Lance Armstrong's Tour de France victories will not be reallocated

Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong's seven Tour de France titles will not be awarded to any other riders, the International Cycling Union has announced.

Armstrong was stripped of his yellow jerseys for doping by cycling's governing body on Monday.

"The management committee decided not to award victories to any other rider or upgrade other placings in any of the affected events," said a UCI statement.

American Armstrong crossed the line first every year between 1999 and 2005.

The UCI acknowledged that "a cloud of suspicion would remain hanging over this dark period - but that while this might appear harsh for those who rode clean, they would understand there was little honour to be gained in reallocating places".

The body has also ordered Armstrong and others to pay back all prize money from this period, and has commissioned an independent investigation into the whole Armstrong affair. Pending the results of the report, defamation proceedings against Paul Kimmage, a former cyclist and Sunday Times journalist, have been suspended.

The statement added: "The committee agreed that part of the independent commission's remit would be to find ways to ensure that persons caught for doping were no longer able to take part in the sport, including as part of an entourage."

Armstrong, 41, and his United States Postal Service team ran "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen", a 1,000-page United States Anti-Doping Agency report concluded.

In the report, it was also claimed that Armstrong paid the UCI $100,000 (£62,300) for the fight against anti-doping.

Floyd Landis, a former colleague of Armstrong's who now admits to using drugs, claims this was hush money to cover up a positive test for the banned substance EPO that was collected from Armstrong during his victory at the Tour of Switzerland in 2001.

The UCI admitted it received money from Armstrong in 2002, but said in 2010 that this was not part of a cover-up.external-link

BBC Sport understands that at Friday's UCI management committee hearing there was an attempt by more than one member to force honorary president Hein Verbruggen to resign, but it did not gain enough support and failed.

Verbruggen and president Pat McQuaid, who has been asked to resign in an open letter by America's three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond, have come under intense pressure to stand aside in the wake of the Armstrong scandal. There was no attempt to get McQuaid to quit.

McQuaid said the governing body are "determined to turn around this painful episode in the history of our sport".

"We will take whatever actions are deemed necessary by the independent commission and we will put cycling back on track," said McQuaid.

"Today, cycling is a completely different sport from what it was in the period 1998-2005.

"Riders are now subject to the most innovative and effective anti-doping procedures and regulations in sport.

"Nevertheless, we have listened to the world's reaction to the Lance Armstrong affair and have taken these additional decisive steps in response to the grave concerns raised."

World anti-doping body Wada said it backed the UCI's decision to create an independent review commission.

British Cycling president Brian Cookson said: "The UCI has taken another worthwhile step in its response to the Usada investigation into Lance Armstrong.

"I can assure everyone that my UCI management committee colleagues and I are unanimous in our determination that this independent commission will just be the start of the process and nothing will be off the agenda.

"Cycling must and will learn the lessons of the Armstrong era."