18 Oct 2012

Armstrong steps down from Livestrong, also loses sponsor

12:52 pm on 18 October 2012

Lance Armstrong has announced that he is stepping down as chairman of his Livestrong cancer-fighting charity.

The move comes one week after the US Anti-Doping agency released a report outlining allegations of systematic doping by the seven-time Tour de France winner throughout his career.

Armstrong says he's taken the decision to spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of the controversy surrounding his cycling career.

His announcement coincided with the decision by Nike, a major sponsor of Armstrong throughout his career, to sever all ties with him in the face of "seemingly insurmountable evidence".

In taking the step, Nike reversed its announcement last week that it would "continue to support Lance Armstrong and the Lance Armstrong Foundation", explaining that the company had been "misled" by the American for more than a decade.

Another of Armstrong's sportswear sponsors, Oakley, says it's reviewing USADA's report, but won't make a decision on its involvement with Lance Armstrong until the final decision by the International Cycling Union.

Both companies say they'll continue to support Livestrong, a charity which has raised nearly $600 million.

And brewers Anheuser-Busch has also ended endorsement deals with Armstrong.

Anheuser-Busch, who used Armstrong in beer advertisements, say they won't renew a sponsorship deal with him when their current three-year deal ends in December.

The 41-year-old has always denied he took banned substances during his glittering career but decided not to challenge the USADA charges against him.

Armstrong founded the Lance Armstrong Foundation in 1997 after being diagnosed with testicular cancer in late 1996.

The organisation launched the Livestrong brand in 2003 as it widened its cancer patient-support services, and the foundation is now known by both names.