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Lance Armstrong’s Seven Tour De France Titles Are Effectively Gone

Cycling superstar and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong's seven Tour de France titles are about to be wiped from the record books.

Lance Armstrong attends the 2011 Pan-Massachusetts Challenge on August 6, 2011 in Bourne, Massachusetts.
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Above: Lance Armstrong attends the 2011 Pan-Massachusetts Challenge on August 6, 2011 in Bourne, Massachusetts.

As NPR's Mike Pesca said early Friday on Morning Edition, while it is the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that announced Thursday it was stripping Armstrong of his titles — including the French records — because of the evidence it says it has collected that he was doping throughout his career, "the USADA is associated with the World Anti-Doping Agency." So the American decision will be honored in France, Mike says.

"Greg LeMond is [now] the only American" to have officially won the world's most prestigious bicycle race, he told Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep. LeMond finished first in three Tours (1986, 1989 and 1990).

The USADA's decision also means Armstrong will likely lose his bronze medal from the 2000 Olympics. And he may be banned for life from competitions. Retired from cycling, the 40-year-old Armstrong has recently been competing professionally in triathlons.

It's important to note that Armstrong, in a statement issued Thursday in which he said he would no longer contest the charges being leveled against him, called the USADA's case a "charade" and a "witch hunt." He also asserted that:

"USADA cannot assert control of a professional international sport and attempt to strip my seven Tour de France titles. I know who won those seven Tours, my teammates know who won those seven Tours, and everyone I competed against knows who won those seven Tours."

But John Fahey, head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, said today that Armstrong's Tour de France titles now need to be "obliterated" from the record books, the BBC reports.

Armstrong "had the right to rip up those charges but elected not to," said Fahey, according to the BBC. "Therefore the only interpretation in these circumstances is that there was substance in those charges."

Another way to look at Armstrong's statement, Mike said on Morning Edition, is as something of a "no contest" plea.

Comments

Avatar for user 'cyclingfan'

cyclingfan | August 24, 2012 at 7:49 a.m. ― 1 year, 11 months ago

Wow!
With a track record of 58 and 2 in Arbitration. I can see why it isn't worth pursuing this further. I'm sure that the 10 people set to testify would not have received a lifetime ban or loss of any titles (if they have any) in exchange for their testimony.
Only two possibilities here.
Armstrong is innocent and will never get his day in an actual court (arbitration is not the same) or he is guilty of all the things that have been thrown at him. In this case the 10 teammates and coaches that would have testified are just as guilty of covering up for Armstrong. What does this say about the sport. If cheating is this widespread, then why even have the sport or better yet, why bother with drug testing if it doesn't provide the answer in a timely fashion. Why after so many years would these ten come forward. I'm sure they can't afford this long protracted battle either. I'm sure they would have been provided the opporitunity to stay in the sport. This is the biggest hypocrisy of all.
If Cheating was so wide spread, I would like to see a permanent ban on the US cycling program that has covered this up for years.
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Even Bonds and Clemens had their day in court and all that did was make the people in Washington look like the hypocrits that they are. If ML Baseball had a look the other way attitude at the time ,then they will have to live with the current record book whether they like it or not.
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Arbitration is not a court where they have to prove their case. They only have to convince an arbitor that it was likely.
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When the Obama auto task force eliminated 789 Chrysler dealers, the Congress came back and gave those dealers an abitration process to be re-instated. It was; however, not a day in court. Chrysler only had to prove that you weren't a "perfect" dealers. Of the hundreds of dealers that attempted re-instatement through arbitration most had customer satisfaction ratings higher than 96%. In the end less than 4% were re-instated !
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So I understand why Lance Armstrong chose not to appear in a venue with a forgone conclusion. Good luck, Lance. Perhaps you should start an alternative Cycling Competition Series that doesn't recognize the USADA ! I would watch. I'm certainly never going to spend two minutes on the Tour de Hypocrisy.

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Avatar for user 'sbcabello'

sbcabello | August 24, 2012 at 9:41 a.m. ― 1 year, 11 months ago

Joe Paterno was a much-loved hero to many. Lots of people jumped to defend him, too. He was a good coach. He made some lousy decisions. He will forever be known for his failings. To all of you yellow rubber wristband-wearing zealots: there is nothing you can do to change the legacy that Lance Armstrong has now created for himself. Why in the world do you suppose he would roll over and let the whole world crash down upon him? His positive role in the public eye is now decimated forever. With so much good to be done through his foundation - with so much earning potential still ahead - why would he have rolled over and let it all slip away if he was truly innocent? The greatest comeback story fighter in the sport just gives up? Do you really believe it that an innocent Lance Armstrong would do that? To what end? Today he lost everything anyway. Stop professing his sainthood. Maybe he would have won without the juice. We'll never know. Too bad for everybody. (Also, to the supporters whose defense is, "Everybody was doing it..." the titles should be removed completely - not relayed to the 2nd place finishers. I believe that's why Fahey used the word "obliterated.")

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | August 24, 2012 at 10:26 a.m. ― 1 year, 11 months ago

Wow. What a loser. Didn't he feel like a sack of dung "winning" all those races, knowing that he cheated every single time?

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