Lance Armstrong has been through a “difficult couple of weeks”. Just yesterday, the UCI, cycling’s governing body, agreed to accept the USADA’s findings and officially stripped the Texan of his 7 Tour de France wins and banned him from competition for life. Pat McQuaid speaking at a press conference in Geneva had this to say, “Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling, and he deserves to be forgotten in cycling.”
The UCI does not plan to award the wins to the next rider in line. According to the UCI, many of the runner-ups themselves, have been embroiled in their own accusations of doping and/or have admitted to doping. Instead, there will be no official winner for those years.
The bad news for Lance Armstrong doesn’t end there, in addition to being stripped of the tour wins, the Tour de France has indicated they would like their prize money returned. They’ll have to get in line – SCA Promotions, the Dallas-based company that insured Armstrong’s bonus money for three of those seven Tour de France wins has also come forward saying they’re exploring their options on how to recoup the $12 million they paid out to Armstrong.
The legal and financial problems for Armstrong continue to mount up. After hearing of the official ruling by the UCI, Armstrong’s longest running and sole remaining sponsor, Oakley, released this statement, “Based on UCI’s decision today and the overwhelming evidence that USADA presented, Oakley has severed its longstanding relationship with Lance Armstrong, effective immediately.”
Oakley joins Nike, Trek, Giro, and SRAM in ending their sponsorships of Lance Armstrong as an athlete, but stay committed to their sponsorship of his Livestrong Foundation. The Foundation founded in 1996, will continue on, but without Lance Armstrong as the chairman. He stepped down last Wednesday, indicating that he was giving up his position as chairman due to the controversy around the doping charges.
24-Hour Fitness, Anheuser-Busch, and Radioshack have also also cut ties with Armstrong. Honey Stinger and FRS, two companies Armstrong has stakes in, said they would remove him from their packaging. The loss of all his endorsement deals should hit Armstrong hard, a source claimed, a conservative estimate of Armstrong’s endorsement deals totaled roughly 35 million in future revenue.
Armstrong has not made any comments publicly since the announcement by the UCI, but twitter users may have noticed a slight change to Lance Armstrong’s twitter profile page. As recently as Monday it used to read – “Father of 5 amazing kids, 7-time Tour de France winner, full time cancer fighter, part time triathlete.”
But has now been changed to – “Raising my five kids. Fighting Cancer. Swim, bike, run and golf whenever I can.”