Lance Armstrong Stripped of Seven Tour De France Titles
The International Cycling Union has stripped Armstrong of the seven tour titles that made him a household name. "Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling," said the union's president, Pat McQuaid, announcing that the once celebrated athlete is banned from the sport at a Monday press conference, according to CNN. But "cycling has a future," he emphasized.
The decision comes after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a damning report revealing Armstrong's deep involvement in the "most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen," USADA chief executive Travis Tygart said in a statement. A week later, Armstrong stepped down as chairman of his cancer charity, Livestrong, to "spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career," he said in a statement on the group's website on Oct. 18.
The International Cycling Union's decision leaves Tour de France organizers to determine whether it will nominate alternate winners for the 1999-2005 tours, which originally saw Armstrong take first. The Amaury Sport Organisation, which manages the 21-day competition, has said it will decide after the union's ruling. With Armstrong erased from the record books, Greg LeMond becomes the only American to win the tour, having taken the title in 1986, 1989, and 1990.
And the tour triumphs aren't the only victories at stake for Armstrong, who has never failed a drug test and has denied doping allegations for years. The International Olympic Committee is reviewing the USADA findings and could revoke the cyclist's bronze medal from the 2000 Sydney Games.website. "Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in any manner." Anheuser-Busch, Trek Bicycle Corp, FRS, and Honey Stinger have all followed in Nike's footsteps by dropping their association with Armstrong.
And on Monday, Oakley followed suit. "Based on UCI's decision today and the overwhelming evidence that USADA presented, Oakley has severed its longstanding relationship with Lance Armstrong, effective immediately," the high-end sunglasses brand said in a statement on its website. "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."