By Duncan Mackay

Lance Armstrong with Olympic bronze medalJanuary 17 - Lance Armstrong has been stripped of the Olympic bronze medal he won at Sydney 2000, it was announced today.

The American had finished third in the time trial.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) acted after the International Cycling Union (UCI) disqualified all of Armstrong's results, including his seven Tour de France titles, as a consequence of him being found guilty iby the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) of doping.

Armstrong had 21 days to appeal against the UCI's decision and once it was confirmed he had not done so, the IOC took action.

"Following the recent decisions of USADA and the UCI regarding the competitive cycling results of Lance Armstrong, the IOC has disqualified Armstrong from the events in which he competed at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games," said the IOC in a statement.

"Namely, the men's individual road race, where he finished 13th, and the men's individual time trial, where he finished 3rd and was awarded with a bronze medal and a certificate."

The IOC has asked Armstrong to return the medal and certificate to the United States Olympic Committee which should send them on to the Olympic ruling body.

"The decision was taken in principle at the IOC Executive Board meeting in December, but its implementation required the expiration of the appeal deadline," said the IOC. 

"We were waiting for confirmation from the UCI that he hadn't appealed against his disqualification."

Lance Armstrong Sydney 2000 time trialLance Armstrong on his way to claiming the bronze medal in the time trial at Sydney 2000

If the IOC decide to reallocate the medal it will be awarded to Spain's Abraham Olano, who finished fourth. 

But the IOC may prefer to leave the medal vacant as it has done with the medals of American athlete Marion Jones, also a doping offender, from the same Sydney Olympics.

The race was won by Russia's Viatcheslav Ekimov, a longtime teammate of Armstrong's at US Postal Service and the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team.

Several of Armstrong's former teammates testified against him and admitted their own doping during the USADA investigation but Ekimov was not one of them.

Second in the Sydney time trial was Germany's Jan Ullrich, who last year was found guilty of a doping offence by the Court of Arbitration for Sport and stripped of all his results from 2005. 

Lance Armstrong with Viatcheslav Ekimov and Jan Ullrich Sydney 2000Lance Armstrong (right) on the medal podium at Sydney 2000 with winner Viatcheslav Ekimov (centre) and Jan Ullrich (left)

The announcement that Armstrong had been stripped of his medal was made just a few hours before his interview with Oprah Winfrey, where he has reportedly confessed to using banned performance-enhancing drugs, was due to be broadcast in the United States.

The IOC's decision appears, though, appears to break its own Olympic Charter, where there is an eight year statute of limitation on revising results.

Legal experts are expected to argue that the statute was interrupted through Armstrong lying about the fact he doped.

"It is USADA that has addressed the question of the statute of limitation," a spokeswoman for the IOC told insidethegames.  

"The IOC in applying the principles of the World Anti-Doping Code, has recognised the decisions taken by USADA and the UCI and has recognised that Lance Armstrong has not contested that ruling, and has therefore taken appropriate action."

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