Cycling: Legacy in tatters. $7m in question. Now Lance Armstrong may end up in jail

Criminal trial for perjury may be next for fallen idol after denial of doping – on oath

"So ends one of the most sordid chapters in sporting history," are the last words of the United States Anti-Doping Agency's unprecedentedly damning investigation into cyclist Lance Armstrong, one of the most celebrated and now one of the most shamed sportsmen in history. But the publication of the Usada's decision marks only the beginning of a mountain of difficulties facing the 41-year-old Texan, who is still, technically, a seven-time Tour de France winner.

Even though Armstrong decided in August to stop fighting doping allegations – he continues to deny them – he will not be able to ignore the report's many consequences. He may face perjury charges, have to hand back millions of dollars in prize money (as well as an Olympic medal) and could lose millions in donations to his Lance Armstrong Foundation for cancer survivors.

Armstrong denied doping under oath to a Dallas court in 2005, testimony that Usada has called "materially false and misleading". Although Armstrong maintains his innocence, if US prosecutors disagree there are grounds for perjury charges.

The cyclist went to a court for civil arbitration in November 2005, when SCA Promotions Inc and Ted Lyonhamman Insurance Services did not want to pay him a $5m bonus for winning his sixth consecutive Tour de France amid growing doping rumours. Among seven potentially perjurious statements, Armstrong claimed to have never taken any performance enhancing drug in connection with his cycling career, despite evidence now regarded as "irrefutable" by everyone from Bradley Wiggins to Sir Chris Hoy.

Cycling's governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has 21 days to respond to Usada. The intricacies of the relationships between governing bodies and the anti-doping organisations means that Armstrong has not formally been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles. If the UCI do so, which it almost certainly will, he will be required to return about $7m in prize money. Whether he will have to also return the bronze medal he won in the Olympic Time Trial in Sydney in 2000 – the same event won by Bradley Wiggins this year – is unclear. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has a statute of limitation of eight years in which it will change results and strip athletes of their medals. But the Usada report links Armstrong to doping offences committed in 1998, which might allow the IOC to act under a different legal basis.

Armstrong has been blasé in the face of the extraordinary report, Tweeting yesterday that he was "Hanging @LIVESTRONGHQ [the headquarters of his charity in Austin, Texas] with the team talking about next week's events and plans for 2013. Can't wait to see so many friends and supporters". Earlier he had tweeted a link to the Elliott Smith song "Coming Up Roses".

Previous public falls from grace, such as that of Tiger Woods, have seen sponsors walk away, but Armstrong's case is intriguing as his deals are all tied with his charitable foundation for cancer survivors, and his main sponsors – Nike, Oakley and beer makers AB Inbev – have understandably so far not distanced themselves from him.

Next weekend, a series of events are scheduled to take place in Austin to mark Livestrong's 15th anniversary, and none of the Hollywood A-listers who had confirmed their attendance before the report's publication have given any indication they will not be there.

Mayor of Austin, Lee Leffingwell, told reporters: "I am proud of my friendship with Lance Armstrong. His incredible generosity of spirit has been and remains an inspiration to me and countless others, and can never be taken away."

Sunglass manufacturer Oakley's last word on the matter, in August, was to say that it "supports its athletes who respect and honour the ethics of sports until proven otherwise". Nike has donated more than $100m to the charity and has so far said it will stand by Armstrong.

They did the same with Woods and basketball star Kobe Bryant, when he was accused of sexual assault, but in both cases quietly and substantially reduced their involvement with the stars.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea