UCI accepts Armstrong sanctions

Lance Armstrong has been banned for life

Lance Armstrong has been banned for life

First published in National Sport News © by

Lance Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and told he "has no place in cycling" by the head of the sport's world governing body.

The International Cycling Union accepted the findings of a United States Anti-doping Agency investigation, which concluded Armstrong and his United States Postal Service team ran "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen".

USADA stripped the 41-year-old American of all results from August 1, 1998, including his record run of Tour triumphs from 1999 to 2005, and issued him with a life ban in August, sanctions the UCI ratified on Monday.

At a media conference in Geneva, UCI president Pat McQuaid said: "(The UCI) will not appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and it will recognise the sanctions that USADA has imposed. The UCI will ban Lance Armstrong from cycling and the UCI will strip him of his seven Tours de France titles. Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling."

A special meeting of the UCI's management committee will take place on Friday to discuss the "exact sporting consequences" of the decision, including whether the titles and prize money will be re-distributed. The International Olympic Committee will await Friday's UCI meeting and further information before a decision is made on the bronze medal Armstrong won in Sydney in 2000.

Armstrong, who has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, refused to co-operate with USADA, who earlier this month published their 1000-page report.

In accordance with the World Anti-doping Code, the UCI had 21 days to respond, until October 31. Rather than taking the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the UCI accepted the findings of USADA. Armstrong or the World Anti-doping Agency could yet take the case to CAS.

While addressing the past, McQuaid was steadfast in his belief that cycling has a positive future, but he admitted it was nigh on impossible to rid the sport of drug abuse.

He said: "Will it ever be free from doping? That's a very difficult question to answer. I'd probably, to be honest with you, would say no, because I don't think in any aspect of society there are no cheats.

"I do believe that doping can be hugely reduced. A lot of it is in education programmes, how the teams are structured and what support elements the teams give the riders, to ensure when they go into a danger zone and feel like taking something that they decide not to."

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