Cycling’s ruling body won’t award the titles stripped from Lance Armstrong for doping to any runners-up. They include Jan Ullrich, who was also found to be using blood transfusions to cheat.
The Union Cycliste Internationale, which on Oct. 22 endorsed a decision to strip Armstrong of his record seven Tour de France wins, said today in an e-mailed statement that a “cloud of suspicion would remain hanging over this dark period.”
Armstrong, who has denied doping for more than a decade, declined to contest allegations presented by the U.S. Anti- Doping Agency.
Germany’s Ullrich, a three-time runner-up to Armstrong between 1999 and 2005, was found guilty of blood doping in February this year. Switzerland’s Alex Zuelle, Joseba Beloki of Spain, Germany’s Andreas Kloeden and Ivan Basso also finished second to Armstrong in those years. Basso, an Italian, has served a two-year doping ban.
Blood doping is the re-infusion of an athlete’s blood to boost the number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells, a method which can improve stamina.
Acknowledging that some riders who contested leading positions may have rode the Tour without doping in those years, the UCI said there was “little honor” remaining in reallocating places.
The UCI said it was calling for Armstrong and riders found to have used drugs to cheat by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to return prize money they received. The French cycling federation estimates Armstrong, 41, won 3 million euros ($3.9 million) in prizes during his career.
The UCI said it would ask another sports body to set up an external commission to look into how the cycling authority handled issues relating to Armstrong, which include accepting financial donations. Three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond yesterday called on UCI president Pat McQuaid to quit over his governance of the sport.
McQuaid replaced Hein Verbruggen in 2005.
The commission, which will report its findings by June 2013, will be asked to find ways to ban people caught doping from participating in professional cycling, the UCI said.
To contact the reporters on this story: Alex Duff in Madrid at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at at email@example.com