The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

October 22, 2012

Tour director no longer considers Armstrong winner

— PARIS (AP) — Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme no longer considers Lance Armstrong a seven-time winner of the world's most prestigious cycling race, one which now hopes to finally shake off years of doping scandals.

Speaking shortly after cycling's governing body ratified the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's decision to strip Armstrong of his seven Tour titles, Prudhomme welcomed the decision, reiterating his belief that there should be no new champions declared for the seven Tours that Armstrong had won.

"It's without surprise that we received today's news, it's totally logical. Lance Armstrong is no longer the winner of the Tour de France from 1999-2005," Prudhomme said at the Paris headquarters of ASO, which owns the race. "We wish that there is no winner for this period. For us, very clearly, the titles should remain blank. Effectively, we wish for these years to remain without winners."

Armstrong also finished third in the 2009 Tour in his comeback year, but the UCI has yet to say whether that podium place will be removed.

"In all logic, everything must disappear," Prudhomme said. "This is the story of a real talent who lost his way."

American rider Floyd Landis and Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador were stripped of their Tour titles in 2006 and 2010, respectively, for doping infractions, and their titles were given to Oscar Pereiro and Andy Schleck.

USADA, which published a damning 200-page report packed with testimonies from several of Armstrong's former teammates on the U.S. Postal team, says all of Armstrong's results dating back to August 1998 should be removed. The UCI was expected to meet Friday to further discuss what to do with the podium places from Armstrong's seven Tour wins, notably whether to move other riders up, the 2009 podium spot, and other race wins during his long career.

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