Armstrong ordered to return prize money

Lance Armstrong has been ordered to return the prize money from his seven Tour de France victories.

Cycling News: Lance Armstrong.

However, the International Cycling Union leadership again resisted pressure to resign and attempted to move on from a scandal which has engulfed the sport.

The UCI on Monday ratified the decision taken by the United States Anti-Doping Agency to ban Armstrong for life and strip him of all results since August 1998, including his seven successive Tour wins. The 41-year-old declined the opportunity to cooperate with USADA.

At a special meeting of the UCI's management committee, it was ruled the 1999 to 2005 Tours will be forever without a winner and Armstrong and all other affected riders were told to return prize money won while using performance-enhancing drugs.

Results following any future disqualifications relating to 1998 to 2005 will not be reallocated.

The UCI has come under intense criticism and scrutiny before and since the publication of USADA's 1,000-page reasoned decision document, which concluded Armstrong and his United States Postal Service team ran "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen".

Three-time Tour winner Greg LeMond is among those to call for a change of leadership but president Pat McQuaid and his predecessor Hein Verbruggen, now honorary president, have stood firm.

Allegations were levelled at the UCI for accepting donations from Armstrong and, although any wrongdoing is denied, the management committee will commission an independent investigation.

The UCI statement added: "In order to ensure that UCI and cycling could move forward with the confidence of all parties, the governing body also decided to establish a fully independent external commission to look into the various allegations made about UCI relating to the Armstrong affair.

"The committee agreed that part of the independent commission's remit would be to find ways to ensure that persons caught for doping were no longer able to take part in the sport, including as part of an entourage."

Moves will begin next month, with recommendations to be published no later than June 1, 2013.

"UCI is determined to turn around this painful episode in the history of our sport," McQuaid said.

"We will take whatever actions are deemed necessary by the independent commission and we will put cycling back on track.

"Today, cycling is a completely different sport from what it was in the period 1998-2005. Riders are now subject to the most innovative and effective anti-doping procedures and regulations in sport.

"Nevertheless, we have listened to the world's reaction to the Lance Armstrong affair and have taken these additional decisive steps in response to the grave concerns raised."

Pending the results of the independent report, defamation proceedings against Paul Kimmage, a former cyclist and Sunday Times journalist, have been suspended, the UCI confirmed.



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