Lance Armstrong stripped of Tour de France titles
Zeenews Sports Bureau
Geneva: Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and was handed a lifetime ban by cycling's governing body on Monday. This move came after a report from the US Anti-Doping Agency accused him of leading a massive doping program on his teams.
Addressing the media, International Cycling Union (UCI) president Pat McQuaid said that the federation accepted the USADA's report on Armstrong.
"Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling and he deserves to be forgotten in cycling," McQuaid said at the news conference. "This is a landmark day for cycling."
This decision cleared the way for Tour de France organizers to officially remove Armstrong's name from the record books and erase the titles that he won from 1999-2005.
Earlier, United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) had said that Armstrong ran "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen" within his US Postal Service and Discovery Channel teams.
In a scathing indictment it also said that Armstrong and his teams used steroids, the blood booster EPO and blood transfusions.
"I was sickened by what I read in the USADA report," McQuaid said. "At the moment Lance Armstrong hasn't admitted to anything, yet all the evidence is there in this report that he doped," he added.
It has been said that 26 witnesses confirmed that the 41-year-old doped during his career.
Notably, Lance Armstrong stepped down last week as chairman of Livestrong, the cancer-fighting charity as fallout of the doping scandal swirling around the famed cyclist.
He had launched the charity in 2003 to help patients suffering from the disease.
In another development, Nike severed its ties with Armstrong citing insurmountable evidence that he participated in doping and misled the company for more than a decade.
Meanwhile, on Sunday Armstrong while greeting about 4,300 cyclists at his Livestrong charity's fundraiser bike ride in Texas told the crowd that he's faced a "very difficult" few weeks. “I've been better, but I've also been worse," Armstrong was quoted as saying.
Once hailed as a great sportsperson, Armstrong has consistently maintained that the USADA system was rigged against him and that there was a ‘witch hunt’ which was putting pressure on witnesses into cooperating.