Nike sticks by disgraced Armstrong

Nike has announced that it will stick by Lance Armstrong despite him being accused of being a ringleader in "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme sport has ever seen".

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Lance Armstrong

Evidence exposing the seven-time Tour de France winner as a drug cheat has left the American’s reputation in tatters but, despite the mounting backlash against the one-time icon, Armstrong's main sponsor Nike continues to back him.

After the latest revelations from USADA emerged, Nike re-released the same statement first issued in August.

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.”

Nike, the world's biggest sportswear brand, has long sponsored Armstrong and his Livestrong charity and will continue in its support of him.

No fewer than 11 team-mates testified against him, leaving USADA with “no doubt that Mr Armstrong's career (from 1998-2005) was fuelled from start to  finish by doping”.

The report said: “Armstrong and his handlers engaged in a massive and  long-running scheme to use drugs, cover their tracks, intimidate witnesses, tarnish reputations, lie to hearing panels and the press and do whatever was necessary to conceal the truth.”

“(The Tour de France) led him to depend on EPO,  testosterone and blood transfusions but also, more ruthlessly, to expect and require that his team-mates would likewise use drugs to support his goals.”

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