The Fédération Française de Cyclisme (FFC) has said that it views the decision of Lance Armstrong not to contest the doping charges laid by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to arbitration as tantamount to a confession that the cyclist doped.

The FFC also remarked that seven Tour de France titles Armstrong won between 1999 and 2005 should not be reassigned. The French Cycling Federation further added that it hopes that the Texan repay some €2.95 million in prize money won in France.

The FFC, in a statement, said it had been closely following developments, that it “applauds the perseverance of USADA,” and that “the refusal of Lance Armstrong not to contest USADA’s accusations sounds as a recognition of his guilt with regard to the breaches of anti-doping regulations held against him dating back to 1998.”

It also remarked, “This decision closes the ‘black book’ of a sombre period for international cycling. It also demonstrates that the biggest athletes are not sheltered, even with a delay, from sporting sanctions related to breaches linked to the fight against doping.

“The [FFC] welcomes this very strong message sent to the cheats, one full of hope for the vast majority of riders who practise their sport cleanly.”

The FFC said regarding the potential reassignment of the Tour de France titles won by Armstrong that it “wishes that the places left vacant subsequent to the disqualification of Armstrong should not be reassigned, thereby leaving the palmares of the Tour de France clean for seven years and avoiding any arguments regarding the credibility of potential winners.”

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