GENEVA NO ONE will replace Lance Armstrong as winner of the Tour de France from 1999- 2005 after the American was stripped of the titles for doping, the International Cycling Union (UCI) said on Friday.
The decision, supported by Tour organisers, was widely expected given so many riders finishing behind Armstrong have also been associated with doping offences.
“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 in a statement.
Armstrong was formally stripped of his seven titles on Monday when the UCI ratified the US Anti-Doping Agency’s decision to ban the 41-year-old Texan for life and nullify his results from August 1998 onward.
“The committee also called on Armstrong and all other affected riders to return the prize money they had received,” the statement added.
The UCI also said it was setting up an independent commission to investigate allegations made against the UCI over the Armstrong affair.
The governing body agreed that part of the commission’s remit would be to find ways to ensure that anyone caught doping would no longer be able to take part in the sport, even as a non-rider in a team.
It also announced it was suspending legal action against journalist Paul Kimmage pending the findings of the commission.
Former professional rider Kimmage had alleged the UCI covered up a suspicious Armstrong test.
On October 10, the United States Anti-Doping Agency published a report into Armstrong which said the now-retired rider had been involved in the “most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping program that sport has ever seen”.
Armstrong, who has always denied doping, had previously declined to contest the charges, prompting USADA to propose his punishment pending confirmation from cycling’s world governing body which came on Monday.
Former Armstrong team mates at his US Postal and Discovery Channel outfits, where he won his Tour titles, testified against him and themselves and were given reduced bans by the American authorities.
UCI also says Armstrong and “all other affected riders” in the case should return their prize money. Cycling’s governing body also will “establish a fully independent external commission to look into the various allegations made about UCI relating to the Armstrong affair.” It has been accused of accepting $125,000 from Armstrong to cover up suspicious doping tests. As well as leaving the Tour winner’s list blank from 1999-2005, the UCI agreed “not to award victories to any other rider or upgrade other placings in any of the affected events.”