Lance Armstrong, the seven-time Tour de France cycling winner stripped of his titles on cheating allegations, has cut his last official tie to the cancer charity Livestrong by resigning from its board.
Armstrong, who stepped down as the group’s chairman on Oct. 17, was the target of a report released by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in October that alleged he was part of the largest sports cheating ring in cycling history.
Armstrong’s last day as a board member at the charity he founded in 1997 was Nov. 4, according to Katherine McLane, a spokeswoman for the group. One of the world’s best-known athletes, Armstrong created the Austin, Texas-based foundation after testicular cancer nearly ended his career. Its mission is to connect cancer patients with resources to help with their care, and to inspire them to live active lives.
“Lance decided to resign from the board of the foundation to spare it any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding his cycling career,” McLane wrote today in an e- mail.
Armstrong has never said he cheated, and he has repeatedly denied any such allegations. He chose not to fight the current round of charges against him, allowing the USADA and the Union Cycliste Internationale to strip him of his wins.
Yesterday, Armstrong posted a picture on his Twitter account of him lying on the couch, with seven of the yellow jerseys he won and was recently stripped of framed on the wall behind him. There is no mention of his latest decision.
There’s evidence the cheating allegations may have hurt the charity. In an annual survey published last year, Livestrong was ranked 343rd among the top 400 charities in the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s list. This year it fell out of the rankings, though it remains the top athlete-founded charity.
Armstrong was also dropped by his personal sponsors in October, including sportswear maker Nike Inc. and sports eyeglasses company Oakley Inc.
Livestrong is hopeful donors will look past Armstrong’s alleged cheating to the good work done by the charity in linking cancer patients with resources, Greg Lee, the foundation’s chief financial officer, wrote in an e-mail before Armstrong’s board resignation was announced. The foundation has sufficient reserves to survive a downturn, he said.
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