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. TA3

    @TheBottomBillion, I would because again you need more than just doping (which BTW is a VERY broad topic) to be SO good in ANY sport...how about "Natural" Bodybuilders...now, thats an unfair sport...even in natural contests if you don't dope for a few months you have no chance....

    October 22, 2012 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  2. RM

    They say he cheated but have no real proof other than the accusations of his team mates who were actually caught with a dirty test. If LA cheated so well why didn't his team mates cheat the same? If LA used a particular method to avoid detection you would have thought his team mates would have done the same.

    The words and accusations of his team mates came with a payoff. Testify against LA and your punishments will either be forgotten or reduced. What a crock.

    And let's say for a minute LA did dope, it sounds like, according to the USADA that nearly all of the riders doped. If that is the case then the field was in fact a level playing field. It still took an incredibly talented rider to win all of those TDF's.

    Ride on Lance.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Cartwright 58

      I agree. That's why I think he needs to spend 10 or 15 years in prison. That will dissuade others from cheating.

      October 22, 2012 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • fifi

      Doesn't make sense there is no real proof. I dont see any positive drug tests yet from him. Its a witch hunt. We dont know if his teammates were payed off to say crap about him.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  3. Harrison

    Year's later they find out you cheated in your High School algebra test. You should be fired right away. Especially, since you were moving on and helping out the company you worked for and bringing in great clients. My goodness I think I was in High School when he was winning those things. I don't give a rat's tail about the doping charges now. Seeing that people are wasting good money on that instead of the sport itself. Wasteful and useless. There is no statue of limitation they should go back to his elementary school and see if he cheated and if he did they should take away his graduate status. This is utterly ridiculous. The worst are the people going, see I knew. Who cares life goes on, but the money he was pulling in for Cancer patients who probably don't give a flying monkey if he cheated or not.
    Cancer because it is a painful horrible thing versus digging so far back in the past and wasting a ton of money that would have been put to better use on a diease or at least the sport now.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  4. EARL

    All the money that was spent by the US to prove this man Used PED's and in my book didnt prove a dam thing, all the EVIDENCE came from snitchs that got caught in there own LIES..Let me give you the Rundown on what this man did! 1. Cancer survivor 2.Raise hundreds of millions for cancer research. 3. 7 TIME TOUR DE FRANCE LEGEND...that aint just riding a bike...thats 21 DAYS straight riding 2,000 miles ascending mountain inclines, equal that of mount Everest! if he took all the PED's in the world he still had to ride the dam bike for 20 days and 2,000 miles AND WIN AGAINST 200 OTHER RIDERS WHO WAS DOPING TOO! ...HE STILL THE G.O.A.T

    October 22, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Robert D.

      Not even close, Earl. First of all, the money spent by USADA doesn't come close to matching the amount of money that the U.S. Postal Service threw at him to sponsor his fraud. Forbes magazine estimates it was over $60 million. Think about it. $60 million of our taxpayer money going to support a drug trafficker. Secondly, before Armstrong started doping, he was never considered a threat to win a SINGLE Tour de France. Why? Because he couldn't climb hills. He was great in flat road races, but he had to drop out of the Tour de France on more than one occasion because he couldn't take the steep hills. Do the research. G.O.A.T.? Hardly. Greg LeMond in his prime would have blown him away.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Livestrong spends 0 dollars towards research. It is all spent for support/education, whatever that means. I specifically have never donated to it for this fact.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:31 am | Report abuse |
  5. craig

    What ever happen to "innocent until proven guilty" . Just because he dropped out of defending himself, does not make him guilty. And if the Accusers are not going to testify but in a court, what do you have ?

    His defending may cost more than is money and grief than it is worth. So, Does that make him guilty?
    Shame on those sponsors that find him guilty, without any proof.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  6. S Zeleznik

    For those of you who mentioned "research", the Lance Armstrong Foundation (aka Livestrong) does not fund cancer research. It did in the early days but doesn't any more. Raising awareness and providing support are certainly needed in conjunction with research, but if you prefer your donations to fund research you're donating to the wrong charity.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  7. sameeker

    If he was doping, how did he hide it? He had to take so many drug tests over the years that it is unlikely that they wouldn't pick something up. I have yet to hear any specifics. Just sounds funny to me.

    October 22, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mr B. Smith

    He was given hundreds of drug tests and passed every one. The physical evidence is what it is. His accusers all had a reason to claim he cheated, but there has never been any physical evidence proving that he did. A government agency just happened to take a disliking to him because he got tired of their constant testing and accusations against him so they built a phoney case against him. Lance Armstrong IS an American hero. He has done more to further cancer research than any government bureaucracy ever has. God Speed Mr Armstrong!

    October 22, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      So Mr. Smith: Given your concern about physical evidence, where is your proof that Lance Armstrong has done more to further cancer research than any government bureaucracy? I'd love to see that. And if you're so derisive about the government, what do you think of the U.S. Postal Service using taxpayer money to pump tens of millions of dollars into what was basically a drug-trafficking fraud scheme?

