The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

October 22, 2012

UCI agrees to strip Armstrong of his 7 Tour titles

(Continued)

When Alberto Contador was stripped of his 2010 Tour victory for a doping violation, organizers awarded the title to Andy Schleck. In 2006, Oscar Pereiro was awarded the victory after the doping disqualification of American rider Floyd Landis.

USADA's position is that the Tour titles should not be given to other riders who finished on the podium, such was the level of doping during Armstrong's era.

The agency said 20 of the 21 riders on the podium in the Tour from 1999 through 2005 have been "directly tied to likely doping through admissions, sanctions, public investigations" or other means. It added that of the 45 riders on the podium between 1996 and 2010, 36 were by cyclists "similarly tainted by doping."

The world's most famous cyclist could still face further sports sanctions and legal challenges. Armstrong could lose his 2000 Olympic time-trial bronze medal and may be targeted with civil lawsuits from ex-sponsors or even the U.S. government.

McQuaid said the UCI's board will meet Friday to discuss the Olympic issue and whether to update other race results taking account of Armstrong's disqualifications.

A so-called "Truth and Reconciliation" commission, which could offer a limited amnesty to riders and officials who confessed to doping practices, will also be discussed, UCI legal adviser Philippe Verbiest said.

In total, 26 people — including 15 riders — testified to USADA that Armstrong and his teams used and trafficked banned substances and routinely used blood transfusions. Among the witnesses were loyal sidekick George Hincapie and admitted dopers Tyler Hamilton and Landis.

USADA's case also implicated Italian sports doctor Michele Ferrari, depicted as the architect of doping programs, and longtime coach and team manager Bruyneel.

Ferrari — who has been targeted in an Italian prosecutor's probe — and another medical official, Dr. Luis Garcia del Moral, received lifetime bans.

Bruyneel, team doctor Pedro Celaya and trainer Jose "Pepe" Marti opted to take their cases to arbitration with USADA. The agency could call Armstrong as a witness at those hearings.

Bruyneel, a Belgian former Tour de France rider, lost his job last week as manager of the RadioShack-Nissan Trek team which Armstrong helped found to ride for in the 2010 season.

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