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. fran_007

    Yes, he raised a half-a-billion dollars but he cheated. One doesn't counteract the other. Heck, on that note, you can say a murderer isn't a murderer if he gives to charity.

    Why is it, the only people left who believe he's innocent only point to the fact that 50 other people are lying or how much good he does for charity. Sad day. Cheat is a cheat.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
  2. Brightstar

    What goes around, comes around! This is what Lance gets for dumping the very nice lady Cheryl Crow who herself had to deal with cancer. Lance already had cancer too as I recall. So there you have it!

    October 22, 2012 at 7:47 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jay

    Somewhere in Italy Filippo Simeoni is smiling

    October 22, 2012 at 7:47 am | Report abuse |
    • N. Unya Bbwaqs

      He should write a book and get a little vengeance, and a little money, too.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Newblogger

    Once again.... Break News Really? It's time for the US and world to move on to more important issues.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:48 am | Report abuse |
  5. Byrd

    Good. Now maybe he'll just shut up and go away. I'm sick of hearing his bs lies.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:48 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jiovanna Louisa

    I'm so glad the creative singer/songwriter Cheryl Crow never made Armstrong! She lives strong!

    October 22, 2012 at 7:48 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mike

    Always be a fan of the guy in second or third place. Because cycling effectively said that any one who wins is going to be challenged for many years regardless of the testing in place.

    He passed his tests during his career. That's what counts.

    Ride for yourself. But turning in the tv or going to the races is now a waste of time because the winners couldn't possibly win.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:48 am | Report abuse |
    • ankenyman

      You are another delusional cult follower. Many cyclists and athletes who have later admitted to doping never failed a test. Mark MGwire and Maion Jones are two famous examples. You need to do some research and see how these cyclists avoided testing and testing positive.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
  8. mm

    So, Lance is now the champion of cheaters...

    October 22, 2012 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
    • N. Unya Bbwaqs

      DOPESTRONG, LIESTRONG, armstrong

      October 22, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ankenyman

    Lance has been exposed as a liar and a cheater. Think of all the people (his accusers) he slandered, bullied and intimidated while he was perpetuating his lies. He defrauded all the contributors to his foundation and he got rich in the process.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
  10. jim

    Well you might as well strip the top 50 or so because let's face it chances are they did it too. He still has tons of money. Don't give to charities.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:50 am | Report abuse |
  11. Whome

    I have held a UCI racing licenses for many years if this is what they have done to Lance then I'm giving up my licenses and no longer supporting the organization.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Night Rider

      If you're so blinded by the lies to see the facts by all means give up your UCI racing license. I guarantee you won't be missed

      October 22, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Grandpa Simpson

    Lovely to see all the negative comments from people who say they won't tolerate a cheater, yet we still elect these unproductive & underhanded bums we have in office. Eh, cheats, crooks, & worthless layabouts are okay for Congress, but by God, don't you dare cheat at sports!!

    October 22, 2012 at 7:52 am | Report abuse |
    • thatoneguy

      i so agree wit this comment

      October 22, 2012 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Alycia

      High five to that!

      October 22, 2012 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  13. jc

    More lies from the professional lie crafters. What "Overwhelming evidence" ???. It was and is all hearsay from guys that were extorted to finger him guilty. Total B.S ! I am not big into cycling but what they are doing is sickening, anyone that has half a brain knows how easily they can indite a ham sandwich with the weak minded folks out there.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:52 am | Report abuse |
  14. Dan Barr

    Do not care, to cheat is not a win... Fooling people or fooling your self does not put one on top in the real world...

    October 22, 2012 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
  15. Salsa Rider

    Since the whole peloton was doping to some extent, they should invalidate ALL the TDF results for the past 14+ years.

    October 22, 2012 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
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