The World Triathlon Corporation’s board of directors has decided to leave in place a rule that suspends Lance Armstrong from participating in Ironman events.
Under the rule, athletes “under investigation” for alleged doping offenses are suspended from competing in WTC-sanctioned triathlons.
The immediate consequence of the board’s decision is that seven-time Tour winner Armstrong will not be permitted to race at Ironman France on June 24. Unless the case comes to a close before the end of August and ends in Armstrong’s favor, he will not have the opportunity to qualify for October’s Ironman World Championship.
WTC imposed its ban Wednesday after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency informed Armstrong of its intent to file sweeping charges against him that could result in the loss of his Tour titles.
WTC CEO Andrew Messick said opinion among the professional triathletes on the circuit was split, and that there was serious discussion about reconsidering the rule. Ultimately, he said, the leadership decided it would be “inappropriate to change the rule in midseason.”
“There were 815 athletes who agreed to the rule that is currently standing, and there’s no ambiguity about it,” Messick told ESPN.com Saturday. “Even if it has unintended consequences, (rescinding) it isn’t the right thing to do for the integrity of the sport.”