USPS had concerns about possible doping early in Armstrong sponsorship

According to VeloNation, the US Postal Service was worried enough about the possibility of cheating on the part of Lance Armstrong’s cycling team that it insisted on a “moral turpitude” clause in their sponsorship contract:

However the sponsors were already concerned enough by the possibility of doping to introduce a ‘morals turpitude and drug clause’ back in 2000, which called for the suspension or firing of any rider who broke certain rules. An excerpt from the contract is as follows:

“The Company represents that each rider on the Team has a morals turpitude and drug clause that allows the Company to suspend or terminate the rider for cause which shall include items such as (1) conviction of a felony; (2) acts that require the Team to suspend or terminate the rider under the applicable rules of the Union Cycliste Internationale, the Federation Interationale du Cyclisme Professionel; the United States Professional Cycling Federation, Inc; the International Olympic Committee; the International Amateur Cycling Federation; the United States Cycling Federation and all other applicable governing organizations; (3) failure to pass drug or medical tests; (4) inappropriate drug conduct prejudicial to the Team, or the Postal Service, which is in violation of the Team rules or commonly accepted standards of morality; and (5) gross neglect of the rider’s duty.”

If any rider on the team is found guilty of such offense, the Company agrees to take appropriate action within (30) days.

In addition to that, the sponsors showed a growing unease in relation to stories from the 2000 Tour saying that medical trash dumped by the team contained suspicious waste. Actovegan was one substance found, but that investigation was eventually terminated two years later.

According to ESPN, USPS contracting officer Lynda Zelnick contacted Tailwind’s then managing director in February 2001 in order to warn him about, “the need for prudence and discretion in talking with the media.”

She told Allen Furst of “the Postal Service’s concern about the deleterious impact upon the anticipated value of our sponsorship.” She also told him that the agency was hiring a PR firm to control the handling of such things and that the $50,000 cost would be deducted from the overall sponsorship fee.

Read more: US Postal Service sponsors outlined opposition to cheating with anti-doping clause.