Lance Armstrong twice finished the New York City Marathon in under three hours, results that will probably be erased after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency stripped him of his record seven Tour de France cycling titles.
“I anticipate the results will come out of our archives,” Mary Wittenberg, president and chief executive officer of race organizer the New York Road Runners, said in an interview yesterday. “Lance doesn’t have a place in running because we will stick to the rules and support USADA.”
Armstrong, 41, finished the 2006 marathon in 2 hours, 59 minutes, 36 seconds and shaved almost 13 minutes off that result with a time of 2:46:43 in 2007 for 214th place among men.
USADA stripped Armstrong of his Tour de France wins and barred him from Olympic-related sports in August after the Texan opted not to contest doping charges in arbitration. USADA’s stand was upheld yesterday by the International Cycling Union, known by the French acronym UCI.
The UCI decision came after USADA released a 202-page summary of its findings on Oct. 10, which stated that Armstrong “engaged in serial cheating” throughout his career. Armstrong has denied performance-enhancing drug use.
NYRR will wait for the appeals process in the case to be completed before officially acting, Wittenberg said. The World Anti-Doping Agency or Armstrong can appeal the USADA ruling.
“The terms of his arrangement with USADA look like it will apply to say that those times should be erased,” Wittenberg said. An e-mail seeking comment from Annie Skinner, a spokeswoman for USADA, wasn’t immediately returned.
Armstrong also will be asked to repay $9.5 million given to him by SCA Promotions Inc., which paid bonuses for his fourth, fifth and sixth Tour de France titles.
Dallas-based SCA was sued by Armstrong and U.S. Postal Service team owner Tailwind Sports in 2004 for failing to pay a $5 million bonus owed to the cyclist for winning his sixth straight Tour de France, which came amid allegations of doping. It settled the suit in 2006, agreeing to pay the $5 million and $2.5 million in interest and legal fees.
“The entire arbitration award and payment by us was premised on the fact that Mr. Armstrong was the official winner of the Tour de France,” Jeffrey Tillotson, outside counsel for SCA, said yesterday in a telephone interview. “He is no longer that official winner and has no legal right to maintain or keep those bonus funds.”
Tillotson said that SCA also paid Armstrong a $1.5 million bonus in 2002 and $3 million in 2003 for his Tour de France wins. If Armstrong doesn’t repay the bonuses, Tillotson said SCA will pursue all legal avenues to collect.
“We’ll seek return of all of those funds,” Tillotson said. “You’re looking at $9.5 million in bonus. Plus interest and court costs brings it to close to $12 million.”
Armstrong yesterday was banned for life from cycling and UCI President Pat McQuaid said Armstrong “deserves to be forgotten” in the sport.
Armstrong lost most of his sponsors including Nike Inc. (NKE), Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (ABI) and Trek Bicycle Corp. after USADA published evidence from 11 former teammates on Oct. 10 that the 41-year-old cheated in winning seven straight Tour de France titles through 2005. Yesterday, sunglass maker Oakley said it was ending its relationship with the rider.
The Texan last week also stepped down as chairman of Livestrong, the cancer foundation he founded.
Livestrong will continue to be a partner of the NYC Marathon, said Wittenberg, who recalled Armstrong’s support for nine-time race winner Grete Waitz, who died in April (APR) 2011 five years after being diagnosed with cancer.
Armstrong, who didn’t know Waitz before Wittenberg mentioned that she was fighting the disease, immediately e- mailed the Norwegian to offer his support. Armstrong survived testicular cancer that spread to his lungs and brain.
“She said to me in that first year when she was fighting for her life and trying to stay on the treadmill and active and physically fit, Lance’s success against cancer buoyed her and really helped her believe she could beat it,” Wittenberg said of Waitz. “There’s no question that he helped her have the confidence and the will to fight the cancer and survive for the five years that she did.”
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