Updated: Nike and Trek end Lance Armstrong contracts, disgraced cyclist steps down as Livestrong chairman

Disgraced former cyclist will stay on board of charity he founded in 1997

by Simon_MacMichael   October 17, 2012  

Lance Armstrong sponsors

A number of companies that sponsored Lance Armstrong have moved to distance themselves from him today. The most prominent are sportswear giant Nike, which announced that it has ended its association with him due to "seemingly insurmountable evidence" that he doped during his career and "misled" the company "for more than a decade," and Trek Bicycles, whose recent history is inextricably linked with Armstrong's now-nullified Tour wins.

The news came shortly after Armstrong himself said he is stepping down as chairman of Livestrong, the charity also known as the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which he founded after in 1997 after surviving cancer.

Electronics retailer RadioShack has confirmed it has no current sponsorship deals with Armstrong, without confirming when the last one finished, and said it has ended his relationship with him, and Anheuser-Busch, which owns the Michelob Ultra brand of beer he endorses, has said it will not be renewing his current three-year deal when it expires at the end of the year. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, Easton Bell, owner of Giro whose helmets Armstrong uses and endorses, has also dropped him today, although like Nike, it will continue its asociation with Livestrong. Eyewear firm Oakley is said to be reviewing the situation.

According to research cited by the Wall Street Journal, Armstrong's pulling power as a celebrity spokesman - and consumers' trust in him - has plummeted in recent years. Quoting data from a specialist firm that tracks that data through consumer surveys, it says he was ranked 60th in June 2008 but had fallen to 1,410th by September 2012.

That was after USADA said it was banning him for life, but it's the subsequent publication of its reasoned decision, and the detailed evidence it contains, that appears to have irreperably damaged the Armstrong brand.

In a statement published on its website, Nike said: "Due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence that Lance Armstrong participated in doping and misled Nike for more than a decade, it is with great sadness that we have terminated our contract with him. Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in any manner.

It added: "Nike plans to continue support of the Livestrong initiatives created to unite, inspire and empower people affected by cancer."

Nike, which yesterday was awarded the high-profile contract to supply the International Olympic Committee until 2016, replacing its bitter rival Adidas, has come under pressure over the past week to affirmin its commitment to clean sport by distancing itself from Armstrong following publication by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) of its Reasoned Decision against the man who won the Tour de France seven times.

A number of media outlets reported testimony yeterday from Greg Lemond's wife Kathy given during a deposition in the SCA Promotions case in 2006 that Nike had paid former UCI President Hein Verbruggen $500,000 to cover up a positive test by Armstrong in 1999, a payment she said she had heard about from his former mechanic.

Nike strongly refuted the claim that any such payment had ever been made, saying in a statement yesterday: "Nike vehemently denies that it paid former UCI president Hein Verbruggen $500,000 to cover up a positive drug test. Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs.”

Yesterday also saw a protest outside Nike's headquarters in Oregon led by former pro cyclist Paul Willerton, who raced alongside Armstrong for the US national team in the 1992 world championships, the year before Armstrong won the rainbow jersey in Oslo.

Willerton, who left the sport due to his disillusionment with doping, joined fellow protestors in urging Nike to reconsider its decision to stand by Armstrond despite the evidence published by USADA.

Another major sponsor of Armstrong, Trek, said in a release today, “Trek is disappointed by the findings and conclusions in the USADA report regarding Lance Armstrong. Given the determinations of the report, Trek today is terminating our longterm relationship with Lance Armstrong. Trek will continue to support the Livestrong Foundation and its efforts to combat cancer.” Armstrong is believed to be a Trek shareholder, and many believe that it was pressure from the Texan that led in part to Trek dropping the Lemond brand; indeed, Betsy Andreu's affidavit recalls a conversation with Armstrong: “Lance said: ‘I’m going to make one call to John Burke and fucking shut him up.’ I asked who John Burke was and was told he owned Trek, the bike company that sponsored Lance as well as made Greg LeMond’s bikes.”

Oakley is another company associated with Armstrong  that has faced calls to clarify its position.

