The International Cycling Union, or UCI, decided Friday that the 1999-2005 Tour de France titles stripped from American cyclist Lance Armstrong for doping and providing performance-enhancing drugs to his teammates will not be awarded to the second-place finishers of those races.
"(T)he Management Committee decided not to award victories to any other rider or upgrade other placings in any of the affected events," the UCI said in a statement.
"The UCI Management Committee acknowledged that a cloud of suspicion would remain hanging over this dark period - but while this might appear harsh for those who rode clean, they would understand there was little honor to be gained in reallocating places," the statement continued.
The UCI, which on Monday formally stripped Armstrong of the 1999-2005 titles and banned him from the sport for life, also called for Armstrong and the other cyclists implicated in his case to return the prize money they won in those Tours.
The UCI's board also decided "to apply this ruling from now on to any competitive sporting results disqualified due to doping for the period from 1998 to 2005."
On Monday, the UCI ratified the findings of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's 202-page report on the doping case, agreeing that all of Armstrong's cycling exploits after August 1998 should be expunged from the record.
The Management Committee decided Friday to create an independent external commission to investigate the Armstrong case "in order to ensure that UCI and cycling could move forward with the confidence of all parties."
Armstrong has categorically denied the accusations, based, according to the USADA, on evidence provided by "numerous witnesses" who said they had either personally observed Armstrong's "doping activity" or learned directly from the cyclist about his use of "EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone and cortisone during the period from before 1998 through 2005."
A cancer survivor who is regarded as one of the all-time greatest road cyclists, Armstrong issued a statement on his Web site in August after choosing not to appear before a USADA arbitration panel to respond to the doping charges.
"There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, 'enough is enough.' For me, that time is now. I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999," the statement read.
"The only physical evidence here is the hundreds of controls I have passed with flying colors," Armstrong said on Aug. 23. EFE