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Monday, 22 October 2012

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Armstrong sends off riders as UCI ponders his fate

Hours before Lance Armstrong's fate and legacy face a moment of truth in Europe, the doping-disgraced US cyclist cheered on 4,300 bikers Sunday morning at a charity race in his hometown.

Embattled Armstrong spoke for about 90 seconds before the start of the Livestrong Challenge, a 100-mile cycling event to benefit the cancer-fighting foundation he created 15 years ago.

Armstrong stepped down as Livestrong chairman on Wednesday in the wake of detailed revelations about his role at the heart of a doping ring that helped him win seven Tour de France titles from 1999-2005.

“I've been better, but I've also been worse,” Armstrong said. “Obviously it has been an interesting and difficult couple of weeks.” A record turnout of riders raised $1.7 million for Livestrong on the eve of a decision by the International Cycling Union (UCI) on whether or not it will follow through on punishments imposed by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

USADA released 1,000 pages of testimony and evidence 12 days ago about why it imposed a life ban on Armstrong in August and stripped him of his Tour de France victories and other results when he refused to fight doping charges.

Since then, major sponsors distanced themselves from Armstrong, and he stepped down from his leadership role at Livestrong in hopes it would not be damaged by the controversy swirling around him.

AFP

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