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Armstrong opts against appeal, loses Tour titles

Lance Armstrong's seven consecutive Tour de France titles between 1999 and 2005 are no longer history. The deadline to appeal a ruling that stripped his name from cycling's record books passed uncontested.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport announced on Friday that an appeal deadline had passed for Lance Armstrong to contest his banishment from the record books. The world's most famous cyclist, who came back from a bout with cancer to with the Tour de France seven times in a row, had said he did not intend to appeal the ruling.

All of Armstrong's achievements since 1998, the second phase of his career after he beat cancer, have been erased by the International Cycling Union (UCI). The UCI informed Armstrong of this decision and his right to appeal on December 6. The cycling body had already handed its brightest light of old a lifetime ban in October after fresh allegations and information from the US Anti-Doping Agency.

Armstrong published a letter at the time saying he would cease all attempts to appeal or contest the charges against him, saying the process had become too much of a strain on his family. He called the US doping body's investigations against him as a "charade" in the open letter.

"Today I turn the page. I will no longer address this issue, regardless of the circumstances," Armstrong wrote, saying the proceedings had become a "pointless distraction."

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had said it was waiting on the resolution of the UCI case before deciding how to proceed. Armstrong won time trial Bronze at the Sydney Games in 2000, an award the IOC might seek to revoke.

The Tours de France of 1999-2005 now officially have no winner. Lance Armstrong finished first in all of them. The runners-up, including convicted German doper and 1997 winner Jan Ullrich, did not seek the honors.

msh/av (AFP, SID)