Lance Armstrong is stepping down as chairman of his Livestrong cancer charity, according to reports, in order to distance the organisation from the doping scandal that has cost him his seven Tour de France cycling titles and one of his corporate sponsors, Nike.
“To spare the [Livestrong] foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career, I will conclude my charimanship.”
He will continue to serve on the board.
One of Armstrong’s long-time corporate sponsors, Nike, also announced on Wednesday that it had terminated its contract with the cyclist, following evidence that he participated in an elaborate doping programme.
“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 company said in a statement.
“Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in any manner. Nike plans to continue support of the Livestrong initiatives created to unite, inspire and empower people affected by cancer.”
Armstrong had been an inspirational figure for millions after recovering from testicular cancer that had spread to his brain and lungs and then winning the world’s most celebrated cycling event seven times in a row.
But the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) banned Armstrong and took away his titles in August after he chose not to fight the doping accusations, claims USADA outlined in a report unveiled last week.
The USADA released a report saying the cycling legend’s team ran “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme the sport has ever seen”.
The report which came out on Wednesday had 11 of Armstrong’s former teammates testifying against him in its investigation of the cyclist.
USADA delivered its reasoned decision against Armstrong with a summary of the facts it used to hand him a lifetime suspension and erase his seven Tour de France titles.
He has always denied doping allegations but had not contested USADA’s charges.