Armstrong Banned For Life From Cycling; UCI Strips Him Of Seven Tour Titles
Cycling’s ruling body "banned Lance Armstrong for life and stripped him of his seven Tour de France titles on Monday, but struggled to draw a line under a doping scandal that has brought its leadership of the sport into question," according to Roger Blitz of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Int'l Cycling Union (UCI) President Pat McQuaid told journalists at a press conference in Geneva: “Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling. He deserves to be forgotten in cycling.” The UCI decided it was "endorsing the findings" of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report that said Armstrong had engaged in “serial cheating” and participated in an organized doping ring in the U.S. Postal Service team over several years. Armstrong "now faces civil suits from sponsors seeking to recoup fees, and could also lose the bronze medal he won at the 2000 Olympics" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 10/22). THE NATIONAL reported that McQuaid admitted that cycling had "a culture of doping, but insisted that the culture was changing and that attitudes within the peloton toward using performance enhancing drugs was changing." He said that the body had been working in recent years "to improve its fight against doping, and had been working with other bodies and law enforcement services to crack down on cheats within the sport" (THE NATIONAL, 10/22).
QUESTIONS REMAIN: In London, Brendan Gallagher wrote that "some big decisions will now be postponed until they are debated at a general committee meeting." Among them are "what will happen to the prize money, and will Armstrong be replaced for those seven years on the Tour de France podium." McQuaid also "dipped his toe" into what has been labelled the Sky/Garmin debate -- zero tolerance of past dopers after interview or complete integration after a full admission of past sins." McQuaid "appears to come down marginally in favour" of Gramin-Sharp cyclist David Millar and Manager Jonathan Vaghters. McQuaid: "It is possible that people who have made mistakes in the past can help the sport in the future" (TELEGRAPH, 10/22). Also in London, Simon Rice wrote that "while addressing the past, McQuaid was steadfast in his belief that cycling has a positive future." McQuaid: "My message to cycling, to our riders, to our sponsors and to our fans today is: cycling has a future" (INDEPENDENT, 10/22).
ANOTHER SPONSOR GONE: The PA reported that Armstrong lost the support of another major sponsor after Oakley severed its ties with the "disgraced cyclist." The brand confirmed in a statement it was ending its relationship with Armstrong. The statement read: "Based on UCI's decision and the overwhelming evidence that USADA presented, Oakley has severed its long-standing relationship with Lance Armstrong, effective immediately. 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" (PA, 10/22).