The Armstrong myth and its seven Tours of France, at the mercy of the UCI

The highest body, accused of having protected its champion, decides this Monday whether or not to confirm the punishment imposed by the Used

Lance Armstrong could disappear this Monday from the Tour de France record as a seven-time champion of the race if the International Cycling Union (UCI) decides to confirm the punishment imposed by the American Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) on the former Texan cyclist. Rarely has the decision of a sports federation been so long awaited. The UCI, which will not make its decision public at its Swiss headquarters in Aigle, has summoned the press to a hotel in Geneva, starting at 13.00:XNUMX p.m.

The past 24 of August, the Usada decided to erase all the winners of Armstrong from the 1 of August of 1998 and suspend him for life of the competition. However, only the maximum organism of the world-wide cycling can make valid this sanction beyond the American territory, mainly in reference to its victories in the Tour de France between 1999 and 2005.

"Except if the examination of the documents shows a major problem, the UCI does not intend to appeal" the decision of the Used, has repeated many times, since the month of September, the president of the UCI, Pat MacQuaid. The UCI was expecting the USAID report first of all to verify possible problems of "competition and prescription", but the international cycling body has already received a wrench.

In its report published on October 10, Usada explains how the cyclist survivor of testicular cancer was able to stand out in the peloton with the injections of erythropoietin (EPO), blood transfusions and testosterone pills, and accused of passing the UCI to have protected its champion.

La Usada pointed a finger at her former president, Hein Verbruggen, still the honorary president, and she is not very tender to her successor since 2005, Pat McQuaid, who, instead, according to the US agency, heard the confessions of Floyd Landis , one of Armstrong's ex-partners, at 2010, took him to trial for defamation.

If it confirms the decision of the Used one, the 'Armstrong case' will be closed at the sport level and the UCI will try to pass page of the black years of the cycling. But the report of the US agency, which speaks of "one of the most sordid chapters in the history of sport," has become an official version.

Despite the risk of being accused of following the game once again to Armstrong, the UCI also has good reasons not to ratify the sanction and go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on appeal. On the one hand, to give his version of the facts and, on the other, to request a sanction that is framed within the same scales as those of other great cycling stars of the 'Armstrong era' condemned by doping, from the Spanish Alejandro Valverde to the German Jan Ullrich.

Money and threat of jail

The World Anti-Doping Code normally sets the statute of limitations for anti-doping offenses in eight years and four times the maximum duration of a first conviction suspension. However, the Usada has decided to bypass those rules for the reason that Armstrong did everything to hide his fraudulent acts.

At his 41 years, the Texas excist could lose more than a few lines in one of the most extensive track records in the history of sport. For the moment, he has already resigned from the presidency of his Livestrong foundation and has lost several sponsors, including the Nike firm, which supported him from 1996. Financially he could also suffer, since the nine million euros of accumulated earnings on his bicycle could be claimed.

After the sports justice, the 1993 world champion could also have problems in the legal field in the United States. He could be accused of perjury, for having affirmed under oath that he had never been doped, with the risk of ending up in prison.

On Friday, at a gala on the occasion of the 15 years of its founding in Austin (Texas), Armstrong quoted Martin Luther King and his "infinite hope". A hope that lies in the ICU.

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