27 Oct 2012

No winner for 1999-2005 Tours, says UCI

7:07 am on 27 October 2012

Seven successive Tour de France races from 1999-2005 have been officially declared as having no winners, after the International Cycling Union, the UCI decided nobody would replace the disgraced Lance Armstrong as champion.

The decision was widely expected given that so many riders who finished behind Armstrong have also been associated with doping offences.

The 41-year-old Texan was stripped of his titles and banned from the sport for life on Tuesday, when the UCI ratified the United States Anti-Doping Agency's decision to nullify his results from August 1998 onward.

Cycling's governing body also called on the American and other disgraced riders to return prize money they had received and said it would set up a "fully independent external commission" to investigate allegations made against it over the Armstrong affair.

Germany's Jan Ullrich finished runner-up to Armstrong three times in the Tour de France but said two months ago he was indifferent as to whether he was handed the titles.

Ullrich, who won the Tour in 1997, was himself found guilty of doping by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in February, in relation to the Operation Puerto blood-doping scandal that engulfed cycling six years ago.

CAS annulled his results from 2005 until his retirement two years later.

The other riders to finish second to Armstrong were Alex Zuelle of Switzerland in 1999, Joseba Beloki of Spain (2002), German Andreas Kloeden (2004) and Italian Ivan Basso (2005).

Zuelle was part of the Festina team thrown out of the 1998 Tour de France after team manager Bruno Roussel confessed the existence of "an organised doping system."

Basso was banned for two years in 2007 for his involvement in Spain's Operation Puerto scandal.