In announcing the decision at a news conference in Geneva, Pat McQuaid, president of the International Cycling Federation (UCI), was unstinting in his condemnation of the pattern of doping, deceit and bullying that USADA had documented as explaining Armstrong’s success and characterizing his fraudulent career.
“Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling, and he deserves to be forgotten in cycling,” said McQuaid, a former competitive cyclist himself, at a news conference. “This is a landmark day for cycling.”
UCI had little option but to concur, given the breadth and depth of the evidence USADA compiled, based largely on first-hand accounts of 11 former Armstrong teammates. Had it disputed the agency’s more than 1,000-page report, whether on the merits or over matters of jurisdiction, Armstrong’s disciplinary fate would have been appealed to the Council for Arbitration in Sport.
But with its vehement concurrence, UCI effectively snuffed out any hope of Armstrong to salvage his cycling achievements or the iconic status that won him millions or followers, and earned him millions in corporate endorsements, since winning the first of his seven consecutive Tour de France championships in 1999.
The UCI’s decision to accept the USADA’s recommendation that Armstrong should be banned for life and stripped of his titles has understandably left the former U.S. cycling hero shaken. Yet Armstrong remains grateful for the backing of his dwindling supporters. As Cindy Boren wrote:
Pat McQuaid, president of the UCI, said that the group would not pursue an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. “Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling and he deserves to be forgotten in cycling,” McQuaid said at a news conference in Geneva. “This is a landmark day for cycling.” Tour de France organizers can now officially remove Armstrong’s victories from 1999-2005 from the record books. Christian Prudhomme, Tour director, indicated that the race would comply with the UCI decision and will list no winners for those seven Tours.
“We’ve come too far in the fight against doping to go back to the past,” McQuaid said. “Something like this must never happen again.”
Armstrong has denied doping but chose in August to drop his fight against drug allegations. On Oct. 10, the United States Anti-Doping Agency released its report, in which it said that Armstrong led “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”