Armstrong could be stripped of top French honour
PARIS (AFP) –
Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, who has already had his record seven Tour de France victories wiped from the record books, could now be stripped of the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest honour.
Armstrong was awarded the title Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur in 2005 in recognition of his seventh Tour win, but moves are now afoot to have the honour rescinded, according to a spokesman for the order.
In January, Armstrong, 41, admitted to Oprah Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his record seven Tour de France championships from 1999-2005.
He was stripped of all seven Tour titles last year after a devastating report by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), which accused the cyclist of taking part in one of the biggest cheating operations in sports history.
An investigator from the council of the Legion d’Honneur is preparing a report on whether to deprive Armstrong of the title in the wake of revelations about his drug-tainted career, and he will have three months to present his defence.
According to the order’s code, French citizens who are awarded the Legion d’Honneur can be suspended or expelled after a conviction or “acts contrary to the code of honour”.
And since 2010, foreign nationals, who do not officially become members of the order, can also be stripped of the honour.
British couturier John Galliano, who was convicted and fined in 2011 for racist insults, was stripped of his honour in August last year, having been awarded the Legion d’Honneur in 2009.
Last month, the US government decided to join a doping lawsuit filed by one of Armstrong’s former teammates alleging that the disgraced cycling champion defrauded government sponsors.