      October 22, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • S Zeleznik

      LiveStrong's funding of cancer research before 2010 was minimal. It no longer funds cancer research. It says that on it's website.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      He's not "an American hero" he is a "hero". He deserves support and a fair trial. The behaviour of his team, his charity and the sport that HE was largely responsible for globalising is heartbreaking. If he is guilty – charge him, if he is innocent – leave him alone, but either way make the decision based on evidence not hearsay.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Portland tony

    Most Americans wouldn't know the "Tour de France" existed if Armstrong hadn't won it. I would guess that maybe 10 Americans know how the race is scored and another 10 know the name of another professional cyclist besides Armstrong. Yet everybody got an opinion. Jeez!

    October 22, 2012 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      That, sadly, says more about Americans than Lance Armstrong. Perhaps you should also remember that Greg Lemond won the Tour 3 times too!

      October 22, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Humbug

    Nothing worse than a snitch pos, but this self-righteous pos who pontificates about drug abuse and lies like a rug needed to get his due!

    October 22, 2012 at 10:27 am | Report abuse |
  11. Dave

    Relying on Hamilton and others like him to "prove" (without actual due process) is just a kangaroo court's way of going after the best (they have tried for years, but not a single blood test EVER tested positive.. i.e., they have no proof, just anecdotal evidence). Would you like it if you could be "found guilty" just by believing the testimony of others? Shariya law allows that 3 muslims' testimony is "proof" but we are in America, where you actually HAVE to prove an allegation, not just rely on the testimony of others. Sadly, the USADA is finding Armstrong "guilty by rumor/hearsay" and that is a disgrace.

    October 22, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  12. Equalityforall

    What exactly is the problem? Is it that Armstrong cheated? Is it that cyclists cheat, and Armstrong simply cheated better than the rest? If all the non-winners didn't cheat, but the winner did cheat, then Armstrong deserves what he gets. But if the entire system is corrupt, and Armstrong is simply being singled out because he drew attention to himself by being the best among equals, then I agree with the company that dropped its support of cycling itself. At least Armstrong didn't cheat AND lose.

    October 22, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Allison

      I totally agree!! I am very confused that Lance received a lifetime ban while the 11 others, who were doing the same, received 6 months. I think those others threw Lance under the bus!!

      October 22, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  13. ffisher

    Lance would have been a good cyclist without the assistance of the drugs. Drugs in cycling only support a superhuman foundation when it comes to winning at a worldwide level, and Lance was superhuman before the drugs. He would still probably be worth several million and have a few sponsors...but the lure of "ultra success" and an unguided ego, cause unnecessary harm to a family, sport, and individual.
    Ive loved cycling all my life...never won anything important...still love to ride my bike(s)

    Lance still could have come back from the depths of deadly cancer
    Lance could have won a few major events
    Livestrong would be a nice, smaller Charity

    In summary, i feel sorry for Lance, but he has enough $$ to build a wall around him for the rest of his life.
    The sad part is,
    very few people in this world will care if he ever speaks again, shows up at a function. signs yellow t-shirts or arrives at an ironman.
    There is nothing left to feed the ego, ruled by EPO, Testosterone and who knows what else....

    The Lance brand is dust....sorry Lance...You 'Did It"....

    October 22, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  14. _aleph_

    Lance will always be a legend. That his memory may leave a bad taste in some people's lives is a shame. In the end, history will show that he was unbeatable for years. The record books may remove his name from the winner's column, but they'll have to have a note explaining that "Lance Armstrong actually won those races, but we weasled him out of his wins."

    October 22, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  15. John

    Armstrong is a cheather,a lyer and a thief.Americans don't understand cycling.I look a the Tour every year almost every day and even if I'm not a dokter I could see Armstrong did "something special".Specialy in the mountains on the arrival his face looked like a sceleton.The day after he looked like nothing happend.NOT POSSIBLE.I agree that he's not the only one who's taking drugs bud he is the biggest lyer and a coward.HIding behind Livestrong,he is a shame for the nation and people who love cycling.He is not a legend bud a man who used cycling to becom rich and powerful.That's the only reason why he could cheat all these years.Think again before calling this man a legend!

    October 22, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • John Reason

      Lets assume that he did get blood transfusions to move forward, and did this by saving his own blood etc. Then we should do this for our soldiers too so they have the stamina to carry on. Heck I want to do it as well when I have a hard week or day. Think of all the applications of this revolutionary method of keeping your stamina up! Just a transfusion thats all you need. Think of all the applications, laborors, construction workers, soldiers, Foxconn workers its endless!
      And all with just a simple IV. This is remarkable. A new growth industry. Live Strong! heck ya! Get your IV kit only $49.95... 5% of all proceeds go to....

      October 22, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
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