Ford pulls Mustang video featuring doper who helped bring down Lance Armstrong

Storm of disapproval on social media over rider who sued his accusers

by John Stevenson   August 15, 2014  

Kayle Leogrande Ford ad screenshot 2

Car maker Ford has taken down from YouTube a video clip for its latest Mustang that features Kayle Leogrande, the tattooed former pro whose conviction for doping led to the investigation and eventual downfall of Lance Armstrong.

The clip, called 'For The Love' features Leogrande driving the new car and talking about his love of the road and how travelling together provides a chance to be together for him and his wife Chelsea.

While Ford has taken the clip down from YouTube, it's still available on the company's own website, though we suspect that won't last long.

The video features lots of shots of implausibly empty roads and of Chelsea Leogrande, a professional photographer, in the role of silent decoration.

Using a convicted doper in your marketing would seem like an obviously bad idea, except perhaps to Ford's marketing team.

Negative reaction on social media was swift and vocal after RaceRadio noticed the video and tweeted:

Coach Adam Myerson's reaction was typical:

Much of the opprobrium was aimed directly at Ford:

The 'supporting role' played by Chelsea Leogrande didn't go unnoticed either:

Leogrande was one of the first cyclists to be sanctioned for doping without a positive test. He confessed to Rock Racing team soigneur Suzanne Sonye that he was worried about testing positive and Sonye alerted the US Anti-Doping Agency.

The evidence against Leogrande included the testimony of another convicted doper, Joe Papp, and included a photograph of Leogrande with a handful of vials of EPO. In 2008, Leogrande was suspended for two years.

He attempted to sue the USADA, Sonye, Papp and former pro Matt Decanio for defamation, but the case against Sonye was dismissed and Leogrande was ordered to pay her legal costs, financially crippling him. The Armstrong-style tactic of suing his accusers fuelled the strong negative attitudes toward Leogrande in the reaction to the Ford video.

Obtaining a doping conviction against Leogrande without a positive test encouraged USADA to investigate persistent rumours of doping on Lance Armstrong's US Postal and Discovery Channel teams.

In 2012 USADA chief Travis Tygart told the New York Times: “Without Leogrande, who knows, the Armstrong investigation maybe never would have happened.”

12 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Crap advert whichever way you look at it. Cool

KalaBlinds 'cos we all need our beauty sleep.

posted by don simon [158 posts]
15th August 2014 - 12:38

17 Likes

Ex?cyclist advertising a 'roid' racer car or former doper trying to sell his wife? Either way, terrible advert... Well done Ford marketing.

posted by McD [3 posts]
15th August 2014 - 13:19

6 Likes

Everyone is missing the real detail here, Rock Racing had a soigneur called Sonye.

Suzanne Sonye.

Their soigneur was Suzanne Sonye, the soigneur.

Soigneur Sonye.

Rock Racing's Soigneur Suzanne Sonye helped USADA set up a cyclist's suspension.

Seriously.

posted by farrell [1457 posts]
15th August 2014 - 13:36

21 Likes

Well the advert worked, people are talking about it...

glynr36's picture

posted by glynr36 [408 posts]
15th August 2014 - 13:39

9 Likes

Lance who?

KalaBlinds 'cos we all need our beauty sleep.

posted by don simon [158 posts]
15th August 2014 - 14:00

10 Likes

Meanwhile, in the Jimmy Ray Will household, not a fcuk could be given...

posted by Jimmy Ray Will [285 posts]
15th August 2014 - 14:33

6 Likes

The only thing to grab my attention is that a Ford Mustang starts at $22K whilst a Ford Mondeo Titanium Business X is the same price in £'s. Even with US sales tax that's a bargain. Rip off Britain...

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1059 posts]
15th August 2014 - 15:49

2 Likes

MercuryOne wrote:
The only thing to grab my attention is that a Ford Mustang starts at $22K whilst a Ford Mondeo Titanium Business X is the same price in £'s. Even with US sales tax that's a bargain. Rip off Britain...

Within the car industry the UK has been known as 'Treasure Island' for decades. Apparently we love our cars so much we are happy to pay significantly more for them than those in other countries. The fact that we need right-hand drive vehicles makes it more difficult for us to source them from cheaper countries too.

posted by Joeinpoole [262 posts]
15th August 2014 - 16:33

2 Likes

"Let's sell cars by advertising wives!"

"But who's wives?"

"Disgraced athlete's wives, of course! Think wife, buy car! It can't fail!"

posted by Quince [147 posts]
15th August 2014 - 17:07

1 Like

Who?

Endorphines going up and adrenaline going down, who needs drugs?

posted by banzicyclist2 [219 posts]
15th August 2014 - 23:17

1 Like

another twat spouting his mouth ..

posted by Karbon Kev [677 posts]
16th August 2014 - 8:38

1 Like

Joeinpoole wrote:
MercuryOne wrote:
The only thing to grab my attention is that a Ford Mustang starts at $22K whilst a Ford Mondeo Titanium Business X is the same price in £'s. Even with US sales tax that's a bargain. Rip off Britain...

Within the car industry the UK has been known as 'Treasure Island' for decades. Apparently we love our cars so much we are happy to pay significantly more for them than those in other countries. The fact that we need right-hand drive vehicles makes it more difficult for us to source them from cheaper countries too.

Yes indeed. While I worked in Saudi Arabia a few years back, a Toyota Land Cruiser fully spec'd out cost £35k. In the UK, same car almost £50k.

I knew one guy that actually drove from Saudi to UK in one. Needless to say he wasn't a cyclist (can't imagine the amount of 'are we nearly there yet' he got). But he did have Harley. That was way cheaper than in UK too...

posted by ronin [142 posts]
16th August 2014 - 8:57

0 Likes