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. amanda

    They never found anything in his blood or urine. It is a sad thing indeed when someone is attacked for being too good. I hope these committees realize they just look like jealous children going after a mans legacy.

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

      You're probably the kind of mom who defends her bullying, lying, bratty kid despite all of the evidence to the contrary. You're what's wrong with America.

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

      His tests were positive for EPO and also indicated autologous blood transfusioins.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
  2. Mike

    Silly. Nobody wins in cycling. Every time someone wins there is an inquiry as to "how could they have won"?

    He passed the tests during his career. Enough said.

    Cycling is dead because if this governing body. And cycling would never be close to what it has become without Armstrong.

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

      Wow, you should step back into reality. He is a cyclist, has not made that much of an impact on the nation... well maybe France since they are losers.

      The moron cheated. Period. I used to look up to him, being a cyclist myself. But he CHEATED.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
    • decora

      the testing regime was worthless and corrupt. he also did not pass every test. he had a positive test for cortisone, his urine from 1999 has tested positive for EPO, and Hamilton has said that other positive tests have been covered up... apparently by the same UCI people that now claim they are 'cleaning up cycling'.

      the UCI also accepted huge donations of money from the people it was testing (like armstrong). Do you get to 'donate' 25,000 to the company that does drug tests for your workplace? i dont think so.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jim

    So Greg LeMond is the greatest American cyclist ever yet again?

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

      Who? You should go on Jeopardy. Nobody memorizes cyclists. You'll be a champion.

      October 22, 2012 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
  4. James

    Manny used hgh, should we forfeit the pennant?

    October 22, 2012 at 7:29 am | Report abuse |
  5. AlienShark

    "They hail you, they nail you, no matter who you are." – Lauryn Hill

    October 22, 2012 at 7:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Jesus

      Tell me about it.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Corey

      So in other words, when people do good things, they're rewarded. When they do bad things, they're punished, like Lance lying & cheating, like Lauryn pleading guilty to tax evasion, etc.

      Sounds like a good system to me. What part of a moral code are you having trouble comprehending?

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

      The guy cheated. Big time. Then lied about it profusely.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
    • mm

      Truer words never spoken.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:47 am | Report abuse |
  6. infonomics

    First Joe Pa, then Lance Armstrong. What's next, Honey Boo Boo? OMG, never I hope.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
  7. SDG

    This is a disgrace. Armstrong, his legacy, and his 500+ passed drug tests should have stood for all eternity.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Jesus

      I guess he should have skipped that 501st test. Funny, how #501 will always get you in the back everytime.

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

      Yes, bad is the 501st. Kill many friends it has. hmmMMM.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
    • cr

      You will note that Christian vande velde, George hincapie, Jonathan vaughters and others never had a positive test either. There are indications that they were all given a heads up about testing.

      October 22, 2012 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
  8. Steve

    Wait until they find out Phelps was also......

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

      Nah, Phelps admitted to smoking pot, so its all good with him.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
  9. all

    I still don't get this. He always volunteered to get tested and they never found anything. Now years later they find something and call it sophisticated doping? What's so sophisticated about it?

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

    It isn't just that he doped. It's the way he viciously bullied, slandered, and threatened anyone over the years who tried to speak up. He owes those people an apology, but I'm sure they'll never get it. He actually sued and won libel cases over the years against the press that (rightly) reported that he was doping. Hope he has to pay back the prize money, at least. For anyone who doubts that he was cheating, there is no longer any doubt. Even he isn't denying it anymore, and the ex-wife basically owned up to it on her blog, though she didn't apologize for all their lies all those years.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
  11. decora

    sorry but as bad as Lance is, Pat McQuaid also has no place in cycling – he and Verbruggen at UCI have allowed the doping culture to flourish for years and did literally nothing about it for years. They are still suing people who claim the UCI is corrupt and even the same journalists who helped uncover Armstrong's lies – the UCI is still suing them for defamation.

    For them to act all sanctimonious now is ridiculous and McQuaid's language is unprofessional.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
  12. David

    The most dope tested cyclist ever! So why did others test positive (who were supposedly doing the same thing) and he didn't? Heresay evidence from jealous riders and former team-mates who want a bit of glory!

    October 22, 2012 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
  13. Da Ghost

    I am not attempting to protect or stand by Mr. Armstrong, but.......where was the USADA the last 14 yrs ? They don't bother to drug test before events ? Everyone is on an honor system ? All this BS would not have happened with an organizational group that knew what they were doing.

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

      USADA is an American organization. They don't have control over what happens in Europe. You should be asking 'Where has UCI been for 14 years'. The answer is in USADA's report – UCI has been complicit and corrupt, and McQuaid and Verbruggen have both sued anti-dopers over the years to try to shut them up. It's ridiculous for McQuaid to pass judgement on Armstrong (although UCI had to do something).

      October 22, 2012 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
  14. Mark

    This is akin to the judge telling the jury to disregard a remark made in court. It still happened and everyone remembers it. Lance won the TDF 7 straight years. You can delete that fact from wikipedia and all the TDF champions lists but not from the minds of the people that saw him win those events. That's all there is to it.

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

      Inconsequential comment, he's a cheater, he's a disgrace.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Chat

      Well, we also remember that Marion Jones cheated and won, Ben Johnson cheated and won. But, they are all in the garbage bins of history. So will Armstrong be, as a cyclist. But, his work towards the cancer cause is enormous and I hope he will succeed there (unless he has been siphoning money off that too!)

      October 22, 2012 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
    • alexe

      I totally agree with you!!!

      October 22, 2012 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
    • hmmmmmmm

      You don't know what is in my mind, and that is all there is. In my mind he didn't win, just as Rosie Perez didn't win the Boston Marathon. Cheating to such an extent makes you the loser of the race, not the winner.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
  15. Dave

    Definitely the right thing to do but all his teammates should forfeit any of their earnings over the same period as they reaped the bounty of a frontierless doping scandal. However, they will undoubtedly declare personal hardship and we will all just move on. If they truly have a moral compass they would donate all of those earnings under Lance to charity but we know that ain't going to happen.....maybe they could all start Bicycles without Borders and help to donate bicycles to children in impoverished countries.

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