING OF WHATEVER. The organization doing this portray an extreme lack of knowledge of drugs in and of themselves. Even President Bush was supportive of Lance's cycling and Tour de France participation. This Puritanical Decision-Making seems like a ghost from the 1950s "Games People Play" Generation that are thought by some to have brought about the HIPPY MOVEMENT with the added MUSIC COMPONENT. There will probably be reprocussions to this decision against Lance for sure. Lance has German anscestory and was so supportive of the Tour de France and Cycling in and of itself as a sport. This negative decision against Lance is a grave mistake.
Do not forget he is still a cheater
Katrine johnson you are so blinded or maybe too chauvinistic? anyway you are in denial... Lance's struggle with cancer doesn't allow him to do what he did....Also le tour de France was very popular before Armstrong, only USA watched more the tour until Armstrong came, USA is not Europe nor the world!... There is doping in sport but what did Armstrong and those who covered him is the biggest fraud ever and the way they cheated tests is unbelievable, only Armstrong with the help of his entourage could do that and don't forget this is because mem like him that clean athletes had to take drugs... Also don't talk about Europeen drugs, Armstrong use the most advanced drugs... What hapening with Armstrong is a great thing for sport...
Instead of pointing out the most successful rider in the cycling world to investigate the whole cycling world should have been investigated. It is widely known that all have participated in preformance inhancement at one time of the other. To only single out one is an injustice.
GOOD POINT, IT'S LIKE BODYBUILDING AND MMA AND MANY OTHER SPORTS. THEY ALL USE SOME TYPE OF PED SO THEY ARE ALL ON THE SAME PLAYING FIELD. THEY STILL HAVE TO TRAIN HARD. IT DOESN'T MAKE IT RIGHT BUT THEY SHOULD HAVE GONE AFTER AND PUBLICLY HUMILIATED OTHER CYCLISTS AS WELL. THE TOP RACERS ARE ALL MILLIONAIRES TOO. THEY SHOULD ALL LOSE ENDORSEMENTS AND PAY THE SAME PRICE.IF I WAS LANCE I WOULD COME CLEAN AND EXPOSE ALL THE REST OF THEM. WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE NOW.......IT'S ALWAYS ABOUT HE MONEY ANYWAY RIGHT.
Some American's seem to believe that their athletes should be allowed to keep their medals or wins even if they have been found to be cheating. Why should they be treated different from any other cheat from another country? Canada's Ben Johnson was stripped of his Gold for being found to be on steroids yet many years later ever runner in that 100 meter final admitted that they too were juiced including the Silver medal winner Linford Christie from England. Amazingly Carl Lewis was the only one who maintained he was clean. During The Drubin Inquire held in Toronto many athletes were exposed from all over the world as big steroid users during those Olympics including American athletes who admitted they helped to inject Carl Lewis and Florence Griffth Joyner yet both are still on the record books and have never been stripped. I think its time to go after all these cheats and wipe the slate clean!
Lance Armstrong is no different than Bernie Madoff.
I may be the only person left who believes in Lance Armstrong, but I do. Nobody has shown me physical evidence taken from him after each race/win that was positive for doping. Just b/c lots of other athletes SAY he did does not stand as proof. Lance came thru some real challenges and is an exceptional athlete. Nothing changes that.
If you read all 200 pages of the report, it all does make sense that he doped and everyone around him knew it.
He was involved in the sports since he was 17 year old or before. He is a person commited so much for this sport and helped elevate its status. I did not read the report, but I think they were harsh on him.
In Europe riders have been in the sport since they were a lot younger then 17. The sport was huge in Europe way before the name Lance Armstrong was ever heard! The sport is new to North Americans and Armstrong was the first successful rider to partake and put the sport on the map in NA (we later found out why he was so good)
At least he is not getting jail time, hence Marion Jones!
I couldn't agree more with Katherine Johnson's well stated comment.
LANCE, IF YOU OR ANYONE YOU KNOW WHO CAN PASS THIS ON TO YOU IS READING; DO NOT LET THIS DO TO YOU WHAT IT MOST CERTAINLY IS TRYING TO DO; DO NOT LIET IT STRIP YOU OF YOUR DIGNITY OR THE JOY OF YOUR MANY MANY WINS IN RACING. YOU ARE THE BEST CYCLING RACER IN THE WORLD AND HAVE DONE SO MUCH TO ENHANCE INTEREST IN THIS SPORT!!! ROCK ON.
Lance Armstrong didn't do anything wrong – it was a huge conspiracy to dishonor this great man, without a trail.
Osama Bin Laden didn't do anything wrong either – he was never tried and found guilty. Huge conspiracy.
Oh and also ... Richard Nixon was correct: "He was not a Crook". Huge conspiracy ....
Good try, but not even close.
Now if you said, Dr. Richard Kimble, I might have gone along with your argument. :)
Grey Cup, you are a witch hunter and you just better hope no one ever unfairly alleges something about you that would force you to undergo years of denials trying to prove your innocence.
You're all a bunch of morons. Lance Armstrong never had one test which came out with drugs in it. Can't you get that through your puny heads? If ONE single test out of the hundreds done had shown enhancement drugging that would be one thing, but this bizarre witch hunt is quite another.
People love to become mobs, because mobs are ugly beings with no conscience.
Let us all now take a moment to honor the Great Barry Bonds ... 762 career home runs.
Let's hear the applause from all the Lance Armstrong fans out there!
And now, let us honor the man with 9 (NINE!) Cy Young awards: Roger Clemens!
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