Oakley standing behind Armstrong for now
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Monday, October 15, 2012

Oakley standing behind Armstrong for now

by Shane Stokes at 6:22 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Eyewear company said it must wait for a guilty verdict before changing its position

Lance ArmstrongOne of Lance Armstrong’s longest-running sponsors Oakley has stated that it is continuing to support the Texan, but has appeared to leave the door open to change that stance depending on how things pan out.

The former pro was handed a lifetime ban in August and also had his results since 1998 stripped, including seven Tour de France titles. Last week was the latest chapter in the saga, with the US Anti Doping Agency transmitting its reasoned decision to the UCI and the World Anti Doping Agency, and releasing hundreds of pages of evidence on its website.

The UCI and WADA have the right to appeal the sanction but if they don’t, then the penalties will become official.

Contacted by VeloNation, Oakley clarified its position and essentially said that it was awaiting the final outcome. “It's always been our position with those who endorse our brand to stand behind them until they are proven guilty,” said a company spokesperson. “For Lance, we will allow the process take its course before altering our position.”

The eyewear giant is presumably speaking about the UCI/WADA decision rather than a declaration in criminal proceedings. A federal investigation into Armstrong was dropped last February due to unknown reasons. No explanation was given at the time.

Meanwhile another Armstrong sponsor Nike has already said that it is staying put. “We are saddened that Lance Armstrong may no longer be able to participate in certain competitions and his titles appear to be impacted," it stated last week. “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.”

The Texan has been accused by multiple witnesses of doping for much of his career. Investigators also amassed other evidence including indications of over a million dollars of payments to the notorious doctor Michele Ferrari, email records and lab test results.


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