The Tour de France will recover from the Lance Armstrong affair, director Christian Prudhomme said as he reiterated his wish that the American’s seven titles are not re-awarded when the International Cycling Union (UCI) meets on Friday.
The (UCI) banned the retired rider for life and stripped him of his 1999-2005 victories on Monday after ratifying the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s report which both organisations said exposed Armstrong as a serial doper.
“The Tour de France will recover,” Prudhomme told a news conference.
“I remind you that the organisers do not chose which riders participate or do not.”
Prudhomme also reckoned the UCI has more work to do.
“The UCI has to draw all the conclusions from this case. It has to sanction Armstrong’s circle too,” he said.
“Above all, this is the story of a great talent – he was world champion at the age of 21 – who erred. Armstrong’s aura is so huge that it goes well beyond cycling.”
UCI president Pat McQuaid told Reuters that the management committee of cycling governing body’s would make its decision regarding Armstrong’s Tour titles on Friday.
“We’re going to decide on Friday. We’re going to announce that on Friday,” McQuaid said, stressing that the decision was up to the UCI, not the Tour de France organisers.
Prudhomme agreed that the decision was up to the UCI but given the widespread nature of doping throughout the peloton in the Armstrong years, he hopes no new Tour winners are named.
“There will be no winner. We want a blank list. But the final decision is up to the UCI,” he said.
“As for the money, UCI rules are very clear – when a rider is stripped of the results which earned him the prize money, he has to reimburse.”
The Tour, cycling’s landmark stage race, will celebrate its 100th edition next year.