Lance Armstrong's shamed name is being wiped from US sports history as a quote that covered the walls of the US Olympic Training Centre was removed.
The quote from Armstrong's read: 'I was sure to come under heavy attack from my adversaries, but what they didn’t know was how specifically and hard I had trained for this part of the race. It was time to show them.'
Armstrong's dramatic fall from grace has seen a number of his sponsors drop him and he resigned as chairman of his Livestrong cancer charity on Wednesday as the maelstrom over his drug cheating left him more isolated than ever.
First, his long-time sponsors Nike finally gave in to the damning evidence of the cyclist’s illicit behaviour, published last week by the US Anti-Doping Agency, and withdrew their backing.
Wiped from history: A Lance Armstrong quote being taken down from US Olympic Training Centre
Timeline of Armstrong's downfall...
May 2010: Armstrong's former US Postal team-mate Floyd Landis launches allegations against the Texan.
May 2011: Forced to deny claims made by ex-team-mate Tyler Hamilton that they took performance enhancing drugs together.
February 2012: An investigation into alleged doping by Armstrong is dropped by federal prosecutors in California.
June 13: The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) confirm they have initiated legal proceedings over allegations of doping against Armstrong.
June 30: USADA confirm they will file formal doping charges against Armstrong.
July 9: Armstrong files a lawsuit in a US federal court asking for a temporary restraining order against the agency. Armstrong also claims the USADA offered 'corrupt inducements' to other cyclists to testify against him.
July 11: Armstrong refiles lawsuit against the USADA after initial lawsuit was dismissed by a judge as being a "lengthy and bitter polemic", designed to attract media attention and public sympathy.
August 20: Armstrong's legal action dismissed.
August 24: Armstrong announces he will not fight doping charges filed against him but insists he is innocent. He is stripped of his titles and banned from cycling for life by USADA.
October 10: USADA claim 11 of Armstrong's former team-mates have testified against him, revealing 'the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen'.
October 17: Armstrong resigns as chairman of his cancer charity, Livestrong, on the same day that he is dropped by sponsor Nike.
Second, the International Olympic Committee are considering stripping him of the bronze medal he won at the 2000 Sydney Games, a course of action that would involve rewriting their rule book to address cases more than eight years old.
Third, former England footballer Geoff Thomas, who was inspired by Armstrong to raise money for cancer charities through cycling, urged the Texan to come clean.
Fourth, sunglasses firm Oakley, another of Armstrong’s enduring commercial partners, said they were reviewing their involvement with the fallen idol.
Late on Wednesday, Trek Bicycle also terminated its contract with Armstrong.
'Trek is disappointed by the findings and conclusions in the USADA report regarding Lance Armstrong,' a statement read. 'Given the determinations of the report, Trek today is terminating our long-term relationship with Lance Armstrong. Trek will continue to support the Livestrong Foundation and its efforts to combat cancer.'
In a sign of his weakening position, Armstrong handed over the leadership of his charity to vice-chairman Jeff Garvey, saying: ‘This organisation, its mission and its supporters are incredibly dear to my heart.
‘Today, therefore, to spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career, I will conclude my chairmanship.’
It would have been difficult for the tarnished Armstrong to act as its public face or to carry moral sway.
He added: ‘As my cancer treatment was drawing to an end, I created a foundation to serve people affected by cancer. It has been a great privilege to help grow it from a dream into an organisation that has served 2.5million people and helped spur a cultural shift in how the world views cancer survivors. My family and I have devoted our lives to the work of the foundation and that will not change.
‘We will remain active advocates for cancer survivors and engaged supporters of the fight against cancer.’
The foundation spent £20m on cancer programmes last year.
The biggest external blow to Armstrong’s stance of denying all wrongdoing was the split from Nike. They had issued a statement as recently as seven days ago stating their total belief in Armstrong’s honesty.
Frehs twist: Nike and Livestrong have distanced themselves from Lance Armstrong
Backing: Armstrong had been a face of Nike since 1996
Support: Nike Lance Armstrong 'LiveStrong' trainers (left) and charity banner (right)
What Armstrong 'earned' in deals...
