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If Lance Armstrong Is Stripped, No One May Get His Tour De France Titles

Two days after the United States Anti-Doping Agency's release of the evidence it says shows that cyclist Lance Armstrong was part of "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen," the head of the Tour de France has said the world's most famous race will officially have no winners of the seven Tours that Armstrong won if he is stripped of those titles.

"In an interview with The Associated Press on Friday, Tour director Christian Prudhomme called the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's report on Armstrong 'damning.' It raises doubts, he said, about 'a system and an era.' "

"We cannot be indifferent to what USADA has uncovered," Prudhomme also said today, according to The Guardian. "It is a dark and deeply disturbing picture. It has called into question a system and an entire era which remains stained for ever. It is a lost decade."

Armstrong has always insisted he is innocent. His attorney has called USADA's case against Armstrong a "one-sided hatchet job."

While USADA has banned Armstrong from sanctioned competitions and said it no longer recognizes his Tour titles, the International Cycling Union (UCI) could still appeal that decision, as the BBC notes. But ICI is not expected to do that — which would then give the Tour the opportunity to take the actions Prudhomme has endorsed.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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