As you no doubt read in the Spice this morning, the most successful Tour de France cyclist ever, Lance Armstrong, might soon be stripped of all seven of his titles. What you might have missed though, is that he’ll also have to pay back all of his accumulated winnings which amount to roughly R35 285 592*!
Earlier today the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced that Armstrong would be hit with a lifetime ban from cycling, in addition to being stripped of all seven his titles, if found guilty of illegal doping. To make matters worse, he will also have to pay back all of his Tour de France winnings to date which, we estimate to be about R35 285 592*. Other sources have pegged a number as high as R58 908 806 when annual earnings were included. We focused exclusively on the race and, using the most recent data, we got to our number as follows:
The overall winner receives €450 000
Stage winners receive €8 000 (per stage won)
Each day a racer wears the yellow jersey he receives €350
Spanning his seven-year domination of the event, Armstrong was overall winner seven times, he won 21 stages, and he spent 83 days in the yellow jersey.
7 overall wins x €450 000 = €3 150 000
21 stage wins x €8 000 = €168 000
83 days (in the yellow jersey) x €350 = €29 050
Add those together, and you get the princely sum of €3 347 050 or R35 285 592*. We might be off by a couple hundred euros or so, but when you’re working in millions, hundreds are about as significant as a firecracker on the surface of the sun. Basically, it’s a lot of cash.
In reaction to this latest wave of prosecution, and his refusal to enter the USADA’s arbitration process, Armstrong had the following to say,
There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, “Enough is enough.” For me, that time is now.
I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999. The toll this has taken on my family and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today – finished with this nonsense.
*At the time of the writing the exchange rate was 1 EUR = 10,5423 ZAR, conversions done on xe.com.
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