AD Main Menu

Why Tour organizers are wrong to ask Armstrong to return prize money

Craig Medred

Someone in France doesn't seem to be thinking clearly. After the international federation that governs cycling stripped cyclist Lance Armstrong of seven Tour de France victories, the organization that runs the race said it wanted its $2.95 million euros in prize money back, too.

These are the same race organizers who have announced they plan to leave blank the championships of the seven Tours that Armstrong won between 1999 and 2005. They are doing that, they say, to highlight cycling's dark era of doping with performance-enhancing drugs.

Armstrong is accused of helping run the biggest doping rings in sports history. He denies it.

And there would seem a problem for the French. First-place money is paid to the Tour winner. But if there is no official winner, who is the winner?

Absent an officially designated champ, wouldn't the only winner remain Armstrong, the man denoted the winner on the day each of the races finished between 1999 and 2005? As long as Armstrong continues to deny that he doped, and there is no new winner, why should he pay the French any money? 

If they want their money back because they claim Armstrong is a doper, something he denies, shouldn't they have to prove that in a U.S. court of law? But if they are in a U.S. court, no one should be claimed the winner because a doped-up Armstrong beat a lot of other dopers. Would a U.S. jury think him responsible to pay the French back, or conclude that Armstrong won fair and square -- even if he cheated?

Deny on, Lance. Deny on. 

The author’s views are his own and not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch. Contact Craig Medred at craig(at)alaskadispatch.com