Lance Armstrong cuts ties with cancer charity Livestrong
But cheeky Twitter photo, showing his seven yellow jerseys, doesn't win him any new friends
LANCE ARMSTRONG has severed all ties with his cancer-fighting charity as he looks to limit the fallout following the controversy over his cycling career.
The 41-year-old cyclist was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles last month after being found guilty of using performance-enhancing drugs. The United States Anti-Doping Agency [USADA] accused Armstrong of overseeing "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen".
Though Armstrong has always denied the charges, labelling them "nonsense", he chose not to contest them and has subsequently been erased from cycling's history books.
Armstrong initially stepped down as chairman of Livestrong on 17 October, although he retained a seat on the board of the charity he formed in 1997 after his recovery from testicular cancer. Now the Texan has decided to cut all links with Livestrong and will no longer have any involvement.
"Lance Armstrong has chosen to voluntarily resign from the board of directors of the Livestrong Foundation to spare the organisation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding his cycling career," said new chairman Jeff Garvey.
"[He] was instrumental in changing the way the world views people affected by cancer. His devotion to serving survivors is unparalleled and for 15 years he committed himself to that cause with all his heart."
Armstrong has donated an estimated $6.7 million to Livestrong over the years and the charity said he "remains the inspiration". In reality this is further evidence of how low Armstrong's reputation has sunk in the past month. Having lost several of his personal sponsors, including Nike, Oakley and brewing giant Anheuser-Busch, Armstrong might also have to pay back millions of dollars he won in prize money and sponsorship deals.
According to one report today, Armstrong is allegedly hoping to reach amicable deals with former sponsors to avoid "a full-on legal attack on his assets", which are reported to be $125m. The Business Insider claims that Armstrong's attorneys recently met with one promotions company in an attempt to thrash out an agreement over a $5 million performance bonus.
Despite all his problems, however, Armstrong remains defiant. On Sunday he marked his return to Texas from Hawaii with a brief tweet. "Back in Austin and just layin' around," ran the message, alongside a photo of Armstrong sprawled on a couch admiring his seven yellow Tour de France jerseys.
As USA Today noted, "It's cocky, it's condescending and it's not going to help Armstrong's battered public image."