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Following communication with the US Anti Doping Agency (USADA) and the UCI, USA Cycling has confirmed that Lance Armstrong’s planned participation in Saturday’s Hincapie Gran Fondo would contravene the lifetime ban the Texan was handed in 2012.
“USA Cycling has been asked by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to look into the Hincapie Gran Fondo in the face of questions concerning rider eligibility,” the federation told CyclingTips Thursday.
“USA Cycling has informed USADA that the Gran Fondo Hincapie constitutes a cycling “activity” that is “authorized” by USA Cycling as those terms are used in the World Anti-Doping Code and in the Anti-Doping provisions of the UCI (International Cycling Union) Cycling Regulations.
“Under these provisions, an athlete’s suspension bars participation in an authorized activity such as this. The UCI has confirmed USA Cycling’s interpretation. The World Anti-Doping Code vests jurisdiction in UCI and in USADA to determine whether an athlete has violated the terms of any suspension, as well as to assess any sanctions that might accompany an adverse determination.”
Armstrong’s participation was announced in a Gran Fondo email issued October 10th. That email also confirmed the participation of several other former US Postal/Discovery Channel riders. These include Hincapie, Kevin Livingston, Tom Danielson, Michael Barry and Christian Vande Velde.
Another rider, Dave Zabriskie, was also due to take part but according to a story by VeloNews, he has decided not to do so.
All bar Livingston received bans in relation to USADA’s investigation of past doping.
Those suspensions have expired but Armstrong remains banned from any official events.
The Gran Fondo is listed on USA Cycling’s website as a Category F event.
USADA and the UCI are yet to comment, but USA Cycling’s communication makes clear that Armstrong should not take part under the terms of his suspension.
This echoes what USADA told CyclingTips on Wednesday.
“The WADA Code rules dictate that a sanctioned athlete cannot compete in an authorized event during that athlete’s period of ineligibility,” said a USADA spokesperson then.
“After this question was brought to our attention, we reached out to USA Cycling, and we are awaiting their determination as to whether or not this Gran Fondo qualifies as an authorized event under the rules.”
That determination has now been received and Armstrong’s ineligibility to ride the event has been made clear.