The organisers of the Giro d’Italia have told Cyclingnews that Lance Armstrong will not be an accredited guest or podcaster at the Grand Partenza in Israel due to his lifetime ban for doping, but took a neutral stance to the disgraced Texan’s past and his plans to be in Israel for the opening stages of the race.
Armstrong confirmed he will travel to Israel and then the Tour of California later in May after agreeing to pay $5 million to the United States government and $1.65 million to Landis to end the 'whistleblower' lawsuit. The US government alleged that Armstrong defrauded the United States Postal Service by "actively concealing the team's violations of the agreements' anti-doping provisions," under its sponsorship contract. According to the agreement, the settlement "is neither an admission of liability by Armstrong nor a concession by the United States or Relator that their respective claims are not well founded."
Armstrong had been preparing to spend much of May in a Washington DC courtroom, with 50 witness expected to provide detailed information about his doping before and after he was diagnosed with cancer. However, the settlement means he will now dedicate more time to his podcast. He will also plans to record episodes from the Tour of California.
“The chance to go to a place like Israel to cover an iconic event like the Tour of Italy is insane,” Armstrong said.
Giro d’Italia organiser RCS Sport moved quickly to explain that Armstrong will not be an accredited official guest or have any ties to the race if he travels to Israel for the Grand Partenza and the opening stages in Israel between May 4-6.
“Lance Armstrong has not been invited by the organisers of the Giro d’Italia. Because he is banned by the UCI means he cannot have an official role at a UCI sanctioned event and cannot be accredited by the organisation,” an RCS statement provided to Cyclingnews read.
“Anyone can watch a race from the roadside outside of the official areas. The direction of the Giro d’Italia has no comment about Armstrong’ past or present in cycling.”
Armstrong was stopped from recording a podcast as part of an official partnership with the Colorado Classic race last year due to risks that it would violate his life ban for doping. He defied pressure to stay away from races by recording from a local winery.
Armstrong's official presence in Colorado forced race organisers to scrutinise the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code concerning a banned athlete's ineligibility, especially the rule concerning the participation "in any capacity in a Competition or activity". The UCI anti-doping rules state that the term "activity" also includes administrative activities, such as serving as an official, director, officer, employee, or volunteer of the organisation.
Those same rules stop him attending the Giro d’Italia and the Tour of California in an official capacity.
He was invited to the Tour of Flanders Business Academy’ event at this year’s Tour of Flanders by organiser Wouter Vandenhaut but this presence sparked the ire of UCI president David Lappartient. Armstrong eventually pulled out of the visit citing family reasons.
Armstrong rode the 2009 Giro d’Italia after making a comeback to racing. However, his 12th place overall was wiped from official results as part of his lifetime ban issued by USADA and confirmed by the UCI.
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