The United States Anti-Doping Authority (USADA) investigation which has led to the cyclist’s disgrace has resulted not just in the loss of his 7 Tour de France titles but also millions of dollars in endorsements.
Sponsorship deals with sportswear giant Nike, brewer Aunheuser–Busch and bicycle manufacturer Trek earned Armstrong millions of dollars annually. Each sponsor dropped Armstrong in the wake of the publication of USADA’s dossier of evidence against the cyclist.
USADA’s report was only published after Armstrong refused to contest the charges against him, saying he had grown weary of fighting allegations he doped during his Tour victories.
In reality the sheer scale of the evidence USADA had gathered, including testimony from multiple riders on the US Postal Team left him with little alternative but to surrender his fight.
Armstrong has not displayed the same reluctance to testify when accused in the past, using legal proceedings to intimidate his accusers into silence.
People like Irishwoman Emma O’Reilly, who worked as a soigneur for US Postal during the 1999 Tour.
The life of a masseuse in a professional cycling team is far from glamorous, as well as massaging weary legs after a long day in the mountains, soigneurs are also expected to wash, cook and book hotel rooms for the riders.
Emma O’Reilly soon found even more was expected at US Postal. Her duties extended to transporting doping products across borders, disposing of syringes and covering up needle marks on the rider’s arms with her makeup.
O’Reilly went public in 2003 by co-operating with Sunday Times journalist David Walshe’s bookL.A. Confidentiel: Les secrets de Lance Armstrong, which accused Armstrong of doping.
Walshe along with fellow Irishman and Sunday Times journalist Paul Kimmage was instrumental in building a case against Armstrong.
In response the American launched legal proceeding against O’Reilly and the Sunday Times, which had published extracts from the book. He also made baseless accusations that O’Reilly was a “prostitute” and an “alcoholic”.
Emma O’Reilly’s testimony along with that of many of Armstrong’s former teammates formed the basis of USADA’s report.
The Sunday Times has now launched proceedings against the cyclist in an attempt to recover the £300,000 settlement it was forced to pay Armstrong in 2006. The paper is also seeking costs and interest, in total the claim is likely to exceed £1 million.
Dallas based company SCA promotions is suing Armstrong for $12 million in sponsorship bonuses it was obligated to pay the cyclist when he won races.
SCA had attempted to withhold a $5 million payment after Armstrong won his 6th Tour de France in 2004 because of the allegations made in LA Confidiential.
Armstrong successfully sued the company and SCA was forced to pay the cyclist a $7.5 million settlement in 2006. The 41-year-old may also face perjury charges stemming from his denial of doping under oath during the trial
The US Government may also launch legal proceedings against the Texan. The U.S. Postal Service unwittingly funded what the USADA report described as “the most sophisticated doping programme sport has ever seen” with federal money.
In the wake of Armstrong’s confession the Justice Department may sue Armstrong for fraud in the hope of recouping the $30 million the US Postal Service paid the team in sponsorship.
Armstrong now faces the prospect of losing millions in litigation and potential imprisonment.
Since retiring from cycling in 2011, Armstrong has competed professionally as a triathlete. It was in triathlon that Armstrong first competed before ultimately focusing exclusively on cycling and the sport now provides him with his best prospect of a future income.
Upon the publication of its report USADA banned Armstrong from competing professionally in any other sport. The American is hopeful that admitting he doped may result in the reduction of the ban.
The cyclist has already made overtures to USADA in the hope of reaching a deal where his ban would be reduced. Armstrong even met USADA chief Travis Tygart in Denver recently in an attempt to reach a deal.
During the meeting Mr Tygart informed Armstrong that he had already had ample opportunity to confess and at best his ban would be reduced to 8 years.
Armstrong responded angrily informing Tygart that he alone held “the key to his redemption” before hurling a profanity at the man whose investigation heralded his downfall and walking out.
It is financial pressure rather than guilt that has prompted Armstrong to end his charade.
Until recently the cyclist was seemingly defiant, even posting a picture on his Twitter account with his seven discredited yellow jerseys hanging prominently in the background.
By initially refusing to admit to doping Armstrong has caused needless further damage to a sport already on its knees in the wake of USADA’s investigation
Armstrong’s stage managed appearance on Oprah Winfrey is motivated by characteristic self-interest rather than any desire to make amends.
He continues to display little remorse for intimidating Emma O’Reilly, David Walshe, Paul Kimmage and countless others who dared to tell the truth.