UPDATED: USA Cycling says that Lance Armstrong cannot take part in this weekend's Gran Fondo Hincapie, organised by his former US Postal Service team mate George Hincapie, which several former colleagues as well as current pros including Tejay van Garderen are due to ride.
The governing body told Shane Stokes of the website Cycling Tips:"USA Cycling has been asked by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to look into the Gran Fondo Hincapie in the face of questions concerning rider eligibility."
“USA Cycling has informed USADA that the Gran Fondo Hincapie constitutes a cycling 'activity' that is 'authorized' by USA Cycling as those terms are used in the World Anti-Doping Code and in the Anti-Doping provisions of the UCI (International Cycling Union) Cycling Regulations.
“Under these provisions, an athlete’s suspension bars participation in an authorized activity such as this. The UCI has confirmed USA Cycling’s interpretation. The World Anti-Doping Code vests jurisdiction in UCI and in USADA to determine whether an athlete has violated the terms of any suspension, as well as to assess any sanctions that might accompany an adverse determination.”
USADA, whose investigation in 2012 resulted in Armstrong being banned from sport for life and stripped of results including his seven Tour de France victories, had raised the issue of Armstrong taking part in the event with USA Cycling.
USA Cycling’s Gran Fondo Regulations require that “By entering the event, the participant agrees to respect the regulations of the UCI, USA Cycling, and the particular regulations of the event.”
Initially it had been reported that as a non-sanctioned event, Armstrong could ride it. But it is listed on USA Cycling’s website, classified F, meaning a “Fun Ride or Tour.”
Armstrong is banned “from participating in any activity or competition organized by any signatory to the Code or any member of any signatory,” and USADA spokeswoman Annie Skinner confirmed it had sought clarification with the governing body.
She told Cycling Tips: “After this question was brought to our attention, we reached out to USA Cycling, and we are awaiting their determination as to whether or not this Gran Fondo qualifies as an authorised event under the rules.”
There are also implications in USA Cycling's Gran Fondo rules for current professionals planning to ride the event, including van Garderen and BMC Racing team mate Brent Bookwalter, as well as Garmin-Sharp’s Alex Howes and Tom Danielson – the latter a former team mate of Armstrong who testified against him.
The Gran Fondo Regulations say: “Riders belonging to a UCI Protour team or UCI professional continental team may not take part in Gran Fondo events without an exception granted by the UCI. However, a rider may participate without this exception in one event per year that bears his name.”
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.