LANCE ARMSTRONG IS stepping down as chairman of his Livestrong cancer-fighting charity to help it limit the damage from the doping scandal that has snared the former champion cyclist.
Armstrong announced the move this afternoon, a week after the US Anti-Doping Agency released a massive report detailing allegations of widespread performance-enhancing drug use by Armstrong and his teams. The document included testimony from 11 former teammates.
Also this afternoon, sportswear giants Nike have announced they will no longer be associated with Armstrong.
“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.”
USADA has ordered 14 years of Armstrong’s career results erased, including his seven Tour de France titles.
The Lance Armstrong Foundation, commonly known as Livestrong, was founded in 1997 and has raised roughly $500 million to support cancer patients. The group has scheduled its 15th anniversary celebration for this weekend. Armstrong will stay on the charity’s board.
Armstrong thanked those who have supported the foundation over the years.
“I am deeply grateful to the people of the foundation who have done such hard and excellent work over the last 15 years, building tangible and effective ways to improve the lives of cancer survivors,” he said.
“And I am deeply humbled by the support our foundation has received from so many people throughout the world — survivors, world leaders, business leaders and of course, the cancer community itself.”
A cancer survivor, Armstrong strongly denies doping and says he quit fighting USADA because its hearing process was unfair.