By Jessica Kartalija

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– It is considered the most sophisticated doping program professional cycling has ever seen.

Now, as Jessica Kartalija reports, Lance Armstrong is losing a major sponsorship and announces he’s stepping down as chairman of the Livestrong Foundation.

At local bike shops like Joe’s in Fells Point, it’s all customers are talking about, after hearing seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong is at the center of a doping scandal.

“I’m not super surprised about it. But am I disappointed. Yes, 100 percent disappointed,” cyclist Isaac Zuber said.

In August, anti-doping officials banned Armstrong from cycling for life. While he insists he never cheated, Armstrong is stepping down as chairman of his cancer-fighting charity, the Livestrong Foundation, saying: “To spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career, I will conclude my chairmanship.”

Just 10 days ago, Armstrong was in Howard County competing in a triathlon benefiting the Ulman Cancer Fund.

Doug Ulman, president and CEO, responded to Armstrong’s decision to step down: “Thanks to Lance’s leadership, that foundation has had the privilege or raising close to $500 million to serve people affected by cancer.”

Now, Nike and Radio Shack have announced they’re pulling the plug, deciding not to endorse Armstrong after evidence is released saying Armstrong used banned drugs and blood transfusions to cheat.

Armstrong insists he never cheated but says he’s done fighting.

Back at Joe’s in Fells Point, employees are telling WJZ that customers are coming in with more questions than opinions. They say they will wait and see what happens over the next few weeks.

Anheuser-Busch is also announcing they won’t renew the former cyclist’s deal when it expires at the end of the year.


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