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Lance Armstrong doping claims 'categorically wrong'

International Cycling Union president Pat McQuaid said Lance Armstrong's comments that it was "impossible" to win the Tour de France in his era without doping were "categorically wrong".

Lance Armstrong was stripped of seven Tour de France titles. Credit: Klein Bruno/ABACA

He said: "It is very sad that Lance Armstrong has decided to make this statement on the 100th anniversary of the Tour de France. However, I can tell him categorically that he is wrong. His comments do absolutely nothing to help cycling.

"The culture within cycling has changed since the Armstrong era and it is now possible to race and win clean.

"Riders and teams owners have been forthright in saying that it is possible to win clean – and I agree with them.

Cycling today has the most sophisticated anti-doping infrastructure in sport. Measures such as the introduction of the blood passport, the whereabouts system and the ‘no-needle’ policy are the backbone of our relentless fight against doping."

Armstrong: 'Impossible' to win Tour without doping

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, who cheated his way to win seven Tour de France titles, said it would have been impossible to win the famous race without doping.

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong. Credit: Lionel Hahn/ABACA USA

Asked if riders won races drugs-free during the era when he competed, Armstrong told French newspaper Le Monde: "It depends on the races. The Tour de France? No. Impossible to win without doping.

"My name was taken out of the palmares (list of achievements) but the Tour was held between 1999 and 2005 wasn't it?

"There must be a winner then. Who is he? Nobody came forward to claim my jerseys."

Bernard Hinault, who won the Tour five times, reacted by telling TV channel BFM: "He must not know what it was like to ride without doping."

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Nike drops sponsorship of Armstrong's Livestrong charity

Lance Armstrong speaking at a Livestrong event in Dublin in 2009. Credit: PA

The Livestrong Foundation, the cancer charity founded by disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, said that Nike had dropped its sponsorship of the group, which is known for its distinctive yellow wristbands.

The group had flourished during Armstrong's cycling career, which saw him win the grueling Tour de France race seven times, titles he was stripped of last year amid accusations that he used performance-enhancing drugs.

Armstrong admitted to doping early this year and stepped aside from the charity, which he had founded after being diagnosed with testicular cancer.

"We expected and planned for changes like this and are therefore in a good position to adjust swiftly and move forward with our patient-focused work," the group said in a statement.

Armstrong withdraws from swimming event

US Masters Swimming Executive Director Rob Butcher confirmed that disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has pulled out three events he was scheduled to appear in this weekend.

Butcher told the Associated Press that the change of heart was likely caused by objections raised by FINA, the international governing body for swimming.

He doesn't want to cause any more harm to any more organisations. His interest was around fitness and training. In light of FINA and the other political stuff, he will not be swimming.

Swimming body slams Armstrong competition bid

FINA, the international governing body for swimming, has written to the US Masters Swimming to advise them to reject Lance Armstrong's entry to take part in a competition scheduled this weekend.

The disgraced cyclist was planning to use the small low-profile event in Austin, Texas, to make a return to competitive sport.

Read: Lance Armstrong set to return to sport as a swimmer

The competition falls under the jurisdiction of the US Masters Swimming. In a statement, the governing body said:

FINA wrote a letter to the US Masters Swimming (with copy to US Aquatic Sports and USA Swimming) requesting not to accept the entry of Mr. Lance Armstrong in the [...] competition.

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Armstrong to race against middle-aged swimmers

Lance Armstrong's return to competitive sport this weekend will be against veteran swimmers, a Texas newspaper reported.

Most competitors in the US Masters Swimming event entered by Armstrong will be older than the 41-year-old cyclist, the Austin American-Statesman said.

Lance Armstrong is banned for life from competing in most high profile sport Credit: John Giles/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Armstrong is banned for life from all competitions that adhere to world anti-doping codes, but is allowed to take part in the low-profile Austin swimming event.

US Masters Swimming executive director Rob Butcher said nobody had raised formal objections to Armstrong competing.

Butcher added: "The purpose of our organisation is to encourage adults to swim."

Lance Armstrong set for return to sport as a swimmer

Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles last year Credit: Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press/Press Association Images

Lance Armstrong is planning to make a return to competitive sport as a swimmer this weekend.

The disgraced American cyclist is entered for the Masters South Central Zone Swimming Championships, which takes place at the University of Texas.

Armstrong is set to compete in freestyle races over 500 yards, 1,000 yards and 1,650 yards at the event in his home city of Austin.

Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles last year for being part of a doping scandal.

Armstrong 'worried of potential criminal & civil liability'

The US Anti-Doping Agency has claimed that Lance Armstrong "was worried of potential criminal and civil liability" if he gave evidence to them about doping:

We have provided Mr Armstrong several opportunities to assist in our ongoing efforts to clean up the sport of cycling.

Following his recent television interview, we again invited him to come in and provide honest information, and he was informed in writing by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) that this was the appropriate avenue for him if he wanted to be part of the solution.

Over the last few weeks he has led us to believe that he wanted to come in and assist USADA, but was worried of potential criminal and civil liability if he did so.

Today we learned from the media that Mr Armstrong is choosing not to come in and be truthful and that he will not take the opportunity to work toward righting his wrongs in sport.

– US Anti-Doping Agency chief executive Travis Tygart
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