Geneva, Oct 22: The International Cycling Union (UCI) has imposed a life ban on Lance Armstrong, who has been accused of consistently using performance enhancing substances, and stripped him of all his Tour de France titles.
Earlier this month, the cyclist was banned for life by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) after it found "overwhelming" proof that he had successfully evaded drug testers throughout most of his career.
Today, UCI made it clear that they will back USADA's decision on the life ban. "UCI will not appeal to the Court of Arbitration and recognise the sanctions USADA has imposed (on Armstrong)," said the union's president Pat McQuaid.
Stating that the disgraced cyclist will be stripped of the seven Tour de France titles, McQuaid averred: "Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling." The UCI president stressed that the cyclist "deserves to be forgotten."
Several erstwhile members of the United States Postal Service Team have testified against Armstrong. On the basis of their sworn affidavits, USADA noted that he was part of "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping program."
The agency also said that "All those who knew about the program were compelled by Armstrong to stick to a "code of silence" about the illegal activities."
According to USADA, Armstrong won his first Tour de France in 1999 by using the prohibited blood booster erythropoietin (EPO) and testosterone. The agency pointed out that "Lance Armstrong did not just use drugs, he supplied them to his team-mates."
As many as 11 erstwhile members of the US Postal Service team have confessed to regularly using banned substances. George Hincapie who used to ride on the US Postal Service team admitted to being "generally aware that Lance was using testosterone" throughout the time they were teammates.
"For instance at a race in Spain in 2000, Lance indicated to me that he had taken testosterone. Lance told me that he was feeling good and recovered, that he had just taken some "oil". When I heard that drug testing officials were at the hotel, I texted Lance to warn him to avoid the place. As a result, Lance dropped out of the race," Hincapie recounted.
The USADA report that was released on Oct 10 contained the testimonies of Floyd Landis, Tom Danielson, Frankie Andreu, Stephen Swart, Christian Vande Velde, Tyler Hamilton, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Barry, Jonathan Vaughters and David Zabriskie.