This series of photos shows seven file pictures clockwise from upper left taken in 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000 and 1999 of US cyclist ...
US cyclist Lance Armstrong speaking during a press conference by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and LIVESTRONG at the National Press Club in ...
Seven time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong of the US poses on the Champs Elysees in Paris during the final parade of the 97th ...
Seven time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong of the US stands with hand on heart during the playing of national anthems after he won ...
This 1995 file photo shows US cyclist and Seven time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong riding in the pack between Dinan and Lannion during the ...
Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong of the United States waves as he cycles past a US flag during the rider's parade on the ...
This 1999 file photo shows Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong raising a cup of champagne with the US flag during his honour lap ...
This 2005 file photo shows Lance Armstrong of the US displaying a paper reading "7" (for seven victories) before the 21st stage of the 92nd ...
Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong waits at the starting line in Visalia, California of stage five of the Amgen Tour of California in ...
Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong looks out from the doping control van after the 144.5km fourteenth stage of the Tour de France cycling ...
Lance Armstrong, increasingly isolated in the face of a devastating doping report, is now hoping Livestrong, the cancer charity he founded, will weather the scandal.
The US Anti-Doping Agency dossier painting Armstrong as a central figure in a massive doping scheme that helped him garner seven Tour de France titles finally sent corporate sponsors -- including key backers Nike, Anheuser-Busch and Trek -- scurrying and prompted Armstrong himself to step down as chairman of Livestrong.
But even as the shock waves reverberated through the world of cycling, Livestrong vice president of communications Katherine McLane said those at the foundation were trying to carry on.
"Lance's direction was 'Stay focused on your work. Do not be distracted.' And that's exactly what we've done," McLane told AFP on Thursday.
It's perhaps not surprising then that Armstrong's first public appearance since USADA's latest report will be at a Livestrong event in his hometown of Austin on Friday -- a gala fundraiser marking the 15th anniversary of the organization. The basics of USADA report on Lance Armstrong
Sean Penn, Ben Stiller and Robin Williams were among the celebrities slated to attend.
This file photo shows seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong grimacing during a news conference after the Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas triathlon in Galveston, Texas. AP Photo
Organisers will release a video recording afterwards on YouTube, but he'll face no tough questions from the press.
David Carter, a sports business professor at the University of Southern California and executive director of USC's Sports Business Institute, said any Armstrong journey to reclaim public respectability must include a confession.
"The only way they come back is when they take personal responsibility and accountability for what they've done," Carter said. "He has not taken responsibility."
For years, Armstrong has denied doping allegations. Despite sworn testimony from dozens of witnesses, including former teammates, in the USADA report, McLane said that many continue to view Armstrong not as a drug cheat but as a cancer survivor who used his experience to reach out to others.
"That doesn't go away," she said. "People here at the foundation, and I think within the cancer community, know Lance in a very different way than a larger public person, as a cyclist."
Still, the repercussions were being felt in the sport.
In this photo dated on June 8, 2003 US cyclist Lance Armstrong speaks to the press in Villars-de-Lans, before the start of the first stage of the Criterium du Dauphine Libere cycling event. AFP PHOTO
Hein Verbruggen, the Dutch veteran who was president of the International Cycling Union (UCI) when Armstrong won the Tour de France seven times between 1999 and 2005, also moved to distance himself from the American.
Verbruggen scoffed at allegations that he took a bribe to cover up a positive Armstrong test result in 1999.
But he said a report in Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf "unjustly states that despite USADA's dossier I still insist there is no proof."
Verbruggen's statement emerged as Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport reported that the USADA report and more than 1,000 pages of supplementary testimony had opened a "Pandora's box" of shady dealings.
Italian investigators are probing a doctor said to have overseen Armstrong's use of banned substances, Michele Ferrari, who is said to have offered an "all inclusive package" to top athletes on how to cheat the dope testers.
Dozens of athletes were reportedly implicated in the so-called "Ferrari system" and sometimes entire cycling teams, with the network involving money laundering, tax evasion and secret Swiss bank accounts.
The Italian probe could yet cause fresh controversy for the embattled sport.
Current UCI chief Pat McQuaid, whose organization is reviewing the report prior to issuing its own decision on whether it accepts the findings and supports USADA's life ban of Armstrong, insists cycling has moved on from its murky past.
But USADA chief executive Travis Tygart told velonews.com that he believes former Armstrong teammate Levi Leipheimer was punished by his Belgian team for coming forward about his own doping and contributing to the USADA report.
The American was sacked by Omega Pharma-Quick Step on Tuesday.
"At the end of the day, the last thing the sport needs is an attempt to silence those who had the courage to come forward, because that's the only thing that's going to allow the sport to move forward," Tygart told velonews.com
Dumped by Nike, Lance doesn't Livestrong
Lance Armstrong stepped down as chairman of his Livestrong cancer charity Wednesday as Nike broke all ties with the disgraced cycling star for "misleading it for more than a decade" about doping. Read more
How did Armstrong suppress ’01 result?
The International Cycling Union (UCI) is under pressure to reveal how shamed US rider Lance Armstrong was able to escape detection for doping for so long. According to a number of his former team-mates, the seven-time Tour de France winner bragged about having managed to suppress a positive test for the blood booster erythropotein (EPO) on the 2001 Tour of Switzerland. Read more
What next for Armstrong after devastating report?
A damning report placing Lance Armstrong at the heart of the biggest doping programme in sporting history has raised questions about what happens next, with the seven-time Tour de France winner's career and reputation in tatters. Read more
The corruptor: Lance Armstrong 'enforced' doping culture
USADA submitted a report to the International Cycling Union (UCI) and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on why it banned Armstrong for life in August and released more than 1,000 pages of evidence from its probe of doping in cycling. Read more
'11 teammates testified in case against Armstrong'
The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) says 11 of Lance Armstrong’s former teammates testified against him in its investigation, revealing “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen.” Read more