Lance Armstrong has not discussed the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's evidence against him, but has stayed active in events for Livestrong. Here he is shown speaking over the weekend in Austin, Texas, at the 15th anniversary celebration of the cancer-fighting charity he founded.(Photo: Cooper Neill, Getty Images)
The Lance Armstrong doping case finally appears to be over.
His seven titles in the Tour de France will be stripped and vacated.
The famed cyclist also will be banned for life in sanctioned Olympic sports.
receiving the massive evidence file compiled against Armstrong on Oct.
10, the International Cycling Union (UCI) announced Monday that it would
not appeal the sanctions imposed upon the cyclist in August by the U.S.
MORE: Cancer survivors voice support for Livestrong foundation
By rule, UCI had the right to appeal those
sanctions to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, even though Armstrong
himself had declined to go to arbitration to fight the charges. But on
Monday, UCI said it was declining to do so -- a decision that is likely
the final official word on the subject after years of accusations and
"Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling and he
deserves to be forgotten in cycling," UCI president Pat McQuaid said at a
MORE: Lance Armstrong stepping down as chairman of Livstrong
The World Anti-Doping Agency also holds the
right to appeal the sanctions but that is not expected as WADA has been a
staunch supporter of USADA's actions to date.
The Tour de France
is a sanctioned event of UCI, the sport's international governing body,
meaning it is now bound by rule to strip Armstrong's seven titles from
1999 to 2005. Tour officials previously said they would do so barring an
appeal by UCI, but also said no replacement winner will be named for
One likely reason? Doping was so rampant throughout
the Armstrong era that most of the other top finishers also have been
implicated or confessed to doping.
decision is not surprising, given the scope of the evidence in the
USADA case file, but the news still marks another blow for Armstrong,
whose last realistic shot at keeping his titles was an appeal fought by a
group he has maintained close ties to over the years. Indeed, in his
unsuccessful efforts in federal court to challenge USADA''s
jurisdiction, Armstrong argued that it was UCI that had the authority to
review the evidence against him.
USADA and UCI also have not
seen eye-to-eye on the Armstrong case. UCI previously has been critical
of USADA's actions, questioning the fairness of its process -- repeating
an argument Armstrong has made relentlessly -- and even trying to take
over the investigation at one point.
USADA said in July that such a take-over would be like "the fox guarding the hen house."
a testy exchange of letters last summer, USADA noted UCI's history of
lax oversight when it was in charge of anti-doping enforcement, an era
now viewed as dominated by doping. USADA also accused UCI of being
overly friendly with Armstrong, pointing out that the cyclist previously
had given donations to UCI of as much as $200,000.
the evidence file is the sworn statement of former cycling teammate
Tyler Hamilton, who testified that Armstrong tested positive for EPO at
the 2001 Tour of Switzerland but that Armstrong told him he was going to
have a meeting with UCI "and everything was going to be OK" -- an
alleged cover-up that the UCI has denied.
the end, UCI couldn't ignore the amount of evidence, especially the 26
witnesses who told investigators that Armstrong was a leader and key
figure in a long-running team doping conspiracy. On Oct. 10, USADA
released more than a 1,000 pages of details that told how Armstrong and
his teammates used banned drugs and blood transfusions to boost
performance while also using sophisticated means to avoid testing
"I was sickened by what I read," McQuaid said.
pledged that UCI would use the report to help further clean up the
sport that has been mired in doping scandals that includes Armstrong and
former teammates Floyd Landis and Alberto Contador being stripping of
Tour de France titles in the past 14 years of the race.
"It's the biggest crisis cycling has ever faced," McQuaid.
evidence persuaded almost all of Armstrong's sponsors to terminate
their relationship with him, including Nike and Trek, which made the
bikes Armstrong rode to his seven Tour victories. One holdout sponsor,
sunglasses company Oakley, said last week it was awaiting UCI's decision
before determining if it would continue its sponsorship of Armstrong.
also announced Wednesday he would step down as chairman of Livestrong,
the cancer-fighting charity he founded, but said he would remain active
in the group and appear at its events.
He did that over the
weekend at Livestrong's 15th anniversary celebration in his hometown of
Austin, Texas, but Armstrong avoided discussing the USADA evidence and
loss of his sponsors.
Instead, he encouraged attendees to keep up
their work in support of Livestrong and allowed that, for him, it had
been a "difficult couple of weeks."