The Adelaide City Council voted on Tuesday night to strip Lance Armstrong of his keys to the city which hosts the Tour Down Under.
Just last week, Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood said that Armstrong would not lose the honour given his work for cancer research and also because he had raised the profile of the lone Australian event on the UCI WorldTour calendar, the Tour Down Under. Armstrong chose the Adelaide event as his comeback race in 2009, resulting in unprecedented interest for the tour.
Last night's meeting saw councillors vote 6-1 in favour of having Armstrong's name struck from the list of 33 recipients, according to Adelaidenow.com.au.
The website reports that rather footing the expense of travelling to the US to retrieve the key, Armstrong's name would be removed from the honour board where the recipients are listed. Others to have received the honour include Cher, who sold her key on eBay for close to $93,000 earlier this year, the Dalai Lama and comedian Barry Humpries who is perhaps best known as Dame Edna Everage.
In 2011, Yarwood travelled to the US to hand-deliver the key to Armstrong, with Adelaide rate-payers covering the partial cost of the trip however, the American was not in residence in Texas. The key was later posted to him.
The Tour Down Under is partially funded by the South Australian Government. Race staff have long acknowledged that Armstrong has been paid a fee, believed to be up to $3 million per year to attend the Australian WorldTour event, however the exact figure is deemed "commercially in confidence" by the South Australian Government.
When news of Armstrong's appearance fees initially hit the headlines in 2009, then-Premier Mike Rann trumpeted that the money was actually going to the cancer survivor's charity. Armstrong however then told the New York Times that he was treating the payment as income.
"It's not simply showing up to a bike race and getting paid to race the bike," he informed the publication. "I'm not being paid to race. Is there a fee for other things? Yes, but that's not any different than what I've done the last three or four years, actually longer than that."
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