LAUSANNE (AFP) — The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Thursday asked disgraced American cyclist Lance Armstrong to return the Olympic bronze medal from the time trial event at the 2000 Games in Sydney.
The IOC wrote to Armstrong late Wednesday to ask him to hand back the medal, IOC spokesman Mark Adams told AFP.
The Lausanne-based body had to wait for world cycling’s governing body to sanction Armstrong, which it did on December 6, and the following three weeks in which the Texan had recourse to appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The U.S. Olympic Committee, to which Armstrong must return the medal, has also been informed, Adams added.
Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from the sport for life in October after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) produced evidence of widespread doping by him and his former teammates.
“The decision was taken in principle at the IOC Executive Board meeting in December, but its implementation required the expiration of the appeal deadline,” the IOC said in a statement. “Following the recent decisions of USADA and the UCI (International Cycling Union) regarding the competitive cycling results of events in which he competed at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games… the IOC has asked that the medal and certificate be returned by Armstrong to the United States Olympic Committee, which should forward them to the IOC.”
The time trial in the 2000 Games was won by Armstrong’s ex-US Postal Service teammate Viasheslav Ekimov of Russia, now general manager of the Katusha team, whose ambivalent stance on doping cost them a place in the elite ProTeam list for this season.
The silver medal went to one of Armstrong’s great rivals, Jan Ullrich of Germany, who was caught up in the Operación Puerto doping probe and eventually served a two-year ban for doping.
Abraham Olano of Spain came home in fourth and may be set to inherit the bronze vacated by Armstrong. He has been tied to Puerto doctor Efumiento Fuentes, who faces trial later this month over the scandal.
In his first interview since Armstrong was shorn of his Tour titles, recorded Monday with Oprah Winfrey and due to be broadcast on Thursday and Friday, the Texan admitted to some extent to using performance enhancing drugs.