Associated Press, Published August 24 2012
If Armstrong loses Tour titles, who gets them?PARIS — The cyclists Lance Armstrong beat to win his seven Tour de France victories may soon get a chance at his titles. But their ranks include men who have faced a tangle of doping bans and accusations, possibly presenting a headache for Tour leadership.
Here's a look at who else was on the podium in the seven Tours that Armstrong won from 1999-2005:
No. 2 : Alex Zulle, Switzerland. His 1998 team, Festina, was ousted from the Tour that year in connection with the widespread use of the performance-enhancing drug EPO. Zulle later admitted to using the blood-booster over the four previous years. The Festina affair nearly derailed the 1998 Tour, and is widely seen as the first big doping scandal to jolt cycling.
No. 3: Fernando Escartin, Spain.
No 2: Jan Ullrich, Germany. The 1997 Tour winner, a five-time Tour runner-up and longtime Armstrong rival. He was the top-name cyclist among at least 50 implicated in the “Operation Puerto” police investigation in Spain in May 2006. Ullrich was stripped of his third-place finish from the 2005 Tour and retired from racing two years later. Earlier this year, he confirmed that he had had contact with Eufemiano Fuentes, a Spanish doctor at the center of that scandal, calling it a “big mistake” — but did not admit to doping.
No. 3: Joseba Beloki, Spain. Implicated in Operation Puerto, he retired in 2007. He was reportedly was cleared by a Spanish court of any involvement in the case.
No 2: Ullrich.
No. 3: Beloki.
No. 2: Beloki.
No. 3: Raimondas Rumsas, Lithuania. On the last day of the 2002 Tour, police stopped his wife, Edita, at the Italian border and searched her car, turning up suspected doping products. A French court later handed them four-month prison sentences on doping-related charges. The cyclist denied taking banned substances at that event, and all his tests came back negative. He said the products in his wife's car were for his mother-in-law. The next year, he was given a one-year ban after testing positive for EPO in the 2003 Giro d'Italia.
No. 2: Ullrich.
No. 3: Alexandre Vinokourov, Kazakhstan. He later served a two-year doping suspension after twice testing positive for banned blood transfusions during the 2007 race. He won the Olympic road race in London last month and has announced plans to retire.
No. 2: Andreas Kloeden, Germany.
No. 3: Ivan Basso, Italy. Excluded from the 2006 Tour because of his involvement in Operation Puerto. He claimed that he gave his blood to Fuentes — the Spanish doctor at the center of that scandal — but never used it. Later that year, Basso received a two-year doping ban; he later returned, and won his second Giro d'Italia in 2010.
No. 2: Basso.
No. 3: Ullrich.