Lance Armstrong said Wednesday he is stepping down as chairman of his Livestrong cancer-fighting charity as Nike announced it was ending its contract with the former star cyclist over allegations he used performance-enhancing substances.
The developments came a week after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a massive report detailing allegations of widespread doping by Armstrong and his teams when he won the Tour de France seven consecutive times from 1999 to 2005. The document’s purpose was to show why USADA has banned him from cycling for life and ordered 14 years of his career results erased – including those Tour titles. It contains sworn statements from 26 witnesses, including 11 former teammates.
Armstrong, who was not paid a salary as chairman of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, will remain on its 15-member board. His duties leading the board will be turned over to vice chairman Jeff Garvey, who was founding chairman in 1997.
“This organization, its mission and its supporters are incredibly dear to my heart,” Armstrong said in a statement obtained by The Associated Press. “Today therefore, to spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career, I will conclude my chairmanship.”
As Armstrong made his decision, Nike announced on its website that it had decided to end its contract with the athlete, saying the company felt “misled.”
“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 said it would continue to support Livestrong’s initiatives to combat cancer.