Nike sticks with Lance Armstrong

Nike is sticking by Lance Armstrong despite US anti-doping chiefs branding the former champion cyclist a “serial cheat.”

Sportswear brand shows continued support of Lance Armstrong after doping agency’s report.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USDA) charged Armstrong with six offences yesterday (10 October) covering the use of banned substances, the administration of drugs to team-mates and facilitating a major cover-up between 1998 and 2005, a period when he dominated the Tour de France.

It has already banned the 41-year old American for life and stripped him of his seven Tour de France titles.

The doping agency said he lead the “most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that the sport has ever seen. Armstrong has always denied taking banned substances.

Nike, which sponsors the former cyclist and cancer survivor’s LiveStrong foundation, says it will continue to back the embattled cyclist. In response to the USDA’s charges, the sportswear manufacturer issued the exact same statement it sent out in August when Armstrong announced he will no longer fight doping charges and will instead focus on his foundation to fight cancer.

It reads: “We are saddened that Lance Armstrong may no longer be able to participate in certain competitions and his titles appear to be impacted,” “Lance has stated his innocence and has been unwavering on this position. Nike plans to continue to support Lance and the Lance Armstrong Foundation, a foundation that Lance created to serve cancer survivors.”

Meanwhile, Ab Inbev’s vice president of marketing in the US, Paul Chibe, says the brewer’s relationship with Armstrong remains “unchanged. The Budweiser owner is a named sponsor of the athlete’s Livestrong Foundation.

It is not yet known whether Armstrong’s other major sponsors such Oakley will also stand by him in light of the charges. Oakley was unable to provide comment by the time this article was published.

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