Lance Armstrong told to return Tour de France prize money
THE seven Tour de France titles stripped from Lance Armstrong will not be awarded to any riders, and the disgraced American and his team-mates should return their prize money, cycling’s governing body ruled yesterday.
Acknowledging “a cloud of suspicion would remain hanging over this dark period”, the UCI said the list of Tour winners will remain blank for the years from 1999 to 2005.
“This might appear harsh for those who rode clean [but] they would understand there was little honour to be gained in reallocating places,” the UCI said after a board meeting in Geneva.
The UCI said Armstrong and “all other affected riders” in the case should return their prize money. That amounts to almost $4 million (£2.48m) in Tour money from Armstrong.
Armstrong’s lawyer Sean Breen declined to comment on the prize money demand. The cycling body also ordered an independent investigation to examine allegations about the UCI’s own conduct and relations with Armstrong raised by the US Anti-Doping Agency report that detailed systematic cheating by the Texan and his team-mates.
UCI has been accused of accepting $125,000 (£77,650) from Armstrong to cover up suspicious doping tests. Riders and officials involved in doping programmes will also be targeted by the inquiry commission.
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