Levi Leipheimer today had his contract terminated by the Omega Pharma Quick-Step cycling team and became the first of the Lance Armstrong whistleblowers to lose his job as a result of confessing to being part of an organised doping ring at the USPS cycling team.
In a statement released this evening the team praised Leipheimer "for his co-operation with the USADA investigation and contribution to cleaning up the sport of cycling," but then went on to add, "However, in the light of the disclosures made by Mr Leipheimer in his public statement on 10th of October the team has decided to terminate the contract."
Leipheimer had been with the team for one season after signing from RadioShack at the end of the 2011 season. The frankness of Leipheimer's admissions in his affidavit to the USADA may have led the OPQS management to regard him as damaged goods. Leipheimer carried on his association with Bruyneel right up until the end of last season, and it is clear that although he doesn't mention actually doping while at RadioShack the topic was certainly up for discussion between him and the Belgian.
The economics of cycling are also unlikely to have done the American any favours with OPQS team boss Patrick Lefevre looking to fund the signing of Mark Cavendish from Team Sky and possibly reasoning that getting a star rider tainted by his doping past and banned for the next six months off the wage bill in order to help pay for the signing of a peloton superstar was something of a no-brainer. As the saying goes 'nothing personal just business'.
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.