27 October 2012

Winner 1999-2005 none #TDF

Earlier this year I looked at what would happen if Lance Armstrong were removed as winner of the Tour de France from 1999 - 2005. I used a zero tolerance approach for any rider associated with drug taking through their career, including as a result of the Lance Armstrong case if there seemed to be team wide offenses in a team they were in.

As I pointed out at the time all of those who came second had been  either part of the Festina team from 1998, named in Operation Puerto, or part of the 2007 Astana Team. There was nobody totally above suspicion on the second step of any of Armstrong's podiums. Beloki from 2002 had been cleared and Klöden in 2004 did not fail any tests. But then as we know as it has been often quoted by the UCI and others neither had Armstrong.

The decision of the UCI yesterday to not upgrade anyone in any of Armstrong's stripped titles would seem to suggest that they also don't want any further tainting from the past to affect the future. Much as Team Sky have since taken a relook at their zero tolerance programme in removing Bobby Julich from their set up, the decision seems to be a new perspective on things.

Although the continuation of suing Paul Kimmage who has been acknowledged by UCI President Pat McQuaid as a constant whistle blower in the sport seems contrary to this decision on Friday. But one American is calling for McQuaid to quit; now the only American winner of rewritten Tour history* , 3 time victor, Greg LeMond. He has written on Facebook:
"I have never seen such an abuse of power in cycling's history. Resign, Pat, if you love cycling. Resign even if you hate the sport.
"I want to tell the world of cycling to please join me in telling Pat McQuaid to resign.

"The sport does not need Pat McQuaid or Hein Verbruggen - if this sport is going to change it is now. Not next year, not down the road, now! Now or never!
"People that really care about cycling have the power to change cycling." 

He is joined in that call by Tyler Hamilton who is one of  those who has come clean to his doping in Armstrong's teams.

Update McQuaid and Verbruggen had called off their plans to sue Kimmage.

* As well as Armstrong, Floyd Landis was stripped of his win in 2006.

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