Despite a troubling end, Lance Armstrong’s PR offers lessons

The seven-time Tour de France winner was stripped of his titles today following a PR campaign that weathered a barrage of criticism for years.

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The cycling icon’s team of PR pros can no longer compete with the stacks of damning evidence that alleges he cheated throughout his career. The years of acerbic statements, social media campaigns, and legal maneuvers aren’t enough to overcome the revelations of the last several weeks.

Today’s decision, following the release of a 200-page investigative report by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, was the latest blow for Armstrong. Cycling’s governing body decided to strip Armstrong of all seven Tour de France titles and ban him for life.

In the last week Armstrong has lost his primary sponsors—Nike, Trek, Anheuser-Busch— and he has stepped down as chairman of his $100 million Livestrong Foundation.

Even Armstrong, known for his sharp statements, has lost his fight. In remarks at Friday’s Ride for the Roses, he didn’t address the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s allegations, but did say: “People ask me a lot: How are you doing? And I tell them I’ve been better, but I’ve also been worse.”

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