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. jvlata

    Lets see what this arrogant doper say now..

    October 22, 2012 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
    • wjeri


      October 22, 2012 at 7:33 am | Report abuse |
  2. ShingoEX

    Dear CNN: This is what is known as "bullying"

    October 22, 2012 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
    • sir

      well grow some balls numbnuts

      October 22, 2012 at 7:29 am | Report abuse |
    • david

      no! this is what you call responsible journalism.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cycliste

      I'm very disturbed that in modern American people who uncover the truth are called 'bullies' and 'haters'. How did it come to this?

      October 23, 2012 at 7:05 am | Report abuse |
  3. Fred

    Lance "everyone is lying except me" Armstrong.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
  4. Josh

    ""Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling," International Cycling Union President Pat McQuaid says."

    And from what we have learned, basically no cyclist that belongs to the International Cycling Union should be a member either. They are ALL just as guilty.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
    • jill

      Yes. The media hype will not outshine him. People who know him agree– he has done so much good. I'm sure this has become more about riding his shirttails and making media hype to get attention and publicity than it is an ethics issue. God bless Lance. Peace to all the haters.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Cycliste

      Tired of idiots defending Armstrong by calling his critics 'haters'. It's so childish. Why not just read the report before you comment? It's kind of pathetic to see people not able to accept that the guy who was their hero is not what he seemed. Yes, he might have done good work for cancer awareness but he also used that as a shield to bully journalists from pursuing enquiries into doping. One thing's for sure, he's an extraordinary personality.

      October 23, 2012 at 6:52 am | Report abuse |
  5. Hannibal

    Now it is time to return the money given to Livestrong to those who were deceived and want it back.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Lani

      I gave to LiveStrong and I don't want my money back – did I give because of what he accomplished? No, did it factor in, of course, but if ANY part of my donation went to help fund cancer research than they can keep it. I'm not going to punish those who weren't involved for someone else's stupidity.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Face

      The money given to Livestrong has nothing to do with the Tour de France. That money was given for cancer research, to help people who have or are fighting cancer. The accusations against Lance are just that, accusations. Nothing has been "proven". Those who have accused him are people who got caught cheating themselves, or people who couldn't beat him. If you have ever read any of his book, and understand what he went through to beat cancer, you would know he would never put a foreign substance into his body and risk that cancer coming back.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Sam I am

      Your money went into Lance's wallet. Livestrong does not support cancer research. It is a front that he used to protect himself.

      October 22, 2012 at 8:01 am | Report abuse |
    • shoos

      Oh, please, how much did YOU give! Please make sure when you get your money back that you amend your taxes to remove that deduction. Please fess up and admit you gave nothing.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  6. quizzical

    If a dozen of his teammates have admitted to doping, why haven't they been banned from cycling and stripped of their awards? George Hincapie?

    October 22, 2012 at 7:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Johan S

      how do you know they havent been?

      October 22, 2012 at 7:33 am | Report abuse |
    • sl

      Probably because they finally came clean and told the truth. Lance continues to lie, lie, lie. Like the above poster: Lance Armstrong: It's a conspiracy!! Dozens of people are lying and I'm the ONLY one telling the truth!!!"

      October 22, 2012 at 7:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Robert D.

      They have indeed been banned for varying lengths of time. Including Hincapie.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  7. Sasha

    WOW! Sad day.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:24 am | Report abuse |
  8. eddie53

    So now USADA is in charge of the International Cycling Union, so what is ICU going to say is USADA says we will check all the international Athletes before they can compete on Tour de France?

    October 22, 2012 at 7:24 am | Report abuse |
  9. Josh

    "... it will be up to the organizers of the Tour de France whether it will nominate alternate winners for the 1999-2005 tours."

    Oh, yea. Like there aren't any who are just as guilty. Its a deep down problem throughout this sport.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Lani

      They have already said they will have no official winner on record for those years.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:33 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jim Mac

    So lets give the trophy(s) to the next in line who did not get caught yet? Who knows how many did PED's?

    October 22, 2012 at 7:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Sinfully Yours

      All bikers use PEDs....PEDALS! 😉

      October 22, 2012 at 7:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Fast Ped

      In 1999 the 11th place guy is known to never have doped. So, that's where you end up if race on bread and water. I don't think the 100% of the peloton was racing and using PED's.

      October 22, 2012 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
  11. Cancer is Fungus kind of like politicians and bankers

    LOL it's about time the think tank of old people came to a decision.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
  12. LARA

    When will everyone be happy? This is such a bullying country. You all are haters and should be ashamed of yourselves. Keeping shining the walls on your glass house.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:27 am | Report abuse |
    • jill

      Right on!

      October 22, 2012 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
    • SarahK

      Lara, if you read the report you would know that the real bully in question is Lance Armstrong. What this country is more filled with than bullies are people who accept things at face value and buy into hype and image. I'm not happy about this whole issue; it's a sad, sordid tale, but at least there have been some appropriate consequences for someone who enriched himself and polished his image by bullying, threatening, suing and harassing anyone who dared to speak the truth.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Cycliste

      Well said, SarahK. There is a worrying trend for people to use the term 'hater' for anybody who cares about uncovering the truth.

      October 23, 2012 at 6:59 am | Report abuse |
  13. Lance Armstrong

    My Fellow Americans,
    I come before you tonight as a candidate for the 7 Tour de France wins and as a man whose honesty and integrity has been questioned.
    Now, the usual political thing to do when charges are made against you is to either ignore them or to deny them without giving details. I believe we have had enough of that in the United States, particularly with the present anti-doping regulations.
    To me, the victories of the Tour de Frances is a great honor, and I feel that the people have got to have confidence in the integrity of the men who ride for that race and who might achieve victory in them.
    I have a theory, too, that the best and only answer to a smear or an honest misunderstanding of the facts is to tell the truth. And that is why I am here tonight. I want to tell you my side of the case.
    I am sure that you have read the charges, and you have heard it, that I, Lance Armstron, took Performance Enhancing Drugs from a group of my supporters....

    October 22, 2012 at 7:27 am | Report abuse |
  14. Kate

    I hope that all of this does not kill the sport of cycling.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Sinfully Yours

      Cycling is like soccer... no one cares

      October 22, 2012 at 7:30 am | Report abuse |
  15. Alpha

    I still love the guy. Comes back from cancer, kicks ass in biking (yes he had a little help, but the fresh blood and EPO does not replace the hard work to get to that point and the dedication to keep that level) and starts a world class cancer fighting organization (what have you done lately?). Bad role model for young kids in breaking the rules, but one hell of a rider. How many people did he help fight the battle to get through cancer? How many lives has he saved? I bet if you or your kid had cancer and survived partly because of the resources of Livestrong you would not care how that happened....you are alive. For this he should be thanked.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:29 am | Report abuse |
    • allison

      The director of the Tour de France said today "there will be no declared winners in the years that Lance won the Tour de France." All have been disqualified. Not a single "no. 2 winner" to pass off the trophies to. And Lance is the bad guy? Whatever.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
    • ComSenseWiz

      Lance's efforts on the cancer front is noble. In other words, he is a noble, lying cheater. Nice legacy.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Cycliste

      Alpha, did you know that a number of cyclists died due to unsupervised EPO doping? I'd say that was definitely a bad role model for kids.

      October 23, 2012 at 7:03 am | Report abuse |
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