Seven Tours will remain winless

Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles earlier this week

Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles earlier this week

First published in National Sport News © by

The 1999 to 2005 Tours de France will be forever without a winner after Lance Armstrong was stripped of the titles, the International Cycling Union has confirmed.

The UCI on Monday ratified the decision taken by the United States Anti-Doping investigation to ban Armstrong for life and strip him of all results since August 1998, including his seven successive Tour wins.

At a special meeting of the UCI's management committee on Friday, it was ruled results following any future disqualifications relating to the Armstrong years, 1998 to 2005, would not be reallocated. Cycling's world governing body also called on Armstrong and all other affected riders to return prize money won while using performance-enhancing drugs.

A UCI statement read: "With respect to Lance Armstrong and the implications of the USADA sanctions which it endorsed on Monday, October 22, the management committee decided not to award victories to any other rider or upgrade other placings in any of the affected events.

"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.

"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 honour to be gained in reallocating places."

The UCI has come under intense criticism and scrutiny before and since the publication of USADA's 1000-page reasoned decision document, which concluded Armstrong and his United States Postal Service team ran "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen".

Allegations were levelled at the UCI for accepting donations from Armstrong, and, although any wrongdoing is denied, the management committee will commission an independent investigation.

The UCI statement added: "The governing body also decided to establish a fully independent external commission to look into the various allegations made about UCI relating to the Armstrong affair. The committee agreed that part of the independent commission's remit would be to find ways to ensure that persons caught for doping were no longer able to take part in the sport, including as part of an entourage."

WADA issued a statement which read: "As an independent body itself, WADA supports the decision to set up an independent external commission to examine the problem of doping in cycling. The most important thing is for this issue to be dealt with once and for all, and WADA looks forward to the release of further details on the commission's make-up and terms of reference."

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