Armstrong’s spokesman says 2009 Astana salary was donated to his foundation
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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Armstrong’s spokesman says 2009 Astana salary was donated to his foundation

by Shane Stokes at 8:42 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Higgins says Texan didn’t keep the cash

Lance ArmstrongFollowing the news that Lance Armstrong was indeed paid to race in 2009, accepting a salary from the Astana team as per UCI rules despite saying he was unpaid, his spokesman has said that the Texan didn’t keep any of the money given to him.

“When Lance returned and raced for Astana his declaration that he would ride for free was his intention, but we were informed by the UCI that per the regulations he had to take a minimum salary,” Mark Higgins told VeloNation this evening.

“When that salary was finally paid out by Astana, that money was passed along as a contribution to his foundation.”

After Armstrong announced his comeback, he told the Vanity Fair magazine that he didn’t plan on taking money from Astana. “Everybody in cycling has a team and takes a team salary,” he said in September 2008. “I am essentially racing for free. No salary. No bonus. Nothing on the line.… This one’s on the house.”

Eight months later, he reiterated this during the Giro d’Italia while commenting on the sponsors’ non-payment of salaries. He was asked if he would consider covering the wages. Armstrong said that he was racing for free and therefore already putting something into the team. “I'm already investing myself. Not taking a salary is some sort of investment,” he said.

The issue of obligatory minimum salaries cropped up this week when Danilo Di Luca announced that he was returning to ProTeam racing with the Katusha team, and that he would not be paid. Instead, he said that a performance bonus system had been worked out with the team , rewarding strong showings in competition.

The UCI subsequently told VeloNation that riding for free was not allowed, and that a minimum wage would apply.

“It's not possible to be part of a professional team without a salary,” said UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani told VeloNation on Tuesday. “Cycling is a professional sport, which did great efforts in the recent past to improve its structure and to protect riders, and no one could be part of it just for free.”

When asked about Armstrong, Carpani confirmed that he too was paid.

The Texan was given large appearance fees by various race organisers in 2009, including those from the Tour Down Under and Giro d’Italia. It was reported that each of the two made a multi-million dollar payment.

He is currently in Australia and making final preparations for the Santos Tour Down Under, which begins on Tuesday. It is preceded by the Adelaide Cancer Council Classic on Sunday.


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