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Lance Armstrong: Uber investment saved my family

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 2 days ago Telegraph Reporters
Lance Armstrong et al. wearing costumes: Lance Armstrong celebrates after his seventh Tour de France victory in 2005 - ten years before he admitted to doping © Franck Fife/AFP Lance Armstrong celebrates after his seventh Tour de France victory in 2005 - ten years before he admitted to doping

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Lance Armstrong, the former cycling champion whose fall from grace cost him millions of dollars in lawsuits and endorsements, says an early investment in the ride hailing app Uber had saved his family from financial ruin.

Armstrong, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life from the sport for doping, told CNBC he gave $100,000 (£78,000) to a venture capital fund that invested in the company around 2009.

"It's saved our family," he said in an interview broadcast on Thursday.

In April he struck a deal with the US government to pay $5m in order to settle a long-running lawsuit that could have cost him $100m in damages.

But that did not mean he got off "scot free", he said, describing how legal fees and other settlements meant he had paid out $111m in total.

Armstrong said he was not aware that he was investing in Uber, which at the time was worth $3.7 million, when he gave money to venture capitalist Chris Sacca of Lowercase Capital.

Uber, which is preparing to go public next year, could be valued at $120 billion according to proposals made by American banks bidding to run the offering.

Armstrong, who has five children, did not disclose how much his investment in Uber was currently worth, saying "it's a lot more" and "it's too good to be true".

Lance Armstrong © getty Lance Armstrong

When asked by the interviewer if he had made "10, 20, 30, 40 or $50 million", Armstrong replied: "It's one of those. It's a lot, it's a lot."

Armstrong won the Tour de France a record seven times but was long dogged by accusations that he used drugs to enhance his performance. He was stripped of his titles and banned for life in 2012 by the US Anti-Doping Agency after it accused him of engineering one of the most sophisticated doping schemes in sports.

The American finally admitted to cheating in a January 2013 interview with Oprah Winfrey. 

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