Lance Armstrong posts picture of his seven yellow jerseys from Tour de France victories
He has been stripped of the 1999-2005 titles after refusing to answer drug charges
American was accused of systematic doping but has never admitted any wrongdoing
The Twitter picture has provoked a mixture of criticism and support for the 41-year-old
Lance Armstrong has defiantly posted an Internet picture of himself with the seven Tour de France winner’s jerseys he received for performances that have been expunged from the history books.
The American’s victories from 1999 through 2005 have been annulled by cycling’s ruling body following a damning report by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which made allegations of systematic drug use that he refused to contest.
The 41-year-old was banned for life, has been ordered to return his prize money and also faces a $12 million lawsuit from a former sponsor.
However, Armstrong – who has never admitted any wrongdoing – made his stance clear this weekend on social networking website Twitter, where he has 3.8 million followers.
With a status reading “Back in Austin and just layin’ around …” Armstrong posted a picture of himself lying in his lounge with the seven yellow jerseys framed on the wall.
His Twitter profile used to say “7-time Tour de France champion” but now it reads “Raising my 5 kids. Fighting Cancer. Swim, bike, run and golf whenever I can.”
The fallout from the scandal has resulted in Armstrong severing all ties with his Livestrong cancer charity. The Texan stepped down as the organization’s chairman last month.
“Lance Armstrong has chosen to voluntarily resign from the board of directors of the Livestrong foundation to spare the organization any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding his cycling career,” read a statement from the foundation’s chairman, Jeff Garvey.
“We are proud of Lance’s indelible contributions to the global effort to eradicate cancer and his on-going personal commitment to improving the lives of its survivors. The foundation will continue to grow its free services for cancer survivors, advocate on their behalf and fulfill the mission Lance created 15 years ago.”
The picture of Armstrong and the seven yellow jerseys has been retweeted almost 4,000 times, drawing a mixture of support and outrage from the online community.
“Wow, you really do display all the symptoms of someone sociopathic. I think you’d benefit from psychoanalysis,” wrote one Twitter user.
“Smug and deluded,” said another.
“Was that him laying around? or lying around?”
However, Armstrong is still a hero to some after overcoming testicular cancer to win cycling’s toughest race seven times in a row, in an era when many of the sport’s biggest names were linked with doping.
“You earned all of them!!!” wrote one Twitter user.
“Level playing field…..this is awesome!!!” said another.
Armstrong has never officially failed a drug test, but the USADA report detailed the ways in which he avoided being caught and claimed that positive tests had been covered up.
He has raised hundreds of millions of dollars for charity through the Livestrong foundation.