SRAM drops Lance Armstrong, but Oakley stand by their man… for now

Component maker "disappointed" with USADA revelations… Oakley wait for the UCI

by Tony Farrelly   October 19, 2012  

Oakley Livestrong Racing Jacket (www.oakley.com)

US bike component maker SRAM - in which Lance Armstrong once owned shares - has terminated its sponsorship agreement with the disgraced former pro-cyclist in the wake of the revelation by USADA in its Reasoned Decision. SRAM joins Nike, Trek, Giro, and Michelob Ultra in ending sponsorship agreements with the Texan - who has also stood down from his chairmanship of Livestrong. Sunglasses maker, Oakley though is standing firm for the time being.

A short statement issued early this morning announced the termination of SRAM's agreement with Armstrong:

"SRAM is officially terminating its product sponsorship agreement with Mr. Armstrong. SRAM is disappointed with the revelations that the USADA report has brought forth."

Although it is severing its ties with Armstrong, SRAM says it will continue to support Livestrong "as we believe in its purpose and value". It will also continue its support of the Bontrager-Livestrong cycling team.

The statement also gave some background to the agreement in which Armstrong became a minority shareholder before selling his stake in the company.

"In 2008, Lance Armstrong decided to come out of retirement and re-enter the 2009 racing scene. Mr. Armstrong connected with SRAM and had a small share of a minority private equity investment in SRAM beginning in September of 2008. SRAM bought out the private equity investment in June of 2011 that included Mr. Armstrong’s interest. Mr. Armstrong has not had an investment in SRAM since that time."

SRAM's departure means that all of the brands most closely associated with Lance Armstrong - bar one - have now ended their associations with him. That 'one' is Oakley and a statement from the Californian maker of unobtanium sunglasses confirmed that anyone playing Armstrong sponsor bingo will have to wait a while yet before they shout 'house!'

In a statement posted on its Twitter feed Oakley said it would stand by Armstrong until the UCI give its verdict on the USADA evidence.

"As guilty as the evidence shows, which we completely acknowledge, it is our promise and contractual obligation to stand by our athletes until proven guilty by the highest governing body of sport, or a court of law.

"We might be last off, but we are not going to jump on the bandwagon as it breaks our promise to all of our athletes. We will wait for the UCI's conclusion and act at that time."

Given the weight of evidence presented by USADA it is almost inconceivable (although certainly not impossible… this is the UCI) that cycling's governing body won't ratify the sanctions imposed by USADA.

So the day on which Armstrong hands back his Jawbones is most likely deferred rather than postponed.

21 user comments

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The Stephanie MacIlvain perjury links Oakley far more to the sins of Armstrong than 'rumours' of Nikes 500k bung to Verbruggan.

If Hamilton is correct that she spent 7 hours giving the testimony as the SCA case, Oakley are fooked.

posted by georgee [137 posts]
19th October 2012 - 11:19

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I would not buy Oakley if they were giving away their sunglasses in cornflakes boxes. I can not believe SRAM are also annexed with this debacle. They manufacture 1st class gear and as a company, cutting edge. I am pleased they distanced themselves from LA and I will continue to buy sram Wink

posted by Seoige [104 posts]
19th October 2012 - 11:27

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I am feeling slightly less chipper about my choice of eyewear at the moment.

Radars could be up for sale now.

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posted by jimmythecuckoo [1245 posts]
19th October 2012 - 11:31

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After the proposed PBS budget cut, Oakley are desperately trying to sign a deal with Sesame Street for a new range of yellow Big Bird shades to launch next spring.

Then they can cut Armstrong loose. Nerd

posted by Matt_S [182 posts]
19th October 2012 - 11:41

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I hope i can get some cheap Frogskins out of this.

posted by finbar [87 posts]
19th October 2012 - 12:43

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I was in my opticians on Tuesday and noticed a big space in the Oakley display where Lance's picture used to be. The assistant said they'd had an email from Oakley on Monday a.m. telling them to get his face off their shelves.
I offered them £5 for the black and yellow ones, but he passed, he said some bloke had just been in and bought pair - who'd have thunk?

posted by Default Username [5 posts]
19th October 2012 - 18:09

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Now none of you can judge me for buying fake oakleys....

"I can't believe I ate the whole thing..."

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posted by Cooks [483 posts]
19th October 2012 - 18:11

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As long as USADA have nothing on riders sponsored by Lidl...

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
19th October 2012 - 19:36

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I want some jawbones but no yellow streak in mine thanks....

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posted by richdirector [53 posts]
19th October 2012 - 20:12

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I think that Oakley are right to wait for the UCI. There's a lot of documentation to get through and I still have to question how it was possible to fool the testers. The motorbike is a bit of a mystery. Given the number of cameras that follow the tour how come no-one has produced a picture of it yet?

If it transpires that the only evidence that USADA is witness evidence (and some of that of dubious origin) then it sets a precedent for any sportsman to be banned from the sport if enough fellow sportsmen testify against them. This is not good for sports. If cheating has been going on then the UCI and WADA have to come up with a way to stop this happening again. Anything less turns this into a witchhunt.

If cycling is indeed a sport of self-abuse why aren't more cyclists sectioned under the mental health act?

posted by hairyairey [279 posts]
19th October 2012 - 23:43

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hairyairey wrote:

If it transpires that the only evidence that USADA is witness evidence (and some of that of dubious origin) then it sets a precedent for any sportsman to be banned from the sport if enough fellow sportsmen testify against them.

