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'Return Tour prize money'

Disgraced Lance Armstrong could be forced to repay his Tour de France winnings after being stripped of his seven titles for doping offences.

The UCI, cycling’s world governing body, ratified the sanctions recommended by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, who concluded Armstrong and his United States Postal Service team ran “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen”.


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Armstrong was banned for life and all his results from August 1, 1998 removed, including his wins at the Tour from 1999 to 2005.

Decision on Friday
The UCI management committee will meet on Friday to discuss the “exact sporting consequences” of the decision, including whether the titles and prize money will be re-distributed.

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme believes the race must not have a victor in the Armstrong years.

‘Clean record’
Prudhomme said: “The formal decision has to be taken by the UCI but for us, we must have a clean record. This period must be marked by the absence of winners. The UCI rules are clear. When a rider is disqualified, he must pay the prize money back.”

The International Olympic Committee will await Friday’s UCI meeting and further information before a decision is made on the bronze medal Armstrong won in Sydney in 2000.

Armstrong, who battled back from cancer to return to professional cycling, has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and refused to co-operate with the USADA investigation. 

Armstrong asked to give back bonus payments too
Lance Armstrong has been asked to repay a disputed bonus payment after being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, a Texas lawyer has confirmed.

The 41-year-old received a bonus payment of five million US dollars after a legal battle with SCA Promotions, who had declined to pay the sum in the belief the American had doped to win his seven Tours titles between 1999 and 2005.

Now the International Cycling Union (UCI) has ratified sanctions demanded by the United States Anti-Doping Agency — namely the removal of all results dating from August 1, 1998 and a life ban — SCA Promotions will request the return of monies paid.

Jeff Tillotson, lawyer for SCA Promotions, told Press Association Sport: “Our contract with Mr Armstrong required us to make payments to him if he was the official winner of a certain number of Tour de France races: his fourth win, his fifth win and his sixth win. Now that he has been stripped of those titles — he is no longer the official winner of any Tour de France race — it is inappropriate and improper for him to keep those bonus amounts and we will be demanding them back and pursuing appropriate legal action if he does not return them. We are beginning now to start that process. We’ll be demanding the money back and then we will be pursuing appropriate legal action.”

Another doping admission...
Another former US Postal teammate of disgraced Lance Armstrong, Steffen Kjaergaard, yesterday admitted to using banned blood booster EPO. “Everything was organised by the team,” Kjaergaard told a press conference. “I can personally assume that there were a certain number of others involved in doping,” he added. 

No ‘Tour’ winner on Twitter account
Lance Armstrong, stripped of seven Tour de France titles and cast into cycling oblivion on Monday, apparently acknowledged the decision on Twitter. The phrase “7-time Tour de France winner” evaporated from Armstrong’s profile on his social networking site. Now, his profile describes him as: “Raising my 5 kids. Fighting Cancer. Swim, bike, run and golf whenever I can.” 

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