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LANCE ARMSTRONG SCANDAL

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Tour left winnerless after Armstrong ban

The 1999-2005 Tour de France races will have no winners attributed to them, embattled world cycling officials announced Friday, ordering doping-tainted icon Lance Armstrong to repay his prize money.

Tour left winnerless after Armstrong ban
Photo: McSmit

The International Cycling Union (UCI) this week effectively erased Armstrong from the cycling history books when it decided not to appeal sanctions imposed on the American by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

A damning report by USADA last week concluded that Armstrong helped orchestrate the most sophisticated doping programme in the history of sport.   

An UCI management committee on Friday "acknowledged that decisive action was needed in response to the report".

Armstrong will now lose all of his results from 1998, the year he resumed racing after successfully battling cancer, and a year before the first of his seven consecutive yellow jersey wins from 1999-2005.

"With respect to Lance Armstrong and the implications of the USADA sanctions which it endorsed on Monday 22 October, the management committee decided not to award victories to any other rider or upgrade other placings in any of the affected events," the UCI said.

"The committee decided to apply this ruling from now on to any competitive sporting results disqualified due to doping for the period from 1998 to 2005, without prejudice to the statute of limitation."

The UCI added: "The committee also called on Armstrong and all other affected riders to return the prize money they had received."

The UCI justified its decision not to re-attribute podium spots on the Tour as a point of principle.

"The UCI Management Committee acknowledged that a cloud of suspicion would remain hanging over this dark period – but that while this might appear harsh for those who rode clean, they would understand there was little honour to be gained in reallocating places," it said.

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SPORT

Inaugural Women’s Tour de France to start at Eiffel Tower

The route for the inaugural women's Tour de France was unveiled on Thursday with eight stages, embarking from the Eiffel Tower on July 24th next year.

French cyclist Marion Rousse delivers a speech next to Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme during the presentation of the first edition of the Women's Tour de France cycling race.
French cyclist Marion Rousse delivers a speech next to Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme during the presentation of the first edition of the Women's Tour de France cycling race. Photo: Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP.

The first complete edition of the women’s version of cycling’s iconic race starts on the day the 109th edition of the men’s Tour ends.

After a route that winds through northern France, the race culminates in the Planche des Belles Filles climb in the Vosges mountains.

Danish cyclist Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig said she was over the moon to be taking part.

“I want it to be July now so we can get stared,” she said actually jumping up and down.

“The Tour de France is a reference and when you say you are a cyclist people ask about that. Now I can say I race the Tour de France,” she said after the presentation.

MAP: Details of 2022 Tour de France (and Denmark) revealed

Race director Marion Rousse, a former French cycling champion and now a TV commentator, told AFP it would be a varied course that would maintain suspense over the eight days.

“It is coherent in a sporting sense, and we wanted to start from Paris,” she said of the 1,029km run.

“With only eight stages we couldn’t go down to the Alps or the Pyrenees, the transfers would be too long.

“The stages obviously are shorter for the women than for the men’s races. The men can go 225 kilometres. For the women the longest race on our roster is 175km and we even needed special dispensation for that,” she said. “But it’s a course I love.”

Christian Prudhomme, the president of the Tour de France organisers, was equally enthusiastic.

“The fact it sets off from Paris the day the men’s race ends gives the new race a boost because it sets the media up to follow it more easily.

“It also means that with the Tour de France starting on July 1st and the women’s race ending on the 31st, there will be cycling on television every day of July.”

The men’s race is broadcast in around 190 countries.

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