Lance Armstrong Stripped of Seven Tour de France Titles, Banned for Life

Cyclist's fall from grace complete after the sport's governing body approves sanctions against him

By Josh Grossberg Oct 22, 2012 1:17 PMTags
Lance ArmstrongMichelly Rall/Getty Images

It's official.

After the International Cycling Union announced on Monday it had no plans to appeal the United States Anti-Doping Agency's ruling banning Lance Armstrong from the sport for life, the cycling legend was formally stripped of his seven consecutive Tour de France titles.

The ICU's decision came in the wake of a scathing USADA report two weeks ago which claimed that during his tenure on the U.S. Postal Service and Discovery Channel teams, the 41-year-old Armstrong headed up "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that the sport has ever seen."

The evidence also included damning testimony from 11 of Lance's former teammates, who allege Armstrong helped to conceal the use of banned substances including the blood booster EPO, used high-tech methods to evade detection, and arm-twisted his fellow riders into participating in the conspiracy during his historic Tour de France run.

Despite Armstrong's repeated denials that he ever cheated by using performance-enhancing drugs and was the victim of a "witch hunt," the athlete announced in August that he would no longer fight the USADA charges against him via arbitration hearings.

Consequently, per the New York Times, today's decision by the cycling union not to take Armstrong's case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport—Olympic sports' highest governing authority—means he's now formally been wiped clean from the record books.

The Amaury Sport Organization, which organizes the Tour de France, has now vacated the cancer survivor's victories from 1999 to 2005. And because of the rampant doping that occurred during the Armstrong era, the organization said it had no plans to give the wins to runners-up. Instead, those tours would have no winner—a big asterisk to say the least.

Last week, Armstrong stepped down as chairman of Livestrong, the cancer-fighting nonprofit he founded so the controversy surrounding his career would not distract from Livestrong's mission.

On the same day, longtime sponsor Nike and a host of other companies that have ties to the sports icon severed their business relationships with him.

Speaking at a Livestrong gala in Austin, Texas, a few days later, the disgraced athlete told the assembled crowd, "I've been better, but I've also been worse."