MOSCOW, October 26 (RIA Novosti)
The Tour de France is to remain without an official winner for the years in which suspected doping cheat Lance Armstrong came first, the Union Cycliste International said Friday.
Armstrong won cycling's most famous race each year between 1999 and 2005, but was stripped of all his titles Monday by the UCI after the publication of a US Anti-Doping Agency report stating that Armstrong doped throughout his career.
Armstrong has repeatedly and vigorously denied accusations that he took performance-enhancing drugs, though in August he announced he would cease fighting the charges, portraying himself as the victim of a witch-hunt.
“The Management Committee decided not to award victories to any other rider or upgrade other placings in any of the affected events,” the UCI said of Armstrong’s Tour wins in a website statement.
Suggestions to pass each of the titles to other riders had proved controversial because of the endemic nature of drug use in cycling while Armstrong dominated.
In five of the seven years Armstrong won the Tour de France, the second-place rider has either tested positive for illegal substances, admitted to doping or been found guilty of doping offences.
More races could yet remain without winners, the UCI said, stating that “any competitive sporting results disqualified due to doping for the period from 1998 to 2005” will be subject to the same measures in the future.
The UCI also said it would suspend a lawsuit for defamation against Paul Kimmage, an Irish journalist who has written extensively about doping in cycling and its links to Armstrong and the UCI.
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