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. tony partrige

    i think they went over board on Lance.he should keep his metals and just be suspend for a lengeth of time from cycling.i agree with what the one guy said about other sports just slapping there hands when they are caught doping.

    October 22, 2012 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Sunandan

      Yeah,a slap on the wrist for him,hounding the Chinese when they win.Nice

      October 22, 2012 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  2. Indy5002012

    Shame on all you decenters. . This man beat the odds in so many ways and gave in so many ways. Lets crucify all those doping entertainers, celebrities, and athletes as well as anyone who is anyone because there are far too many to keep track of. Sounds like the usual witch hunt.

    October 22, 2012 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Jamie

      You have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. It's very obvious you haven't taken the time to read through the report. Lance ruined lives, ruined careers and you want to call this witch hunt?

      No, this is at least some form of justice. And BTW, Lance and Trek owe Greg LeMond a bicycle company.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  3. David in Texas

    Lance thought that if a federal judge would take up the issue in Texas (when he was attempting to block the report), he would walk free. Instead the fed judge would not and Lance was doomed. Hopefully Lance will go to jail. This will happen when the feds (the ones outside of Texas) conduct a proper investigation. The corruption hear in Texas is beyond the capacity or imagination of most Americans. I fight it on a daily basis. A big case of federal racketeering will hit the airwaves soon. When it does y'all will be afraid to steep foot within this state. Yes, it involves both state and federal Texas judges. The US Supreme Court needs to close the courts in Texas, they do more harm than good. Keep your eye's open.

    October 22, 2012 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
  4. Ruth Zahnd


    October 22, 2012 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
  5. Floyd

    My opinon, if Armstrong could dope for 14 years,pass hundreds of drug tests, the USADA and the International Cycling Union needs to be disbanned. And there employees fired , all of them.

    October 22, 2012 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
    • DougMH

      I believe under Hein Verbruggen, the UCI was complicit because Lance's doped performances were doing so much for cycling at the time. 1) UCI complicity and 2) the simple fact that these guys can ALWAYS stay ahead of the medicine. Don't forget that several of the persons testifying before the USADA rode just as long as Lance and never tested positive either. One thing we can say for sure, where doping is involved, you'll never read "They lived happily ever after."

      October 22, 2012 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave Lease

      Exactly!! It sure doesn't say much for the governing body or their testing. I'd be in favor of Lance & everyone making acusations to take an excepted poligraph & go from there.

      October 22, 2012 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Jamie

      For a majority of Lance's career there existed no test for EPO. So, when Lance says he never failed a test... He's only telling a half truth because it's hard to fail a test when there is no test to prove you've taken EPO.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  6. Peg

    Agreed. He needs some prison time.

    October 22, 2012 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Deaths Choice

      And we wonder why the US has the highest per capita of incarcerated individuals... what a stupid freaking idea.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Why he danced with the devil HGH grows all cells not just muscle, cancer cells as well. He put a loaded gun to his head, sure the doctors manage it, that is why the blood test, but the dancer is unpredictable beast.

      October 23, 2012 at 4:05 am | Report abuse |
  7. Floyd

    Here is the problem DougMH, if the organization is that incompotent. I would be dumb to believe there report. If they was not able to do there job of catching dopers while they were riding and winning, what makes you think they are compotentt now?

    October 22, 2012 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
  8. Bullet

    Now he is the most famous bike racer with out any wins

    October 22, 2012 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  9. oneleft

    my my. all of these people just beside themselves to get in their condemnation. as has been pointed out, the man has not been convicted.
    for all you holier than thous... when was the last time you drank a coca-cola? do you own a pair of levi's? nike's? surely you're aware of how your frying pan was made no? please tell me you know how your frying pan is made and you are up in arms over it. surely you're well aware that you are supporting some of the most corrupt, evil corporations in the world. no? surely you're aware that every little sip of that soda has blood on it no? surely you know what products you happily embrace that have been made with child labor? anyone this concerned over someone's else's life has been an activist for years no? a long history of standing against corruption? that's you right? surely anyone that gets this out of sorts over someone else has taken every measure to ensure they do not support any kind of lies/deception/corruption? tell me this is you. that you can stand in judgement with a clear conscious. that's you no?

    October 22, 2012 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  10. bb

    American flag tarnished again.... L.Amstrong is the quintessence of the American hypocrisy, as well as his sponsors who covered him all these years and now ditch him... This is disgusting

    October 22, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  11. russellbradleyartist

    Still the best cyclist who ever lived, There are people who Hate, and people who forgive.
    Cycling has become a joke, if they were all doing it why so much attention to lance ., how many of them raised 500 million dollars, and inspired so many people to get on a bike or run? thats the question.
    I for one am going to Forgive lance and go out for a five mile run , it was he who inspired me to get fit, stop smoking and eat right. Thanks lance.

    October 22, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
    • brian

      Not even in the top 5. Merckx, Coppi, Hinault, Anqeutiel, Poulidor, Indurain are all head and shoulders above him.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Jamie

      Your inspiration was built on a myth. Lance thanks you for your support.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  12. oneleft

    really now. you "promise". first, you're wrong. you lied. second, i do believe that all people in this country are innocent until proven otherwise. in a court of law. a report, sworn affadavits... are not a court of law. you may find him guilty in the court of public opinion but that does not change his status by our laws.

    October 22, 2012 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
  13. Nancy

    France really should issue a warrant for his arrest and charge him with fraud and possibly the RICO act. He hurt a lot of people with his actions.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  14. brian

    I don't for a minute believe that the USPS/Disco/Astana/Radio Shack teams had the only doping program around then or now. And I don't believe for a minute that all those who testified magically stopped in 2006.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  15. SamiC

    The thing to remember is...all the other cyclists were also doping...this was just what was done...SO, Lance was still the best....

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

      Would you say the same about other athletes; football, baseball, or basketball players who dominated their sport?

      October 22, 2012 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Marlin

      For the dirties era of baseball? Compared to everyone else playing during that time yes. Though you cant compare them to players before or after.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Andy

      And you know this how?

      October 22, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • bb

      The best at DOPING, read all reports of enquiry about Armstrong, you will see that what he did is the biggest organized fraud in the doping history with the most advanced drugs, he cheated tests like no one else could and was covered etc... What he did is unbelievable but it's sadly true..

      October 22, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
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