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Losing His Tour de France Titles Could Cost Lance Armstrong $11 million

The Atlantic
Losing His Tour de France Titles Could Cost Lance Armstrong $11 million
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Losing His Tour de France Titles Could Cost Lance Armstrong $11 million

Being a seven-time Tour de France champion is more than just a title. And now that Lance Armstrong isn't a seven-time champion (Armstrong deleted his seven tour wins from his Twitter bio Monday night) the race's director wants his prize money back. "The UCI rules are clear. When a rider is disqualified, he must pay the prize money back," Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme was quoted as saying in a BBC report. That sum, according to the BBC, is around $3.8 million which he often split with teammates. We'll find out exactly how much money Armstrong will pay come Friday, when the International Cycling Union meets to discuss the "exact sporting consequences" of the decision which scrubbed Armstrong of the wins. 

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What the "exact sporting consequences" may not decide is whether or not Armstrong will have to pay back some $7.5 million in bonuses to Texas insurance company SCA promotions—Tailwind Sports, which owned the U.S. Postal Service Team, took out an insurance policy on Lance Armstrong winning Tour de France races. "After SCA paid out $4.5 million for Armstrong's wins from 2001 through 2003, the company balked at paying another sum as claims of Armstrong using performance-enhancing drugs surfaced," reported ESPN's Darren Rovell. And the BBC adds, "Armstrong took the company to an arbitration hearing in Dallas in 2005 and won, because the contract between the parties stipulated the insurance money would be payable if Armstrong was the 'official winner' of the Tour."  Now that Armstrong isn't the "official winner" SCA wants at least $7.5 million back, and is looking for more. "The total amount we would be seeking back from Mr Armstrong exceeds $11m," SCA attorney told BBC Sport. So let's say SCA gets $7.5 million and the Prudhomme gets $3.8 million—that's $11 million gone.  And that's on top of the $15 million in losses per year, according to Forbes, that Armstrong will suffer because of the fallout from endorsements and speaking fees. Now what was that about cheaters and prospering? 

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