Regarding Armstrong's decision to step down from his role with his charity, according to a statement from him obtained by Associated Press, he made his decision so that the charity can focus on its work with cancer victims, rather than it being overshadowed by the continuing fallout from the United State Anti Doping Agency's investigation which resulted in him being banned for sport for life.

"This organization, its mission and its supporters are incredibly dear to my heart," said Armstrong in his statement, quoted in the New York Post. "Today therefore, to spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career, I will conclude my chairmanship."

According to spokeswoman Katherine McLane, vice-chairman Jeff Garvey, who was chairman of the charity when it was founded 15 years ago this week, will take over responsibility for the organisation's strategic planning. Armstrong will remain on the Livestrong board.  

LIvestrong's 15th aniversary is due to be celebrated by a series of events in the coming days in Armstong's home city of Austin, Texas, including a gala event on Friday evening that is scheduled to include appearances by long-time supporters Robin Williams and Ben Stiller.

44 user comments

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I honestly thought that the depths had been reached after 'The Festina Affair', Operation Puerto & Rasmussen/Vinokourov, but this reaches new levels. Its a cynical disgrace that appears to transcend into the governing body of the sport. Nobody should be above the rules. It just makes you wonder who will be next...

Currently going slower than I'd like...

posted by stealth [185 posts]
17th October 2012 - 19:02

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'You mis-read the comment. "The whole shambles" includes and refers to L.A's activity in the sport over the last 20 years.'

You need the past tense then. All the current stuff is wonderful for cycling.what went on is history and it is great that we are making a clean break from all that nonsense.

posted by andyp [860 posts]
17th October 2012 - 19:12

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Big Grin
Breaking News! Livestrong already updated their apparel:

http://cheathard.spreadshirt.com/

posted by Seveso [6 posts]
17th October 2012 - 20:07

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If you want to listen to an in-depth analysis and evidence from some
of lances fellow dopers and soigneur then point your browser at
www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer look for radio stations. Radio 5 live. Sorry
can't remember the name of the show but it was on at 19:00 on
monday, 15th. It was a tad shocking.

As for the UCI, they're a crock of shite. Get rid and start again,
cycling deserves far better.

To slo to live, to slo to die! ::-}

posted by OldnSlo [125 posts]
17th October 2012 - 20:21

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Well, it will be wonderful if things are followed through but that is unlikely. People aren't going to give up well-paid, powerful jobs unless there is another power who can get rid of them. International sports organizations have no such power above them and scant democracy so I doubt if much will really change. Blatter is still in power and I'm sure McQuaid won't be any easier to remove. Love to be proved wrong of course.

The only good thing is the existence of WADA. That is a bit of a game changer.

posted by Alan Tullett [1439 posts]
17th October 2012 - 20:26

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Do we all believe that Nike knew nothing at all about this for so many years...? I don't.

posted by james-o [190 posts]
17th October 2012 - 20:38

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Right onto to Armstrongs Oakley rep Stephanie MacIlvain, who was pressured to commit perjury in the SCA promotions trial. Was Stephanie pressured by Oakley as well as Armstrong?

posted by georgee [137 posts]
17th October 2012 - 21:02

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OldnSlo wrote:
If you want to listen to an in-depth analysis...

BBC Podcast of that show can be found here.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/5lspecials

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8031 posts]
17th October 2012 - 21:30

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And now Radioshack have followed suit. I can't wait for Lance to get really pissed, and start leaking information to the media about strange goings on in Aigle. What's the point of bribing people if they can't help you?

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
17th October 2012 - 21:32

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james-o wrote:
Do we all believe that Nike knew nothing at all about this for so many years...? I don't.

I think Nike's use of the word "misled" is very interesting. Breach of contract?

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8031 posts]
17th October 2012 - 21:32

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On a slightly different note but still about drugs Team Sky have just released this document.

