Jan Ullrich protests his innocence after yesterday's suspension from the Tour de France, a "black day" according to UCI president Pat McQuaid. The suspensions are harsh on the Tour de France favourites but show that cycling is now super-tough on even the suspicion of doping, not something many other sports can demonstrate. In other related news from 'Black Friday', The Sunday Times apologises to Lance Armstrong for a doping article written in 2004.

June 30th: a “black day” for cycling but with “silver lining”

In 2004, The Sunday Times’ sports correspondent David Walsh co-authored a book called "LA Confidential" which painted a picture of drug use by Lance Armstrong but didn’t make any outright accusations. The book was published only in French.

The Sunday Times repeated claims from the book in an article in June 2004 and Armstrong launched a libel suit. This went into and out of the English courts as lawyers fought over what could and could not be used as evidence.

Yesterday, the case was settled out of court on the same day as the Spanish drugs operation blew apart the Tour de France.

A joint statement from Lance Armstrong and News Corpotation, owner of the Sunday Times, said:

"The Sunday Times has confirmed to Mr. Armstrong that it never intended to accuse him of being guilty of taking any performance enhancing drugs and sincerely apologised for any such impression."

There’s no word on whether any cash payment is part of the out-of-court settlement.

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