The headlines are everywhere: “Lance Armstrong Stripped Of Tour De France Titles.” Even ESPN led with this on SportsCenter this evening (emphasis ours)…
“The U.S. Anti Doping Agency has banned Lance Armstrong from cycling for life and has stripped him of his seven Tour de France titles for doping.”
There is one small problem: it is simply not true (yet). And it may never be true.
This ruling was handed down by the UNITED STATES Anti Doping Agency. And the simple fact is that the races in question took place in France and are under the jurisdiction of Tour de France officials and the International Cycling Union.
The USADA can recommend the titles be stripped. And under typical circumstances, the governing bodies would accept the recommendation. But Lance Armstrong is not a typical circumstance. And in fact, the International Cycling Union has challenged the USADA’s authority on this matter, and are likely to ignore the recommendation.
And this is the stance that Armstrong is taking (via ESPN.com). “USADA cannot assert control of a professional international sport and attempt to strip my seven Tour de France titles,” said Armstrong.
So while Armstrong is no longer challenging the USADA’s charges. It would appear that he is not done challenging their authority over his Tour titles. So until the International Cycling Union and Tour de France officials take away the titles, Armstrong is still a 7-time champion.
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