According to Forbes, Armstrong has a net worth of $125m. Sports Illustrated data from 2004 and 2005 show Armstrong averaged $17m in endorsements a year at the peak of his career. His total worth in endorsements was worth $28m in 2007.
The controversy means Armstrong is forecast to lose $50m in endorsements over the next five years, in addition to the $7m he will have to pay back annually during that time for past winnings.
He earns $150,000 per speaking engagement and does about 20 a year - they should be interesting now. Livestrong has raised over $470m for cancer research and distributed 84m wristbands worldwide.
But on Wednesday the world’s biggest sportswear manufacturer, who ‘vehemently deny’ paying bribes to the head of cycling’s governing body, Hein Verbruggen, said: ‘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.
‘Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in any manner. Nike plans to continue support of the Livestrong initiatives.’
Oakley were more equivocal, saying: ‘Oakley does not approve in any way the use of illegal substances for enhancing performance in sports.
‘Our policy with our athletes is to support them until proven guilty by the highest governing body of sport or court of law.
Suspicion: Lance Armstrong is checked up back in the 2003 Tour de France
‘We are reviewing the extensive report from the USADA, as well as our relationship with Lance, and will await final decision-making by the International Cycling Union (UCI).’
The IOC are also awaiting the UCI’s next move, which is not expected before October 31, the deadline by which they must respond to USADA’s findings.
There is a mood among some at the IOC to find a way to wipe out Armstrong’s Sydney time trial medal — a mere detail among the seven Tour de France titles he has been stripped of by WADA — and also to call to account officials within the UCI if they are found to have tolerated or indulged doping.
There remains the option to expel cycling from the Olympic programme altogether but soundings from within the IOC suggested that is a most unlikely outcome given the sport’s significance to the movement.
Pressure on the UCI to prove they have cleaned up their act will be exerted instead.
Big backers: Nike were supporters of Armstrong - on the road and off it
As for Armstrong, he is being called on to break the habit of a lifetime by confessing all. For now at least, he fiercely maintains his innocence.
The Armstrong scandal had taken a new twist on Tuesday with the allegation that Nike paid $500,000 to the former head of cycling’s world governing body, Hein Verbruggen, to cover up a positive drugs test.
The company issued a statement saying they ‘vehemently deny’ that they ‘paid former UCI president Verbruggen $500,000 to cover up a positive drug test’.
It followed a report in the New York Daily News that Kathy LeMond, wife of three-time Tour winner Greg, testified under oath in 2006 that she was told by Armstrong’s mechanic, Julien Devries, about the alleged donation in July 2000.
- Watch the astonishing Nike advert with Lance Armstrong...
It is alleged the payment was made by Nike and Thom Weisel, an American financier who helped set up Armstrong’s team, and that it was paid into a Swiss bank account belonging to Verbruggen, president of the UCI from 1991-2005, and now UCI honorary president and an honorary member of the IOC.
Mrs LeMond confirmed to Sportsmail that her testimony in 2006 followed a conversation with Devries in July 2000. At the time, Devries was working for Armstrong, but he had worked with, and been close to, LeMond, who retired in 1994.
Mrs LeMond said that Devries told her in 2000 that the payment came after Armstrong tested positive for corticosteroids at the 1999 Tour. ‘Everything else Julien told us has turned out to be accurate,’ said Mrs LeMond.
Sacked: Armstrong's former team-mate Matthew White was axed by Cycling Australia on Tuesday after admitting doping between 2001 and 2003
She originally revealed her conversation with Devries during a 2006 deposition in Texas after Armstrong filed a lawsuit against SCA, an insurance company who withheld a $5million bonus because of doping allegations in the book L.A. Confidentiel.
The LeMonds — among the first high-profile people to go public with their suspicions that Armstrong doped — were called to testify by SCA. In the event, SCA paid the bonus, though they have intimated in the last week that they will seek to reclaim the money.
A UCI spokesman insisted they would say nothing about the Armstrong case until 31 October, which is the deadline for their response to USADA’s ‘Reasoned Decision’ against Armstrong and his team, US Postal.
Credit: Daily Mail