Lance Armstrong has been formally stripped of France’s highest civilian award, the Legion d’Honneur. The news comes in a week in which it has also been confirmed that he will have to testify under oath about his doping next month.
The disgraced cyclist was made a Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur in 2005, the year of his seventh and last Tour de France victory. He was stripped of those titles and banned from sport for life in 2012 following an investigation into doping by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.
Last year, an aide to the grand chancellor of the order, founded by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, confirmed that an investigation would be opened to examine whether or not to take the Legion d’Honneur away from Armstrong following his confession to doping.
According to the Associated Press, a spokeswoman for the Legion d’Honneur confirmed that he has now been stripped of the award, although she was unable to confirm when the decision was made.
Although foreigners are not admitted to the order, they can be awarded its insignia, with Chevalier – Knight – being the most junior rank. Eddy Merckx was made a Commandeur of the Legion d’Honneur, the most senior of the three ranks, in 2011.
Meanwhile USA Today reported this week that the arbitration panel hearing the SCA Promotions case, in which the insurer is seeking $12 million related to bonuses it paid Armstrong for his Tour de France victories in 2002, 2003 and 2004, has ordered Armstrong to give videotaped testimony under oath on June 12.
Armstrong is continuing to try and block that happening, saying that a 2006 settlement with the insurer, which had originally withheld the bonuses as allegations of doping began to surface, is legally binding, and has reportedly appealed to the Texas Supreme Court to rule in his favour.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.