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Tour de France 2012  Aret le Bain : Photo Macadam

It has hit the newspapers and blogosphere like a sudden storm in a quiet week of dull news in a flat month waiting for elections.  Lance Armstrong, we are breathlessly being told by Newspapers and websites all across the land, has been stripped of all seven of his Tour de France cycling awards by the United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA).

USADA… to strip him of 7 Tour de France Titles” shouts HuffPost all shrill and hysterical, whilst being drowned out by the New York Times howling that “USADA could strip Lance Armstrong of his Tour de France titles today”.  Good grief even ESPN GO Olympic Sports was at it “On Friday USADA officially stripped Armstrong of his Tour de France Titles [ my emphasis]”.

Officially?  Really?  Um no not really, not yet and perhaps never.

This blog has long worried about the seemingly unstoppable extension by expansionist Americans of US Law and US legal jurisdiction.  There is a theory growing in official American circles that whatever touches an American is ruled by American law.  There is a belief that law should be an arm of the Munroe doctrine, extending American influence across the globe.  We have seen this in diplomacy and business, but Mon Dieu! Velo?  For it seems America believes that it alone decides who holds and does not hold titles, to foreign sports events.

This may come as a surprise to some, but America is not in charge of the Tour de France even if Americans do race in it.  The Tour organisers are ASO (Armury Sports Organisation) based in Paris, with the sport itself being governed by the International Cycling Union (UCI).  And, it’s fair to say, they are less than impressed by the antics of the USADA.

The UCI are making it perfectly clear that they have jurisdiction as they were responsible for carrying out the doping tests while Armstrong competed, and we should remember that Armstrong never tested positive in these tests.  As things stand this afternoon they are more than likely to ignore the USADA.  The Tour organisers were deep in talks this afternoon, but they are unlikely to unilaterally fall over themselves in taking back Armstrong’s awards without the USADA making their case to them.

Interestingly it seems that they are still to hear anything official from the USADA, no facts, arguments or evidence has been sent for their consideration .

As of right now Armstrong still holds his Tour de France Awards and may well hold these for a long time yet.

Copyright David Macadam 2012