For his rival, Lance is still the champ | other | Hindustan Times
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For his rival, Lance is still the champ

other Updated: Aug 26, 2012 00:02 IST

Spain's Fernando Escartin, who will rise from third to second in the 1999 Tour de France if Lance Armstrong is stripped of his seven victories in the race, said the American would always be the champion.

"For me Lance Armstrong remains the 1999 Tour winner, second Zulle and third me," the now-retired Escartin told Reuters at the Vuelta a Espana race on Friday. "It's 13 years now since this all happened, it seems completely illogical and unreal. I don't want to even think about it. How far back in time do they want to go?" Earlier on Friday, Armstrong was stripped of his record seven Tour wins and handed a lifetime ban by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

Saying "enough is enough", the retired American rider sent out a statement late on Thursday indicating he would not challenge USADA's charge that he had doped throughout his career while continuing to deny he ever used performance-enhancing drugs. While the USADA can remove Armstrong's titles, such a decision could rest with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.