Armstrong scandal: ASO and SCA ask for their money back, Oakley finally pull plug
Tour organiser and Texan insurance co first in the queue for refunds as UCI confirms USADA sanctions
No sooner had the UCI endorsed USADA's decision to strip Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles (and long before UCI president, Pat McQuaid had stopped speaking), the fallout began again for the disgraced rider - Oakley promptly dropped him, Tour organisers ASO said they wanted their money back, and SCA Promotions said it would be going after the beleaguered Texan for $7.5 million.
None of this can have been a surprise to Armstrong or his advisors. While Oakley said it would stand by him last week, it made clear that if the UCI ratified USADA's sanction that would be the end - the Californian sunglasses maker will however continue to back the Livestrong charity.
In a statement released as soon as the UCI made its announcement, Oakley said:
"Based on UCI's decision and the overwhelming evidence that USADA presented, Oakley has severed its long-standing relationship with Lance Armstrong, effective immediately.
"When Lance joined our family many years ago, he was a symbol of possibility. We are deeply saddened by the outcome but look forward with hope to athletes and teams of the future who will rekindle that inspiration by racing clean, fair and honest.
"We believe the Livestrong Foundation has been a positive force in the lives of many affected by cancer and, at this time, Oakley will continue to support its noble goals."
Of possibly greater concern to Armstrong than having to hand back his Racingjackets is the news that SCA Promotions and Tour organisers ASO are the first in what is probably going to be a long line of companies, organisations, and individuals asking for their money back.
SCA's demand is the most interesting and the least unexpected. The fallout from Armstrong's earlier legal tussle with the Texan insurance company - which he eventually won - provided one of the central planks of the USADA's evidence against him most notably Betsy Andreu's affidavit that she was in the room when Armstrong admitted to taking performance enhancing drugs when asked by a doctor about his past medial history prior to cancer treatment.
Jeffrey M. Tillotson, SCA's lawyer told the BBC that: "We will make a formal demand for return of funds." He added: "If this is not successful, we will initiate formal legal proceedings against Mr Armstrong in five business days (Monday 29 October)."
Armstrong originally sued SCA after it refused to pay out on an insurance policy taken out by Tailwind Sports (of which Armstrong was co-owner) against performance bonuses that would be due to the rider should he win the Tour de France.
SCA refused to pay Armstrong arguing that he had not been riding clean when he won. The insurance company lost the case because their contract with Tailwind stipulated that they would have to pay if Armstrong was the official winner of the Tour.
It' also worth bearing in mind that the fact that Armstrong gave evidence under oath in that case could potentially give rise to perjury charges.
The UCI's acceptance of USADA's stripping Armstrong of his Tour titles means that as of today those words no longer hold true - and SCA are entitled to ask for their money back.
Equally quick off the mark were Tour organisers ASO with race director, Christian Prudhomme who said: "It's without surprise that we received today's news, it's totally logical. Lance Armstrong is no longer the winner of the Tour de France from 1999-2005".
Prudhomme went on to restate ASO's intention that the 1999 - 2005 Tours should go down in the record books as having no winner - he did not comment about what would be done about the American's 2009 podium place, whether there will be not third placed rider or whether Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins, then with Garmin-Transitions, will be elevated from fourth place.
He did though say that ASO will be asking Armstrong - whose highest Tour de France placing is now 36th overall - for their money back.
"The UCI rules are clear: when a rider loses his title, he must reimburse his winnings," Prudhomme said before concluding with masterful understatement: "We would have preferred that none of this had happened."