Disgraced U.S. cyclist Lance Armstrong lost a number of high-profile corporate sponsors Wednesday, the same day he resigned as chairman of the charity he founded to raise money for cancer research.
Nike, the athletic apparel company, announced it was dropping Armstrong as a spokesman "due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence" that he used illicit performance-enhancing drugs and misled the company for years.
Beer maker Anheuser-Busch, energy drink maker FRS and bicycle manufacturer Trek also cancelled their endorsement contracts with Armstrong.
As sponsors were cutting their ties with the cyclist, Armstrong stepped down as chairman of Livestrong
, which he founded 15 years ago after surviving testicular cancer. He said he wanted to spare the organization "any negative effects" from the scandal.
The foundation has sold more than 80 million yellow "Livestrong" rubber wristbands that have become an iconic symbol in the fight against cancer. Many of the corporations who dropped Armstrong as a spokesman vowed to continue to support the charity.
Armstrong has been banned from the sport for life by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency back and stripped of his seven consecutive Tour de France titles from 1999 to 2005. The agency cited "numerous anti-doping violations" against him, including "trafficking and administering doping products to others."
It released a 1,000 report of evidence uncovered in its investigation of Armstrong, including testimony from 11 former teammates. Armstrong had denied the allegations for years, saying he had never tested positive for banned substances during his career. Before the USADA issued its report, he announced he would stop fighting the allegations.
The sport's governing body, the International Cycling Union, has not decided whether to uphold the USADA report, or take the matter to the world Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.