How shamed cyclist Lance Armstrong made £16million from Uber after losing his fortune in Tour de France doping scandal | The Sun

LANCE ARMSTRONG'S "magic" meeting with a man in a bar led to him raking in £16MILLION from Uber.

The shamed cyclist, 51, was known for one of sport's most inspirational stories when he battled back from testicular cancer to win a record seven Tour de France titles in a row between 1999 and 2005.

Recalling the American's diagnosis in 1996, his doctors admitted the chances of him surviving the disease were "almost none".

Yet he defied those odds and returned to racing to become regarded as one of the best cyclists of all time.

That was until 2012 when the United States Anti-Doping Agency concluded he was the ringleader in "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping program that sport has ever seen".

Armstrong was stripped of all seven of his Tour titles, told by the sport's governing body, the UCI, that he had "no place in cycling", and received a lifetime ban from sport.


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He went on to confess to the systematic doping in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in January 2013.

But in addition to the professional shame brought upon him, the Texas-born rider was also sued from pillar to post.

Sponsors, promotional companies and the federal government all sought damages from Armstrong as they deemed he had defrauded them as a result of the cheating.

All told, the 1993 world road race champion claims he was forced to pay around £80m to settle the various lawsuits.

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Armstrong admitted his doping offences to Oprah Winfrey shortly after he had been stripped of his Tour titlesCredit: Alamy

It could have been worse if the US government had acquired the £78m they were asking for during a long-running legal battle.

In the end, Armstrong settled in 2018 and only had to pay them £3.9m.

But, unbeknown to him, his real saving grace had come more than a decade earlier in a bar in Aspen, Colorado when he met an investor named Chris Sacca.

The pair chatted over a beer and at the end of the conversation Sacca insisted they stay in contact.

"In that period of my life I didn't keep in touch with a lot of people," Armstrong told Joe Pompliano last year. "But something said 'I'm going to keep in touch with this guy'."


It was perhaps the best decision Armstrong ever made.

The two exchanged numbers and, a few years later, Sacca offered the American the chance to invest in his venture capital firm, Lowercase Capital.

Armstrong obliged, albeit without much knowledge of what he was contributing to.

Then, in 2010, Lowercase Capital invested in a little-known transportation conglomerate named Uber.

Today, that company is valued at £75billion.

Remarkably, Armstrong did not know of the success of his investment until six or seven years later.

"I didn't know he [Sacca] had such a huge stake in Uber," Armstrong admitted.

"At that point in my life I had a full-time team on my side – business manager, agent, manager – so any quarterly updates, they were reading through all that. I was just out being me."

It wasn't until around "2016 or 17" when Armstrong learned of the life-changing sum he had earned as a result of that unexpected barroom conversation years earlier – estimated at around £16m.

"I was like 'Wait, what?'," Armstrong says as he recalls his reaction to being told about the astonishing success of the Uber investment.

Explaining the impact that had on his life, he told the BBC it "saved" his family.

He went on to add: "We can reminisce about Chris and I meeting and me putting money into his fund.

"But the reality is, if not for that, I don't know how I would have fed my family.

"So when you think about it like that it's not funny anymore, it's f***ing magic."


Shortly after the Uber revelation, Armstrong received similar news from another investment fund, Ignition Partners, who had secured distribution for eSignature company DocuSign – now valued at more than £8bn.

"That put some more meals on the table," Armstrong nonchalantly recalls.

Nowadays, the former rider, who as of 2020 lived in a £12m mansion in Colorado, runs his own podcast and owns a coffee shop in Texas.

He named the establishment Juan Pelota Cafe – with many believing this to be a reference to his testicular cancer, with "pelota" translating to "ball" in Spanish.

A bike shop named "Mellow Jonny's" is also attached to the cafe.

But Armstrong's successful business ventures will leave a bitter taste in the mouth of many cycling fans who have not forgiven him for the negative impact his doping offences have had on the sport.

Many of the American's Tour de France rivals also doped during his time at the top.

And that is how he justifies the decision to himself.

Eight years ago, he told BBC Sport: "My answer is not a popular answer. If I was racing in 2015, no, I wouldn’t do it again, because I don’t think you have to.

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"If you take me back to 1995, when it was completely and totally pervasive, I’d probably do it again. People don’t like to hear that.

"When I made the decision – when my team-mates made that decision, when the whole peloton made that decision – it was a bad decision and an imperfect time. But it happened."

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