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Local organizations weigh in on Armstrong's doping admission

Published On: Jan 30 2013 03:05:30 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 16 2013 08:30:36 AM CST

Cyclist Lance Armstrong is said to finally acknowledge that he used performance-enhancing substances in an interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report accused him of being at the heart of a sophisticated doping program.

Local businesses who reaped the rewards of Armstrong's cycling success are weighing in on the admission.

At Machinery Row Bicycles in Madison, cycling's most famous name is hard to find around the store.

Ben Scherer, Machinery Row's special collections manager, had to go to the back of the store to find a limited edition Livestrong bike that used to hang in the front of the store.

"It hung up high, right in the middle of the store, so everyone could drool over it," Scherer said. "And we had with it an autographed picture of Lance riding the bike in Paris on the Champs Elysee."

But as Armstrong now admits to using performance enhancing drugs, the cycling industry is now left to rebuild a world far from Armstrong's legacy.

"He did great things for cycling and for cancer," said Scherer. "And I don't think his admission really erases any of that. Does it tarnish the reputation? Absolutely."

That reputation is now prompting the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center to take down its framed yellow jersey. The center receives more than $500,000 a year from the Livestrong Foundation.

"In our discussions with Livestrong, they anticipate that Livestrong will continue," said UW Carbone Cancer Center's Dr. Jim Cleary. "And, in particular, corporate support is continuing of the Livestrong Foundation. And I think we will actually see Livestrong live through this present time."

Cleary said he hopes donors will be able to separate Armstrong's cycling legacy from Livestrong's role in medicine.

"I think the bigger picture of what the organization has done in terms of supporting people with cancer, I think that's the significant thing that's out there," Cleary said.

The UW Carbone Cancer Center is the second largest recipient of Livestrong funds in the U.S. UW Health said the cancer center's current grant runs until the middle of 2014.

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