Disgraced Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong resigned today as chairman from the cancer foundation he helped create, and learned that Nike had cut ties with him in the wake of a damning report about his use of banned performance enhancing drugs.
Armstrong will remain on the board of the Livestrong Foundation, a Texas-based charity which advocated for cancer victims, according to a statement. Armstrong co-founded the organization following his near-death battle with testicular cancer. He came back from the illness to win seven Tour de France titles.
But after years of denials, lawsuits, and allegations, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency finally got to the truth in a report that contained extensive evidence that Armstrong and his U.S. Postal Service team had engaged in widespread doping throughout his historic run of titles. USADA stripped Armstrong of his titles, and banned him from competing in any sanctioned events.
In a statement posted on the Livestrong website, Armstrong referred to the scandal this way: “To spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career, I will conclude my chairmanship.”
Whether there remains any controversy at all is pretty arguable. The USADA report is exhaustive in detailing the multi-year doping conspiracy, quoting from more than a dozen team members and others close to the program, including his stalwart lieutenant and Queens native George Hincapie.
Indeed, in their terse 65-word statement about ending their 10-year relationship with Armstrong, Nike officials left no doubt where they stood on the “controversy.”
“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.”
The International Cycling Union has yet to decide whether to officially strip Armstrong of his titles. The organization is said to be under pressure to reveal what it knew about the doping campaign.