What next for the ace cyclist?
When and how will Lance Armstrong be stripped of his Tour de France titles?
The US Anti-Doping Agency has announced that it is sanctioning Armstrong for doping and would strip him of his Tour titles.
It will be up to the International Cycling Union, the world’s governing body of cycling – which is a signatory of the World Anti-Doping Code – and organisations like the Amaury Sport Organisation, which runs the Tour de France, and the International Olympic Committee to enforce the ban and strip Armstrong of the titles and awards he won since August 1998 (the starting date of his alleged doping violations). Under the World Anti-Doping Code, those organisations are obliged to honour USADA’s sanction.
When and if Armstrong is stripped of his Tour titles, who are the official winners?
Technically, the second-place riders would move into the top spot. But you never know how ASO, the company that runs the Tour, will handle it. (Bjarne Riis admitted to doping when he won the 1996 Tour, but it was outside the eight-year statute of limitations. He is still listed as the 1996 Tour winner on the Tour’s website.)
In 1999, Armstrong’s first Tour victory, Alex Zulle of Switzerland finished second. In 2000, 2001 and 2003, Germany’s Jan Ullrich was the runner-up. (He later served a doping ban for his involvement in the Operation Puerto blood-doping ring, but that ban did not begin until 2005.) In 2002, Joseba Beloki of Spain was second. In 2004, Andreas Kloden of Germany was second. (He also was connected to a scandal regarding blood doping at the Freiburg University Clinic before the 2006 Tour.) In 2005, Ivan Basso of Italy finished second. (He served a two-year ban in 2007 and 2008 after admitting that he “attempted doping,” although he denied doping.)
What happens next?
Both the International Cycling Union and the World Anti-Doping Agency have the right to appeal USADA’s ruling. And the cycling union will likely do just that, considering it fought USADA for jurisdiction over the case. If it appeals, the case will go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The court could overturn USADA’s ruling. Or, possibly, it could give the cycling union jurisdiction over the case.