Is Super-Wealthy Lance Armstrong Really Losing?

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Lance Armstrong told LiveStrong supporters in Austin that he’s seen better times but he’s also seen worse times. In 1996, he was given a 40% chance of survival after diagnosed with testicular cancer that had spread throughout his body. After his miraculous recovery, Armstrong had unprecedented success as a professional cyclist. He won seven Tour de France titles and he accumulated a fortune in endorsement income.

Armstrong was an international celebrity and a hero. But that all changed after the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) released their “Reasoned Decision” detailing allegations that Armstrong used various banned performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) such as erythropoietin (EPO) and anabolic steroids (specifically testosterone) throughout his career.

The USADA report resulted in the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) taking away all seven of Armstrong’s Tour de France titles. Not only has his name been removed from the record books, the parent company that owns the Tour has demanded that Armstrong repay all prize money that he was awarded for his victories.

The UCI Management Committee “called on Armstrong and all other ‘affected’ riders to return the prize money they had received”. The total prize money earned by Armstrong from his seven Tour de France victories amount to 2.95 million euros or almost $4 million.

In addition, all ten of Armstrong’s long-time sponsors dropped him in the aftermath of the USADA report. Nike, Anheuser-Busch, RadioShack, Trek, Giro, FRS and Honey Stinger, many who have stood by him for years, finally decided to severe ties with the cyclist. The cancelled contracts were estimated to be worth at least $30 million over the next few years.

He even faces a potential $12 million lawsuit from SCA Promotions. SCA Promotions refused to pay Armstrong a $5 million bonus claiming that doping by Armstrong voided their legal obligation. Armstrong sued them and won. But now the company may seek a return of that money and then some.

Many anti-doping crusaders have pointed to the Armstrong case as a defining moment in the war on doping. They point to the overwhelming financial costs of “cheating” as a deterrent to future generations of athletes who are presented with the temptation to use EPO and steroids.

But is the super-rich Armstrong really going to deter other athletes from following in his footsteps. With an estimated net worth of $125 million dollars, Armstrong will remain a very wealthy man even if he never earns another dime, returns his Tour de France earnings and loses the SCA case.

Armstrong could have assets worth over $80 million dollars by the time the hysteria over his doping dies down and any claims have been paid out.

Legal experts agree that Armstrong will ride off into the sunset with a small fortune.

Even when Armstrong is a loser, he is a winner.

Lance Armstrong - 2010 Tour de France

Lance Armstrong - 2010 Tour de Franc. Photo credit: Millard Baker


Sullivan, P. (October 26, 2012). Armstrong’s Wealth Likely to Withstand Doping Charge. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/27/your-money/doping-charges-could-cost-lance-armstrong-millions.html