Lance Armstrong’s longest-running personal sponsor pulled the plug on Monday, cutting ties with the disgraced former world champion after the UCI banned him for life and wiped the slate clean of his seven Tour de France wins.
“Based on UCI’s decision today and the overwhelming evidence that USADA presented, Oakley has severed its longstanding relationship with Lance Armstrong, effective immediately,” read a statement on Oakley’s website. “When Lance joined our family many years ago, he was a symbol of possibility. We are deeply saddened by the outcome, but look forward with hope to athletes and teams of the future who will rekindle that inspiration by racing clean, fair and honest.”
Like SRAM and Nike last week, Oakley confirmed that it would continue its partnership with the Livestrong Foundation, the cancer charity Armstrong launched in 1997. He stepped down from his position as chairman last Wednesday, but remains on the board of directors.
“We believe the Livestrong Foundation has been a positive force in the lives of many affected by cancer and, at this time, Oakley will continue to support its noble goals,” read the statement.
Armstrong’s sponsors started fleeing the controversial former world champion last Wednesday, a week after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency published its 1,000-plus-page dossier outlining its charges that he was at the center of a sophisticated doping conspiracy for more than a decade. Nike, which like Oakley had supported Armstrong since before his battle against testicular cancer, was the first backer to drop the Texan last week. Giro, RadioShack and Trek each followed, while Anheuser-Busch announced that it would not renew Armstrong’s contract at the end of the year and Honey Stinger, in which Armstrong is vested, said that it would remove him from packaging.
Official fitness partner for Livestrong, Johnson Health Tech North America, Inc., nutrition brand FRS, and 24 Hour Fitness, each listed as sponsors at lancearmstrong.com, have yet to release a statement regarding the Texan’s sponsorship status.