Lance Armstrong will not be earning money from the new Colorado Classic stage race this week (August 10-13) after the organiser pulled its offer to host his podcast due to his lifetime doping ban.
Armstrong was due to “Bring his fresh and informed cycling perspective to the inaugural event with daily podcasts” similar to his Stages Tour de France podcast, which was downloaded five million times.
Pressure, including the possibility of losing its 2.HC ranking, saw Colorado Classic organiser RPM cancel its plans.
“In light of concerns expressed by USADA, we came to a mutual agreement that it is in the best interest of the Colorado Classic to cancel the marketing partnership with the ‘Stages’ podcast,” said spokesman Ben Davis.
Armstrong’s partnership upset the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), which showed in its Reasoned Decision in 2012 that he doped throughout the majority of his career. It led to his seven Tour de France titles, 1999 to 2005, being stripped and a lifetime suspension.
Davis said that they had signed Armstrong and agreed to cover specific expenses so that he could reach out to five million listeners and 80,000-plus Facebook live viewers. Armstrong planned to visit Colorado Springs, Breckenridge and Denver for live-stream podcasts from his Airstream studio.
WorldTour teams BMC Racing, Cannondale-Drapac, Trek-Segafredo and UAE Team Emirates are among the squads making up the starting roster of the four-stage event.
Armstrong’s lifetime ban, however, prevents him from “participating in any activity or competition organised by any signatory to the [WADA] code or any member of any signatory.”
The same rule forced him to cancel his planned ride in a 2014 gran fondo event organised by former team-mate George Hincapie because it was sanctioned by USA Cycling.
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USADA in recent days reminded organiser RPM of the 2012 ban on Armstrong. At the time it said he and his US Postal Service team “ran the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.”
Armstrong, instead will park his trailer nearby at Denver Infinite Monkey Theorem winery.
Ben Parsons told the Denver Post, “It just seemed like a good fit to have him here during the event. The podcast is very interesting. Some people will love him or hate him but he’s a guy who has shown resiliency and character. I don’t have an opinion one way or another about all that … but it will be good for the winery.”