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Lance Armstrong is losing the seven cycling titles that made him a legend.

The International Cycling Union announced Monday that Armstrong is being stripped of his Tour de France titles.

“Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling,” said the union’s president, Pat McQuaid, announcing that Armstrong is banned from the sport.

The decision follows this month’s finding by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that there is “overwhelming” evidence that Armstrong was involved as a professional cyclist in “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program.”

McQuaid said he was “sickened” by the report.

But he emphasized, “Cycling has a future.”

In a statement, the union wrote, “Today’s young riders do not deserve to be branded or tarnished by the past or to pay the price for the Armstrong era.”

Armstrong has steadfastly maintained his innocence. At an event Sunday, he did not refer to the controversy directly but said it’s been “an interesting and at times very difficult few weeks.”

Armstrong’s story — that of a cancer survivor who tamed the grueling three-week race more than any other cyclist before or since — had made him a household name. But allegations of doping long dogged his career.

Then came this month’s finding by the USADA.

Highlights of USADA report

The agency announced it would ban Armstrong from the sport for life and strip him of his results dating from 1998. The decision wiped out 14 years of his career. McQuaid said Monday the cycling union would not appeal USADA’s decision.

McQuaid, speaking at a news conference Monday, said he does not believe cycling will ever be free from doping, because “I don’t think in any aspect of society there are no cheats. I do believe that doping can be hugely reduced.”

The keys are education programs and how teams are structured, he said.

Monday’s news conference turned somewhat contentious as reporters asked whether the cycling union had looked the other way for years despite growing allegations of widespread doping in the sport. Armstrong had made two donations to the union for anti-doping technology.

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article courtesy of CNN.com

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