Team Sky has had a clear position on doping from the very start. We are a clean team and have shown it is possible to win clean.
We want a team in which riders are free of the risks of doping and in which fans – new and old - can believe without any doubt or hesitation.
There is no place in Team Sky for those with an involvement in doping, whether past or present. This applies to management, support staff and riders.
Like others, we have been shocked by recent revelations of systemic doping in cycling’s past. So we have taken steps to reaffirm our commitment to being a clean team.
Today the riders, staff and management of Team Sky entered their annual end-of-season camp, where we review the season, plan the year ahead, and look to the future.
At its start, Team Principal Dave Brailsford re-stated our stance on doping and called on the riders, staff and management to reaffirm their own personal commitment to our position.
Over the coming weeks, we will talk individually with each team member and ask everyone, at every level of the team, to sign up to a clear written policy, confirming that they have no past or present involvement in doping.
Should anyone choose not to sign up to our clear policy they will have to leave the team, as will anyone who does sign but is subsequently found to be in breach.

I wonder where this leaves Sean Yates' future with Sky Thinking

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

stumps's picture

posted by stumps [2712 posts]
17th October 2012 - 22:06

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Good Cut and Paste tekkers.

Devil

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1728 posts]
17th October 2012 - 22:53

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Is it just me or does all this look very ordered, very planned, very managed.
It may look like an avalanche but underneath it feels pre arranged, in sequence. Very Armstrong.

Armstrong and the lawyers have known the detail of the USADA file for some time and have had time to prepare for this. I think this is the first stage of the 'comeback'. Not sure what the next step is but I have a feeling a full confession is inevetible.

The only thing I can compare it to is Clinton's 'cigar smoking' in the Oval Office. Next to that the Armstrong story is small beer. By the time Clinton left the Whitehouse he was more popular than ever. America is a very forgiving country. He's far from finished I feel.

_SiD_'s picture

posted by _SiD_ [179 posts]
18th October 2012 - 0:06

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Budweiser brewer Anheuser-Busch have dropped him aswell now Devil

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8825 posts]
18th October 2012 - 0:22

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Trek's solution is easy... a rebrand to Lemond !
It worked for Datsun!.

To slo to live, to slo to die! ::-}

posted by OldnSlo [125 posts]
18th October 2012 - 6:26

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The sport of cycling will endure way beyond LA. There are the Greg Le Mond of this world that we can be proud of and if they take decisive action now, the sport will blip on the radar and move forward. I don’t believe for one minute Nike paid 500k to UCI for a cover up. I reckon they simply made a payment, if any , simply to sponsor the sport. As for Trek who make good bikes they have drunken from the poison chalice and inexhonorably linked. Where Nike is a Global brand and more generic, Trek on the other hand is more specific. Their PR department will have to do a lot better then simply following the herd from this outfall. If one owned a trek bike at a cycling club you would have to snigger. You could not resist the tempatation and joke, 'I hope you are not on EPO today'. If they do not get ahead of this like a huge advertising promotion with clean well known cyclists, I fear they are doomed for failure. Right now I would not buy a Trek bike if my life depended on it. I would go as far as having to say that they would have to sue and give the proceeds to youth cycle groups to curry any favour with me. I do not want my kids growing up thinking that if they wanted to be competitive or venture into the world of cycling that they would have to inject themselves with epo or any other damn drug. The physical nature of the sport is demanding enough without condoning drug use in a clandestine fashion. Cycling promotes healthy living not the converse. First time I stepped out on a bike a year ago after 5km wobbly knees….a year later 100km not a bother. And starting to go to tours, I may not be Lemond but have a go. I have never seen a more helpful team effort then amongst cyclists. Now the whole family participate and they love it right down to the 5 year old.

As for the Live Rong foundation I wouldn’t give a penny farthing to them if I was dying from cancer. Just cause he stepped down does not mean he is not taking a salary. Does anyone actually know where the money goes from this foundation. They have a good pr campaign collecting it but as for distributing it.

I could envision LA threatening Trek and poor little Emma by making here out to be a harlot just to hide the truth.. What he did not bank on whas the resilience of Tygart and the USADA and the fact that we cyclists are in our tens of millions, engineers, lawyers, doctors, factory workers, unemployed. We all have a voice and it is our money that makes this world go round. What! Is he going to sue us all because we have an opinion. The reasoned decision by Tygart and the USADA was in fact reasoned. If I was empanelled on a jury I would vote guilty because the evidence is overwhelming. Like most I had my reservations and I gun for the underdog but I will readily accept I was wrong. Tygart did not simply launch an Exocet missile he launched a nuclear strike.

