No winners to fill Armstrong Tour void
Updated: 2012-10-28 08:15
By Agence France-Presse in Geneva (China Daily)
The 1999-2005 Tour de France races will have no winners attributed to them, embattled world cycling officials announced on Friday, ordering doping-tainted icon Lance Armstrong to repay his prize money.
The International Cycling Union (UCI) this week effectively erased Armstrong from the cycling history books when it decided not to appeal sanctions imposed on the American by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.
A damning report by USADA last week concluded Armstrong helped orchestrate the most sophisticated doping program in the history of sport.
An UCI management committee on Friday "acknowledged that decisive action was needed in response to the report".
Armstrong will now lose all of his results from 1998, the year he resumed racing after successfully battling cancer, and a year before the first of his seven consecutive yellow jersey wins from 1999-2005.
"With respect to Lance Armstrong and the implications of the USADA sanctions which it endorsed on Monday 22 October, the management committee decided not to award victories to any other rider or upgrade other placings in any of the affected events," the UCI said.
"The committee decided to apply this ruling from now on to any competitive sporting results disqualified due to doping for the period from 1998 to 2005, without prejudice to the statute of limitation.
"The committee also called on Armstrong and all other affected riders to return the prize money they had received."
It is estimated Armstrong earned prize money of 2.95 million euros ($3.82 million) for his Tour de France victories.
The UCI justified its decision not to re-attribute podium spots on the Tour as a point of principle.
"The UCI management committee acknowledged that a cloud of suspicion would remain hanging over this dark period - but that while this might appear harsh for those who rode clean, they would understand there was little honor to be gained in reallocating places," it said.
(China Daily 10/28/2012 page7)