UCI on Armstrong – live!

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Look back on the whole Armstrong saga

12.32pm: First mention of Rabobank withdrawal from the sport. “The sponsors that we have understand the work the UCI is doing and understand that attitudes in teams and their entourage have changed.” McQuaid confident that Rabobank will be replaced.

12.30pm: How can you find a new path forward? “Sport advances and the fight against doping advances,” says McQuaid. “The tools we have now are much more advanced than they were in the early 2000s.”

12.27pm: UCI press pack says that Armstrong was tested 218 times, notes @NHoultCricket on Twitter. Armstrong always claimed he was the most tested athlete in the world with over 500 tests.

12.25pm: Philippe Verbiest, the UCI lawyer, in answer to a question about Landis’s statements in the report and the UCI’s decision to sue him previously. “The only problem UCI had with Floyd Landis was him saying the positive test had been covered up. There was no positive test,” says Verbiest.

12.22pm: McQuaid says placings for the seven Lance Tours will be discussed in the Friday meeting. Maybe they should’ve had that meeting before today? It’s quite an important one.

12.20pm: How can cycling go forward when some of the men involved with the running of teams are former dopers? “It is possible that people who have made mistakes in the past can help the sport in the future.”

12.18pm: How will Armstrong be remembered? “Armstrong deserves to be forgotten in cycling now.” To an extent I agree, but surely you keep him in mind as an example and a cautionary lesson for the future.

12.16pm: Which part of the report most surprised McQuaid? “I have to admit I was sickened by what I read in the Usada report. The story of how Zabriskie was coerced, and in some ways forced, into doping is mind-boggling.”

12.15pm: Will UCI support efforts to get prize money back from Tour de France wins? “This is one of the things that we’ll be discussing at a special committee on Friday. We’ll need a change of rules.”

12.13pm: McQuaid also making clear he wasn’t UCI president at the time of Armstrong’s Tour wins. He took the position in 2006. If that the Nomfup defence?

12.12pm: McQuaid: “I’m sorry that we couldn’t catch every damn one of them and throw them out of the sport at the time.”

12.11pm: McQuaid now saying that the UCI didn’t have the right tools at the time. “When EPO came in the whole situation changed.”

12.09pm: So far it’s as predicted. Armstrong scrubbed from history. UCI and McQuaid sticking to their guns (or ignoring the things they, for some reason, haven’t got round to looking at yet).

12.07pm: Is McQuaid’s position tenable? “Why took over as president I made the fight against doping my priority. It remains my priority … there’s still more work to be done. I have no intention of resigning.”

12.06pm: Question on wider implications of report. McQuaid: “The UCI has concentrated on the Usada report in relation to Lance Armstrong and the other riders. We haven’t got into the other elements in the report.”

12.05pm: “Something like this must never happen again,” says McQuaid.

12.04pm: McQuaid: “Armstrong has no place in cycling.”

12.03pm: UCI confirm they will strip Armstrong of his seven titles.

12.03pm: McQuaid: This is not the first time that cycling have reached a crossroads … it will find a new path foreward.

12.01pm: Introductions out of the way, president Pat McQuaid to start …

11.59am: Right, here we go then. The press conference is due to begin at midday.

11.53am: The French newspaper Le Parisien are claiming that the UCI will accept Usada’s sanctions and strip Armstrong of his seven Tour titles, which could be, as they claim, an exclusive, or just a fairly safe stab.

11.46am: And it’s mentioned in the standfirst above, but worth mentioning again – all our Lance Armstrong-related content can be found by one easy click here. It goes right the way back to Armstrong’s early doping denials. Some of the pieces back then can remind you why there’s a real sadness behind this story to go along with the catharsis.

11.38am: The best piece of writing on Armstrong over the weekend came, in my book at least, from Paul Kimmage. Big reveal of Cancer Jesus is well worth checking out.

Preamble: Morning all. Whatever the UCI say in Geneva today this is a huge day for cycling. The governing body is to announce its response to the United States Anti-doping Agency’s scathing report on Lance Armstrong and the US Postal team that “ran most sophisticated doping scheme in sport”.

You wouldn’t put it past the UCI to buck the trend and leap to Armstrong’s defence but by far the most likely outcome, surely, will be the removal of the American’s seven Tour de France titles between 1999 and 2005, even if they opt not to endorse the conclusions of the Usada report wholesale.

Who will get them in his stead? This piece from Blazin Saddles illustrates the problem with that. Jan Ullrich, for example, came second three times behind Armstrong – in 2000, 2001 and 2003 – but has since seen all his results since 2005 wiped off due to doping. Might it not be a better option for the UCI, if they do indeed banish Armstrong’s record from the books, to simply leave the winner’s spot blank for those seven Tours as the strongest possible anti-doping statement.

The UCI itself also has some very awkward questions to answer. The UCI president, Pat McQuaid, has already successfully sued Floyd Landis after Armstrong’s former team-mate accused the governing body of a cover-up. Usada repeated those allegations in their report, with both Landis and Tyler Hamilton alleging that the UCI were aware of a positive EPO test for Armstrong at the 2001 Tour of Switzerland, a suggestion that the governing body have vehemently denied in the past and, presumably, will deny again today.

For a more thorough and in-depth rundown of the issues today, I’d advise a look at the always brilliant INRNG blog.

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