LANCE ARMSTRONG faces both short and long-term financial ruin in the wake of his exposure as sport's biggest drug cheat with an estimated loss of €37m in the next couple of months alone.
Armstrong's biggest loss comes in the wholesale desertion of his individual sponsors from Nike downward which accounts for an annual revenue stream estimated at €23m. Other sponsors who have withdrawn over the last week include beverage giant Anheuser-Busch InBev, Trek Bicycle Corporation, energy drink manufacturer FRS and energy foods maker Honey Stinger -- all of which were long-term deals. There was every possibility before Armstrong's exposure of him continuing them for years.
Meanwhile, in the wake of the UCI's rubber-stamping of the USADA report in Geneva, Tour de France Race Director Christian Prudhomme, acting on behalf of organisers ASO, insisted his organisation will be looking for Armstrong to pay back the €3.7m prize money he won during his seven-Tour run between 1999-2005.
In the USA, SCA Promotions took the first step in recouping the €9.2m they paid out in bonus awards after four of his Tour wins between 2001-04. The policies were taken out by Tailwind Sports, the holding company that owned and ran US Postal and Discovery.
Initially, SCA will concentrate on the €5.75m they lost during a court action with Armstrong in 2006 relating to the €3.7m bonus he was paid after his sixth 'win' in 2004.
Despite hearing much of the evidence that appeared in the USADA report, the US District Court found against SCA on that occasion and they were faced with costs of approximately €2m in addition to the €3.7m bonus.
Initially, SCA will request that Armstrong voluntarily refunds the money but if he does not comply they will take the matter to court.
"We will make a formal demand for return of funds," confirmed SCA's lawyer Jeffrey M Tillotson. "If this is not successful, we will initiate formal legal proceedings."
Elsewhere, 'The Sunday Times' have indicated they will also be seeking to recoup the reported €1.23m they paid in an out-of-court settlement after Armstrong took legal action against them for publishing extracts from the book 'LA Confidential', written jointly by 'Sunday Times' journalist David Walsh and Pierre Ballester from France. (© Daily Telegraph, London)