Lance Armstong will no longer be the face of United Cycle, as the Edmonton bike store has decided to paint over a mural of the famous athlete following his admission of doping.
"It doesn’t really portray a positive role model to the youth and we’re not really sure that we want to have that representing our brand on the building," said Jeff Stuparyk, whose family owns the store.
The mural was painted in 2009, when the store moved to its current location on Gateway Boulevard, just south of Whyte Avenue, along with a second painting of former Oiler Wayne Gretzky.
Stuparyk said the mural was to celebrate sports, specifically cycling.
"He was kind of the figurehead of cycling, globally, and his accomplishments were unsurpassed at the time. "
Allegations of performance-enhancing drugs have followed Armstong for years, and Stuparyk says staff have long considered replacing the mural. But it wasn’t until the cyclist’s admission in an interview earlier this week that he was doping that they decided to bring the mural down.
Stuparyck says the decision was a tough one, and that Armstrong’s admission was a blow to fans of the sport.
"I think it hit all cyclists hard. He was someone everyone looked up to, not only for cycling but for his work with his charity."
He says the mural will come down as soon as staff decide what to paint in its place.