Posted on October 22, 2012 at 6:17 AM
Monday, Oct 22 at 8:43 PM
AUSTIN -- The fallout continues for Lance Armstrong.
Monday morning the International Cycling Union, UCI, made its official ruling, stripping Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and banning him from cycling for life.
Following the ruling, Armstrong lost one of his final sponsors. Oakley released a statement announcing the end of its relationship with Armstrong.
"When Lance joined our family many years ago, he was a symbol of possibility. We are deeply saddened by the outcome," wrote Oakley.
Oakley’s decision comes just days after more than half a dozen other sponsors severed ties with Armstrong, including Nike and 24Hour Fitness.
Armstrong himself stepped down as Chairman of the cancer foundation he founded, Livestrong. Despite the national and international fallout, many in Austin have stood behind Armstrong. Mayor Lee Leffingwell made his support clear last week, saying there were no plans to strip Armstrong's ties to the city's bikeway.
Over the weekend hundreds showed up for the Livestrong 15th anniversary celebration. The editor and founder of Austin Cyclist Quarterly calls the UCI ruling a shame, and says he will still honor Armstrong's victories.
“He's a hero here and he will always be,” explained Fred Meredith. “If they did the right thing probably not naming a replacement winner he can still say: 'Well you know who won those seven Tour de France [titles] even if the record books say nobody did.’”
Armstrong maintains his innocence, referencing hundreds of drug tests in which he never tested positive.
The UCI says its ruling is based on the evidence collected by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. The agency presented a 200-page report full of testimony from former teammates. In the testimony many admitted to witnessing Armstrong in a blood-doping operation.
Armstrong hasn't spoken out since the ruling Monday morning. On Sunday at the Livestrong Challenge ride, he described the last few weeks as "very difficult."