USA Cycling clarifies stance on Armstrong’s appearance in upcoming Alpine Odyssey 100k race
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Friday, September 14, 2012

USA Cycling clarifies stance on Armstrong’s appearance in upcoming Alpine Odyssey 100k race

by Shane Stokes at 1:51 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Verifies Texan can ride unsanctioned races only, UCI licence holders can be penalised

Lance ArmstrongWith Lance Armstrong set to sidestep his lifetime ban and compete in the Alpine Odyssey 100k mountain bike race in Crested Butte this Sunday, USA Cycling has explained its position on the Texan competing and also on such unsanctioned events.

“USA Cycling does not permit, sanction, license, or participate in the Alpine Odyssey in any manner, and therefore does not govern whether a banned rider can ride. If the Alpine Odyssey were a USA Cycling event, Lance Armstrong could not ride,” a spokesman told VeloNation in response to questions on the matter.

The statement underline USAC’s recognition of the ban handed down last month by the US Anti Doping Agency USADA, a sanction that was imposed after Armstrong said that he had no intention of contesting the serious charges laid out against him, including the use, provision and trafficking of banned substances.

USADA said that Armstrong was fully aware of the consequences of not going to arbitration. It has also stripped him of his competitive results since August 1998.

Although the UCI initially questioned USADA’s jurisdiction in the matter, more recently it has indicated that it is unlikely to appeal the sanction to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. “Unless USADA’s decision and file gives serious reasons to do otherwise, UCI has no intention to appeal to CAS or not to recognise USADA’s sanctions on Lance Armstrong,” spokesman Enrico Carpani told VeloNation this week.

Armstrong’s decision to ride the unsanctioned Alpine Odyssey has earned the event a media spotlight it might otherwise not have. This was acknowledged by race organizer Dave Ochs, who told told that he was glad Armstrong had decided to ride.

“The second we got the okay that he was coming, we were super excited about it,” he said. “It’ll raise the calibre of riders for sure.”

However USAC is clear that there could be consequences for certain classes of riders who compete in such races. “Many USA Cycling licensees are also licensed by UCI. UCI does have very clear rules that bar UCI licensees from riding in races that are not sanctioned by a national governing body,” it told VeloNation. “Because the Alpine Odyssey is not a sanctioned race, any UCI licensee who rides in the event (even if Lance Armstrong were not to ride) would be subject to fines and suspensions for violation of that UCI rule.”

A large number of riders are expected to take part, including the teenager Keegan Swirbul, who beat Armstrong in last month’s Power of Four race in Aspen. However he doesn’t appear to be in danger of any sanctions; while he holds a USAC licence, spokesman Jesse Hammond explained that the restriction on unsanctioned events only applies to those who also have UCI licences.

Anyone who is a professional in the US is required to have one” he said. “But for amateurs, that rule doesn’t apply.”

Consequently, it appears that Armstrong can continue to ride unsanctioned events, and amateurs with USAC licences can also take part.

Things would get considerably more complicated though if UCI licence holders seek to ride or if the Texan tries to contest official USAC-sanctioned races.


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