I like Pat McQuaid I think he is an eloquent speaker but for one moment to believe for he was not complicit in the whole debacle not a chance! And I also kissed the blarney stone. As for Verbruggen he should be in an old peoples home. He is so beligerant. Effective change will happen by getting rid of the old guard. Personally I would go for Greg LeMond as UCI president and cut a deal. In one foul swoop they will achieve credibility. And double the resources of WADA

I see no reason why we can not come out on the bright side of this whole affair. We take effective action now, we secure our children’s future.

As for LA he is proven to be a liar, bully and a cheat. I will have nothing to do with him or his sponsers.

posted by Seoige [104 posts]
18th October 2012 - 6:29

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Seoige wrote:
The sport of cycling will endure way beyond LA. There are the Greg Le Mond of this world that we can be proud of and if they take decisive action now, the sport will blip on the radar and move forward. I don’t believe for one minute Nike paid 500k to UCI for a cover up. I reckon they simply made a payment, if any , simply to sponsor the sport. As for Trek who make good bikes they have drunken from the poison chalice and inexhonorably linked. Where Nike is a Global brand and more generic, Trek on the other hand is more specific. Their PR department will have to do a lot better then simply following the herd from this outfall. If one owned a trek bike at a cycling club you would have to snigger. You could not resist the tempatation and joke, 'I hope you are not on EPO today'. If they do not get ahead of this like a huge advertising promotion with clean well known cyclists, I fear they are doomed for failure. Right now I would not buy a Trek bike if my life depended on it. I would go as far as having to say that they would have to sue and give the proceeds to youth cycle groups to curry any favour with me. I do not want my kids growing up thinking that if they wanted to be competitive or venture into the world of cycling that they would have to inject themselves with epo or any other damn drug. The physical nature of the sport is demanding enough without condoning drug use in a clandestine fashion. Cycling promotes healthy living not the converse. First time I stepped out on a bike a year ago after 5km wobbly knees….a year later 100km not a bother. And starting to go to tours, I may not be Lemond but have a go. I have never seen a more helpful team effort then amongst cyclists. Now the whole family participate and they love it right down to the 5 year old.

As for the Live Rong foundation I wouldn’t give a penny farthing to them if I was dying from cancer. Just cause he stepped down does not mean he is not taking a salary. Does anyone actually know where the money goes from this foundation. They have a good pr campaign collecting it but as for distributing it.

I could envision LA threatening Trek and poor little Emma by making here out to be a harlot just to hide the truth.. What he did not bank on whas the resilience of Tygart and the USADA and the fact that we cyclists are in our tens of millions, engineers, lawyers, doctors, factory workers, unemployed. We all have a voice and it is our money that makes this world go round. What! Is he going to sue us all because we have an opinion. The reasoned decision by Tygart and the USADA was in fact reasoned. If I was empanelled on a jury I would vote guilty because the evidence is overwhelming. Like most I had my reservations and I gun for the underdog but I will readily accept I was wrong. Tygart did not simply launch an Exocet missile he launched a nuclear strike.

I like Pat McQuaid I think he is an eloquent speaker but for one moment to believe for he was not complicit in the whole debacle not a chance! And I also kissed the blarney stone. As for Verbruggen he should be in an old peoples home. He is so beligerant. Effective change will happen by getting rid of the old guard. Personally I would go for Greg LeMond as UCI president and cut a deal. In one foul swoop they will achieve credibility. And double the resources of WADA

I see no reason why we can not come out on the bright side of this whole affair. We take effective action now, we secure our children’s future.

As for LA he is proven to be a liar, bully and a cheat. I will have nothing to do with him or his sponsers.

LeMond for UCI president!? I like that idea!!! Smile

Argy's picture

posted by Argy [147 posts]
18th October 2012 - 6:51

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You are probably right oldnslo, that makes a lot of sense to me. On a lighter note check out twitter #newliggettisms. These guys are so cool. It is the funny side of life. Laughing

posted by Seoige [104 posts]
18th October 2012 - 7:35

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Trek finally bites the hand that feeds them ....

posted by Karbon Kev [671 posts]
18th October 2012 - 8:05

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thanks, Simon_MacMichael, for posting that link.

