Lance Armstrong’s competition ban and removal as winner of a record seven Tour de France titles won’t be appealed by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency stripped the 1999-2005 victories from Armstrong last month and banned him for life from events it sanctions following an investigation into doping throughout his career. The International Cycling Union, known by the French acronym UCI, then opted not to appeal USADA’s findings, leaving WADA as the next governing body with a chance to appeal the American agency’s ruling.
Montreal-based WADA found that after a “full and careful review” of all the elements of the case, including the application of the statute of limitations, USADA’s actions were “proper and supported by case law,” it said today in a news release. WADA also said it didn’t agree with UCI criticism of USADA’s handling of the investigation.
“WADA has no such concerns as to the complete process and the overwhelming weight of evidence,” John Fahey, its president, said in a statement. “Rather, it is of the opinion that the actions of USADA have highlighted the need in all cases for athletes to be able to come forward with evidence that will help rid sport of doping cheats.”
Colorado Springs, Colorado-based USADA cited a career “fueled start to finish by doping” by the 41-year-old Armstrong, revealing the results of its investigation in a 202- page summary that included sworn testimony from 26 people, including 15 riders with direct knowledge of doping activity on Armstrong’s U.S. Postal Service pro cycling team.
Armstrong, who throughout his career denied doping and said he never failed a drug test, was banned after opting not to contest USADA’s decision before an arbitration board.
An e-mail seeking comment about WADA’s decision sent to Tim Herman, an attorney for Armstrong, wasn’t immediately returned.
Fahey also called for “genuine independence” in a UCI plan to set up an external commission that will look into its governance of the sport and how it handled issues relating to Armstrong, which include accepting financial donations from the American. Three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond on Oct. 25 called on UCI President Pat McQuaid to quit over how he ran the sport.
“Only with the necessary independence and terms of reference will the inquiry be able to properly address the systemic culture of doping that was allowed to develop in cycling during this time,” Fahey said.
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