So if 15 of your work colleagues testify in court (or are willing to under oath) that they witnessed you nicking the office cleaners wallet this is insufficient evidence to try you?

What this case shows is that the reliance on testing alone (and cynically exploited by Larry the Liar and others) as a method of detecting dope cheats is fatally flawed. It's like saying that forensics evidence is the only evidence admissable in a court. Lance maybe a liar, a bully and cynic but he, and his posse of Lawyer's, aren't stupid enough to pick a fight on the crap argument of I"'ve been tested a zilliion times and never been caught"

I expect on Monday Pat McQuid will find some minor issue with the USADA process and further undermine our confidence in the UCI's grasp of the serious depth of sh*t there in.

Sudor

posted by Sudor [180 posts]
20th October 2012 - 9:05

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hairyairey wrote:
The motorbike is a bit of a mystery. Given the number of cameras that follow the tour how come no-one has produced a picture of it yet?

When Tyler Hamilton said that Motoman followed the Tour on his motorcycle, he didn't mean 10 yards behind the peloton! The bloke was hardly going to be handing up syringes.

posted by Mat Brett [1865 posts]
20th October 2012 - 9:50

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Of course Oakley stand by Lance, all gangsters wear big dark 'shades'.

antonio

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posted by antonio [950 posts]
20th October 2012 - 10:00

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Oakley are the only ones remaining calm and going through the process rationally. The UCI should always have the final say & Oakley are giving them that respect - world cycling is not down to the Americans who just always shout loudest.

posted by beelzebomb [8 posts]
20th October 2012 - 10:49

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Sudor wrote:
So if 15 of your work colleagues testify in court (or are willing to under oath) that they witnessed you nicking the office cleaners wallet this is insufficient evidence to try you?

For a conviction a court of law requires that evidence be proven beyond any reasonable doubt - you only have to look at the fiasco of the trial of John Terry, who provided a laughable defence but got away with it because it couldn't be proved his ridiculous version of events wasn't actual fact.

posted by beelzebomb [8 posts]
20th October 2012 - 10:56

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Oakley wanna wait for the UCI's decision!!! Surprise
Really!
witness evidence points to corruption in the UCI as well as US Postal...
How can the UCI's take on the matter really be considered valid?

@beelzebomb Sorry but the Terry analogie just doesn't fit, one man's muttered comments on a noisy pitch, with how many witnesses???... Vs years of organised doping in a team witnessed by many riders, doctors & staff!!!

What troubles me is:
1. The way LA treats other people (deliberately destroying them).
2. & His supergrass attitude 'I'm gonna tell the UCI that anyone who might beat me me is doping'

What an arsehole... I'm glad EVERYONE is finding out about this mans true character at last.

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posted by Paulo [110 posts]
20th October 2012 - 13:35

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we do not like cheat and bullies Wink

posted by Seoige [104 posts]
20th October 2012 - 15:32

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beelzebomb wrote:
For a conviction a court of law requires that evidence be proven beyond any reasonable doubt

In a criminal case, yes. In a civil case it is “on the balance of probabilities”. I believe the same thing applies in the USADA case.

However, 26 people testifying that you were involved in doping, over half of which testifying that they directly saw you dope, is pretty much a slam-dunk in a criminal case, let alone a civil one.

posted by Matt_S [182 posts]
20th October 2012 - 20:07

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Matt_S wrote:
beelzebomb wrote:
For a conviction a court of law requires that evidence be proven beyond any reasonable doubt

In a criminal case, yes. In a civil case it is “on the balance of probabilities”. I believe the same thing applies in the USADA case.

However, 26 people testifying that you were involved in doping, over half of which testifying that they directly saw you dope, is pretty much a slam-dunk in a criminal case, let alone a civil one.

You are right Matt. Sufficient evidence there for me to vote guilty in a criminal court. I really do not think USADA when they published their decision were looking to do so on the lower standard and open a debate at to a 'witchhunt'. They simply put before us overwhelming evidence....I never wanted to believe USADA and go for the underdog. They changed my mind completely. If it is there in black and white, it is simply there! It is not exactly as this was achieved without personal cost and sacrifice.

posted by Seoige [104 posts]
21st October 2012 - 12:21

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Up until I read the 200 Page summary of the 1000 page document sent to the UCI I was convinced the USADA and the Press were on a witch-hunt. I still didn't take the presses including roadcc word for it until I’d read the 200 page document myself.
However no one at roadcc has yet answered this question can the USADA strip anyone of a foreign title or does that have to be the UCI, WADA or the TdF Organisers?

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posted by Wesselwookie [132 posts]
22nd October 2012 - 7:05

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Wesselwookie wrote:
Up until I read the 200 Page summary of the 1000 page document sent to the UCI I was convinced the USADA and the Press were on a witch-hunt. I still didn't take the presses including roadcc word for it until I’d read the 200 page document myself.
However no one at roadcc has yet answered this question can the USADA strip anyone of a foreign title or does that have to be the UCI, WADA or the TdF Organisers?

The UCI is bound by the world anti-doping code, which it has signed up to, and has to abide by USADA's decision, or go to arbitration. USADA has the authority to strip Armstrong of his titles, or the titles of any athlete whose sport's governing body has signed up to the code.

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7324 posts]
22nd October 2012 - 8:52

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