One of the reporters claims it was ''unthinkable '' in 2005 that this was going to happen. Which left me a bit ?????

I mean How, just how, Is/was it possible, when you bear in mind the Bassons and Simeoni incidents, to consider for even one second that this man was clean? And, by extension, that any of them were clean?

I suppose it's easy to fool people if they want to believe.

posted by ElCynico [16 posts]
18th October 2012 - 8:57

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I'm curious about the Charly Mottet comment too. I've just read Willy Voet's book and he suggests Mottet was one of the very few clean ones.

Also interesting from that book is that his descriptions of kermis races ring so close with Kimmage's - right down to the riders having a common doping "pot".

posted by Paul J [606 posts]
18th October 2012 - 9:26

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What I find sad for the sports is that there seems to be no end to this. The whole saga is brought down to basic levels. The UCI never seem to want to get it right and many have said above there is a need for a radical new leader. A positive revolution if you want.

The other problem that disturbs me is the actions of doping bodies like the USADA - They have there own agenda that is not related to the good of the sport and justice. For cyclist to get 6 months suspension and then continue riding and no prison term and conviction for past misdemenours when riders caught today get 2 year bans.

I can't get my head around the idea that to go after one man and define that one man as the absolute centre and manager of every single drug taking and attitude. It was going on before LA and unfortunately after LA.

The system is not transparent and you can't trust what you see. Take Contador for example or the avoidance of Valverde for 2 years. If I hear that someone has been caught doping I do now query this. The whole system is suspect and needs revolution so it is transparent and fair for all. Every party has a vested interest that is separate from the good of the sport.

On another note its a shame with regards LA and Livestrong cancer charity which he did so much for so many. So much good has come out of these charities but to achieve it through doping makes for an oxymoron in my feelings regarding this. Well we will still support the livestrong brand for what it stands for in our business regardless of what LA did.

posted by Ciaran Patrick [117 posts]
18th October 2012 - 9:34

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Simon_MacMichael wrote:

I think Nike's use of the word "misled" is very interesting. Breach of contract?

Was wondering what the termination clause(s) in the contract was like? after Nike had said that they would continue with Armstrong only a week ago.

Just out of interest how many sporting goods companies make donations to anti doping organisations. I'm assuming that these organisations are not for profit?

THE ONLY WAY IS BIKE

posted by lushmiester [156 posts]
18th October 2012 - 11:57

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Ciaran Patrick wrote:
What I find sad for the sports is that there seems to be no end to this. The whole saga is brought down to basic levels. The UCI never seem to want to get it right and many have said above there is a need for a radical new leader. A positive revolution if you want.

The other problem that disturbs me is the actions of doping bodies like the USADA - They have there own agenda that is not related to the good of the sport and justice. For cyclist to get 6 months suspension and then continue riding and no prison term and conviction for past misdemenours when riders caught today get 2 year bans.

I can't get my head around the idea that to go after one man and define that one man as the absolute centre and manager of every single drug taking and attitude. It was going on before LA and unfortunately after LA.

The system is not transparent and you can't trust what you see. Take Contador for example or the avoidance of Valverde for 2 years. If I hear that someone has been caught doping I do now query this. The whole system is suspect and needs revolution so it is transparent and fair for all. Every party has a vested interest that is separate from the good of the sport.

On another note its a shame with regards LA and Livestrong cancer charity which he did so much for so many. So much good has come out of these charities but to achieve it through doping makes for an oxymoron in my feelings regarding this. Well we will still support the livestrong brand for what it stands for in our business regardless of what LA did.

You're spot on Ciaran - USADA's actions disturb me too!

They caught the cheat and told the world about what he's done. Outrageous - so not good for justice or the sport...

What, in the name of hell, are you talking about??

posted by Lacticlegs [124 posts]
18th October 2012 - 13:03

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Neil Rogers of VeloNews links to a piece that calls the Nike action "brave" (with more than a hint of sarcasm and a few choice words):

http://deadspin.com/5952466/nike-dumps-lance-armstrong-in-the-smarmiest-...

