Armstrong out of the record books

  • Last Updated: October 22 2012, 19:48 BST

The name Lance Armstrong is to be expunged from the record books after cycling's world governing body accepted a recommendation to strip the American of his seven Tour de France titles and ban him for life.

Armstrong out of the record books

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The UCI ratified the sanctions recommended by the United States Anti-doping Agency, who concluded Armstrong and his United States Postal Service team ran "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen".

The battle against doping is still to be won, the UCI were warned, and despite intense criticism UCI president Pat McQuaid insisted he would not be resigning for the perceived failures of his organisation in tackling the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme believes the race must not have a victor from 1999 to 2005 after Armstrong's punishment and called on the Texan to return his winnings.

Prudhomme said: "The formal decision has to be taken by the UCI but for us, we must have a clean record. This period must be marked by the absence of winners.

"The UCI rules are clear. When a rider is disqualified, he must pay the prize money back."

A special meeting of the UCI's management committee will take place on Friday to discuss the "exact sporting consequences" of the decision, including whether the titles and prize money will be re-distributed.

The International Olympic Committee will await Friday's UCI meeting and further information before a decision is made on the bronze medal Armstrong won in Sydney in 2000.

Armstrong, who battled back from cancer to return to professional cycling, has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and refused to co-operate with the USADA investigation. All his results dating back to August 1, 1998 were swiftly annulled.

It meant Armstrong, who won the world title in 1993, has a Tour de France best of 36th, in 1995.

Those decisions were taken in August, with USADA's 1000-page reasoned decision document published earlier this month and an abbreviated version published on its website for all to see.

In accordance with the World Anti-doping Code, the UCI had 21 days to respond, until October 31.

Rather than taking the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the UCI accepted the findings of USADA, with McQuaid stating "Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling".

Armstrong or the World Anti-doping Agency could yet take the case to CAS.

It was not immediately clear how - or if - Armstrong would respond, but the Texan cuts an increasingly isolated figure.

Oakley joined Nike, Anheuser-Busch, Trek, Giro and RadioShack in ending their sponsorship of the 41-year-old.

Armstrong's defence long relied on his claim to never having tested positive in more than 500 tests. He was tested 218 times by the UCI, who insisted the responsibility for not catching the Texan should be shared with other anti-doping agencies who also tested Armstrong.

McQuaid insisted the revelations contained within the USADA report came only when witnesses were faced with the prospect of perjury charges.

The testimony of eleven former team-mates of Armstrong was key and they received six-month bans, which were also ratified by the UCI.

USADA chief executive Travis Tygart welcomed the UCI decision and called for the world governing body to break free from the past by challenging omerta, a code of silence within the peloton which allowed doping to flourish.

Tygart said: "It is essential that an independent and meaningful Truth and Reconciliation Commission be established so that the sport can fully unshackle itself from the past.

"There are many more details of doping that are hidden, many more doping doctors, and corrupt team directors and the omerta has not yet been fully broken."

Briton David Millar, who describes himself as an "ex-doper" but is now on the World Anti-doping Agency's athletes' commission, reiterated his call for the UCI to be held to account.

Millar has previously demanded the resignation of Hein Verbruggen, the UCI's honorary president who was president when Armstrong won his seven Tours. Pressure has also been mounting on McQuaid.

"They (the UCI) always denied there was a problem and even now they are denying they had knowledge of it, and I think that's the next big step," Millar told Sky Sports News.

"The buck has to stop somewhere and I think the UCI have to assume that responsibility."

Millar pointed to the rule governing a 50% hematocrit level as an acknowledgement that use of the blood-boosting agent EPO was prevalent in the peloton. However, there was at that time no test for EPO.

McQuaid accepted Millar's point and admitted it was nigh-on impossible to rid the sport of drug abuse, but was adamant the cycling is heading in the right direction.

"The only thing we could do until such time as the system gave us a test for EPO was to try and limit the levels of EPO," McQuaid told Sky Sports News.

"Unfortunately, you're right, that gave carte blanche to cyclists to use EPO to certain amounts, to certain limits."

