DALLAS (CN) – Lance Armstrong will resign as chairman of his Livestrong cancer charity and has been dropped by Nike, after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s damning report on his cycling career.
“This organization, its mission and its supporters are incredibly dear to my heart,” Armstrong said today, according to The Associated Press.
“Today therefore, to spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career, I will conclude my chairmanship.”
Livestrong Vice Chairman Jeff Garvey will take over the cancer foundation’s long-term strategic planning, Livestrong spokeswoman Katherine McLane said. The charity is known for its yellow bracelets, which have been widely imitated by other groups.
Nike announced today that it was dropping the disgraced cyclist.
“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 said on its corporate website. “Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in any manner.”
But Nike said it will continue to support the foundation’s initiatives “to unite, inspire and empower people affected by cancer.”
Armstrong, a cancer survivor, has raised nearly $500 million for cancer research.
For years, the seven-time Tour de France champion denied accusations that he used performance-enhancing drugs.
But the USADA stripped him of all his cycling victories and banned him from professional cycling for life after he refused to fight doping charges in arbitration.
Armstrong sued the agency in July, claiming his due process rights were violated, but U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks in Austin dismissed the suit a month later.
USADA CEO Travis Tygard said the “overwhelming” evidence includes sworn testimony from 26 people, including 15 cyclists with knowledge of the team and its doping activities.
The agency also accused Armstrong of committed perjury when he denied under oath that he had ever taken performance-enhancing drugs during his professional cycling career.
In 2004, Armstrong and Tailwind Sports sued Dallas-based SCA Promotions in Dallas County Court, claiming SCA refused to pay $5 million in sponsorship that were triggered when he won the Tour De France.
USADA claims that Armstrong testified under oath during arbitration proceedings in January 2006 that “he never violated the rules of the [Union Cycliste International] or the Tour de France in connection with the Tour de France in 2001, 2002, 2003 or 2004” and that he “had never taken any performance enhancing drug in connection with his cycling career,” according to the USADA’s “reasoned decision” released last week.
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