@TheRaceRadio posted a very appropriate tweet re. Trek and Armstrong:

"This would be a good time for @trekbikes to apologize to @greglemond"

Not 'arf!

Meanwhile, down in the journalists' mosh pit, AP sports columnist John Leicester is asking some good questions:
http://tinyurl.com/ceke9d3

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [1946 posts]
18th October 2012 - 14:06

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Well, John Leicester is right to ask those questions. I'm afraid journalists buried their head in the sand. Betsy Andreu is spot on:

"You heard these stories, you saw these incidents — and I'm saying you, collectively — but yet very few, if any, did anything about it," .... "I understand if no one is going to go on the record. I get that. But with Lance, you just had so many incidents. There were red flags all along. Just because the hand isn't caught in the cookie jar doesn't mean there's nothing there."

As I say above simeoni? Bassons? It wasn't that hard to spot. If nothing else, if they had wanted a story, just follow the money and you'll usually find something rotten. In this respect the cycling industry reflected recent times very neatly: an enormous bubble of BS, fed to us by liars. See also banking.

posted by ElCynico [16 posts]
19th October 2012 - 1:48

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there are two facets to your argument:

USADA writes "serial cheat" and a bully who enforced "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen".

Evidence shows he was material in orchestrating the drug culture amongst cyclists to obtain an unfair advantage...an Architect if you will.

Dick Pound from WADA says

There was certainly generalised knowledge that there had been some payments from Armstrong to the UCI. It's hard to think of the UCI as a charity and Lance somebody filled with [charitable] spirit."

website Live rong reports a part income 245 mill of 400 mill with associated admin. costs on the 245 of 19%.46.5 Million dollars. Given Dick Pounds statement, I wonder how much LA is getting as chairman? That is not to negate the fact that 81% goes to good causes and that any charity has overheads. But I curious where the other 46.5 mill goes and why they skirted over the other 155 mill?(They mention 400 mill). How much of this money is in fact self preservation and the other charitable spirit?
http://blog.livestrong.org/2011/05/02/where-the-money-goes/

posted by Seoige [104 posts]
19th October 2012 - 6:36

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Not as complicated as you imagine they are all there. If you read the USADA report entirely, lord knows its comprehensive, The insurance company SCA will look for their 12 mill.back for insured bonuses. Particulary given they lost the last court case. They suspected him all along but their contractual clause is explicit. If he is stripped of the titles they are entitled to their money back. The Sunday times will also go for thier one mill. in the libel case. TdF will also want their 7 million in earnings back.

It is a sad day for the sport and those sponsors who acted in good faith Nike was a little retiscent at first but as they pointed out, we tolerate a little bad behaviour off the field but not on the field of play.

Trek a misnomer because they are inextricably linked and will need a good spin doctor from this fallout. Whether they like it or not they will have to pay some form of penance for sponsoring LA.I mean who would want to buy a Trek bike now.

Ok! we will all be a bit disillusioned by these revelations but better for it. Cycling in my mind is growing exponentially. Get rid of the old guard at UCI, need new blood like LeMond and deal with the drug culture head on rather then leaving it to fester for another 15 years Sad .

posted by Seoige [104 posts]
19th October 2012 - 6:52

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Right onto to Armstrongs Oakley rep Stephanie MacIlvain, who was pressured to commit perjury in the SCA promotions trial. Was Stephanie pressured by Oakley as well as Armstrong?

I thought she'd come out and said that she was told that her career and that of her husband would be impacted if she didn't change her story?

posted by atlaz [154 posts]
19th October 2012 - 10:22

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Quote:
Breach of contract?

Maybe, but in reality more like 'blind eye turned to the almost-obvious, whispers ignored' while the superhero image suited them. Then dropped like a stone when his reputation crumbled. I guess the same happened at other sponsors - as long as Armstrong swore he was clean they carried on backing the winner, doubts or not. To be fair, no different to many other sponsors and their grand tour winners.

posted by james-o [190 posts]
19th October 2012 - 12:38

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