From 1999 to 2005, there will be no Tour de France champion. Everything Lance Armstrong did in his cycling career is erased, in shame, in anger, in venom. A lot of people were waiting around the corner for his fall, and a lot of people might be wanting their money back.
In 2006, a year after his seventh consecutive Tour de France triumph, a laboratory in Chatenay-Malabry reported the presence of EPO in the urine of most of the leading cyclists, including Armstrong. But the International Cycling Union chose not to open a disciplinary procedure.
It was big news in France, but not much beyond that elsewhere. The French always seemed to dislike Armstrong, but maybe there was something behind there accusations beyond patriotic feelings. Now they can gloat, except this makes the Tour de France even less credible than it already was due to all the scandals of the past decade and more. In the 2005, all the top 7 finishers have been implicated or been involved in some way with drug related scandals. The “winner” should be Cadel Evans, who finished in 8th place.
And then there’s the money issue. Armstrong has already erased the “7 times winner of the Tour de France” from his twitter page. Now, the Tour might ask for its winnings and bonuses back from all these years. SCA Promotions claims it is owed £4.7 million for a bonus payment paid to the American. They may not be the last to ask for money from the man who served and still serves as an inspiration to millions.
Nike have distanced themselves away from Armstrong, but haven’t made any announcments regarding anything financial. Sometimes, the shame of it all is enough to leave everyone satisfied from justice being served and moving on. Armstrong, as long as he doesn’t appeal and tries to clear his name, if something that can make it happen actually exist, is a banished man in the eyes of the Cycling world and most of those who follow sports. The USADA were aggressive in pursuing him, maybe for more than the right reasons, but the truth and hornet’s nest exposed leaves no doubt.
Big companies love money more than anything else, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them go after it. The world, with this crazy human trait of loving seeing an underdog succeed and a champion getting torn to shreds, might be in the beginning of the process of one of the most exposed and painful destruction of a champion, a former hero and idol to so many, because he did the worst thing an athlete can do – cheat, and eventually get caught.