While US champion cyclistcame to represent the very best in sport, embodying true grit and determination, he has over the past year also come to represent the worst of it, as it has come to light that the seven-time Tour de France winner and cancer survivor was guilty of doping, something that the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) termed as being “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”
Last week the USADA released an extensive 1,000-page report in which it detailed the doping that Armstrong and others were involved in. And while the agency itself was not authorized to do so, it called for Armstrong to be stripped of his seven Tour titles. Of course, what has been even further damning has been the fact that Armstrong himself no longer wished to contest the allegations against him, saying that he was wary of any further litigation.
Now the International Cycling Union (UCI), which governs the sport, has finally taken into account the USADA’s investigation and announced that they will be stripping Armstrong of all seven of his Tour de France titles. The announcement came today as UCI presidentsaid, "Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling. He deserves to be forgotten." According to the UCI ruling, Armstrong will be stripped of all results from Aug. 1, 1998, and is banned from the sport for life, although the cyclist is presently retired.
In his statement, McQuaid said, “This is a crisis, the biggest crisis cycling has ever faced. I like to look at this crisis as an opportunity for our sport and everyone involved in it to realise it is in danger and to work together to go forward. Cycling has a future. This is not the first time cycling has reached a crossroads or that it has had to begin anew. When I took over [as president] in 2005 I made the fight against doping my priority. I acknowledged cycling had a culture of doping. Cycling has come a long way. I have no intention of resigning as president of the UCI. I'm sorry that we couldn't catch every damn one of them red-handed and throw them out of the sport at the time."
Of course, with the titles being stripped, the question of reallocation—awarding the championships to the runners-up—does arise. The UCI committee will meet Friday to discuss the matter.
Tour de France Director saying, “I am truly humbled by your support. It's been an interesting couple of weeks. It's been a difficult couple of weeks for me and my family, my friends and this foundation.”has hailed the decision but said that he hopes no reallocation will take place. Armstrong has denied all allegations against him, and while he has not commented on the present decision, he did speak about the ongoing case at a recent charity event for his Livestrong foundation,