The Irishman added: "We've come too far in the fight against doping to return to our past.

"Cycling has a future and something like this must never happen again."

Lance Armstrong factfile:

1971: Born September 18, in Dallas.

1991: Signs with Subaru-Montgomery and becomes US national amateur champion.

1993: Crowned US national champion. Wins first stage in Tour de France but fails to finish. Beats Miguel Indurain to win world championship.

1994: Wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege spring classic.

1996: October 2 - Diagnosed with testicular cancer. The disease later spreads through his whole body. Founds Lance Armstrong Foundation for Cancer.

1997: Declared cancer-free after brain surgery and chemotherapy. Signs with US Postal Service team after being dropped by Cofidis.

1998: Wins Tours of Holland and Luxembourg.

1999: Claims first Tour de France title, winning four stages.

2000: Wins second Tour. Secures time-trial bronze in Sydney Olympics.

2001: July 29: Becomes only the fifth rider to win three Tour de France titles in a row.

2002: July 28: Becomes only the fourth person to win four successive Tour de France titles.

2003: Equals the record of five victories in the Tour de France, but is pushed to his limit by German Jan Ullrich, who finishes just 61 seconds off the pace.

2004: July 25 - Clinches record sixth Tour de France victory.

2005: July 24 - Wins his seventh Tour de France, two more than anyone else, before retiring.

September 6 - Claims he is considering coming out of retirement after being angered by drug allegations against him.

2008: September 9 - Announces he will return to professional cycling and will attempt to win his eighth Tour de France in 2009.

2009: March 23 - Suffers a broken right collarbone when he crashes out on stage one of the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon in Spain.

May - Appears in first Giro d'Italia, finishing 12th. Tour is somewhat marred by financial cloud over Armstrong's Astana team and the American is linked to a takeover.

June - Astana's financial issues are resolved and Armstrong is named in the Tour de France team, but with 2007 champion Alberto Contador of Spain as leader.

July - Contador and Armstrong endure a fractious relationship. Contador claims a second Tour title, while Armstrong finishes third. Armstrong announces he will launch his own squad in 2010, Team Radio Shack.

2010: January - Team Radio Shack make their debut at the Tour Down Under in Australia. Armstrong finishes 25th overall.

May - Armstrong's former US Postal team-mate Floyd Landis, who was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title for doping, launches doping allegations at the Texan.

June 28 - Announces that the 2010 Tour de France will be his last.

July - Finishes final Tour in 23rd place, 39 minutes and 20 seconds behind winner Contador.

2011: February 16 - Announces retirement for second time.

May - Forced to deny claims made by former team-mate Tyler Hamilton that they took performance-enhancing drugs together.

2012: February 4 - An investigation into alleged doping by Armstrong is dropped by federal prosecutors in California.

June 13 - The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) confirm they have initiated legal proceedings over allegations of doping against Armstrong.

June 30 - The USADA confirm they will file formal doping charges against Armstrong.

July 9 - Armstrong files a lawsuit in a US federal court asking for a temporary restraining order against the agency. Armstrong also claims the USADA offered "corrupt inducements" to other cyclists to testify against him.

July 11 - Armstrong refiles lawsuit against the USADA after initial lawsuit was dismissed by a judge as being a "lengthy and bitter polemic", designed to attract media attention and public sympathy.

August 20 - Armstrong's legal action against the USADA dismissed in court.

August 24 - Armstrong announces he will not fight the doping charges filed against him by the USADA, saying in a statement he is "finished with this nonsense" and insisting he is innocent. He is stripped of all his titles and banned for life from cycling by USADA.

October 10 - The USADA claim 11 of Armstrong's former team-mates have testified against him. The organisation say the US Postal Service team "ran the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen", with "conclusive and undeniable proof" of a team-run doping conspiracy.

October 17 - Armstrong resigns as chairman of his cancer charity, Livestrong, on the same day that he is dropped by sponsor Nike.

October 22 - The UCI confirms it has ratified USADA's decision to ban Armstrong from cycling for life and to strip him of his seven Tour de France titles for doping offences.

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