(RNN) - After a relentless fight against doping allegations, Lance Armstrong announced Aug. 23 he would no longer dispute charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs.
Armstrong, a seven-time Tour de France winner, was stripped of his titles by the United States Anti-Doping Agency one day later, effectively voiding his Tour victories from 1999 to 2005. The statistical wins will essentially go to the runners-up.
However, the athletes who stand to technically gain Tour wins have had doping allegation of their own.
Armstrong's first Tour victory came in 1999, with Swiss cyclist Alex Zülle riding on his coattails by 7 minutes and 37 seconds. Although Zülle would continue to race until his retirement in 2004, his team was disqualified from the Tour in 1998 amidst doping allegations.
Zülle admitted he took EPO before the race. He and four of his teammates were allowed to resume competition in the next Tour.
Zülle said he regretted being untruthful and claimed he took the drugs to improve his performance while under pressure from his sponsors.
Jan Ullrich, a German rider who won the 1997 Tour de France, placed second in Armstrong's 2000, 2001 and 2003 victories. After Armstrong retired, a 2006 Spanish investigation called "Operación Puerto" accused Ullrich of doping.
Ullrich was banned from that year's Tour and was fired from his team. In February 2012, the Court of Arbitration for Sport officially banned him from the cycling and revoked all his professional victories since May 2005. However, evidence does not disqualify him from retroactively taking three of Armstrong's Tour victories.
Ullrich finished 6 minutes and 2 seconds later than Armstrong in 2000, 6 minutes and 44 seconds later in 2001, and only 1 minute and 1 second later in 2003.
Spanish cyclist Joseba Beloki placed second in the 2002 Tour. He finished 7 minutes and 17 seconds behind Armstrong. His professional career suffered a major setback the following year when he broke a femur bone during a crash.
Like Ullrich, Beloki was one of the riders suspected of doping during Operación Puerto. As a result, he was not allowed to compete in the 2006 Tour. The charges against Beloki were later dropped and his name was cleared.
Out of the 34 cyclists accused of doping in Operación Puerto, Beloki was one of 15 acquitted.
The 2004 runner-up honors went to German racer Andreas Klöden, who finished 6 minutes and 19 seconds later than Armstrong. Unnamed members of his team were later accused of receiving illegal blood transfusions after the first leg of the 2006 Tour.
The allegations surfaced in 2009 after an independent commission conducted a doping investigation called the Freiburg report. However, Klöden agreed to pay a fine to end further investigation into his involvement with the transfusions. The 25,000 Euro fine reportedly went to charity.
Italy's Ivan Basso finished 4 minutes and 40 seconds behind Armstrong in the 2005 Tour. Basso was among the cyclists named in Operación Puerto, but formal charges were never filed. He was removed from his team for the 2006 Tour due to the allegations.
In 2007, Basso admitted to "attempted doping," claiming he never took any doping substances or had any illegal blood transfusions.
He accepted a two-year suspension from cycling.
Armstrong announced his retirement from professional cycling after he won the Tour in 2005.
He announced a brief return in 2008 and competed in the 2009 and 2010 Tours.
He retired again in 2011.
Armstrong is expected to continue his work with the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which provides assistance to people dealing with the effects of cancer.
The charity has experienced a large increase in donations despite the sanctions against Armstrong.
The organization typically receives $3,200 each day. It collected about $80,000 Friday, which was the day Armstrong received his punishment.
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