JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- From worldwide sponsors to a local group right in Jacksonville, the movement against Lance Armstrong is gaining momentum.
Cycling is a passion Phil Foreman has been peddling since junior high school. In his world of metal spokes and carbon-fiber frames, there’s no name bigger than Lance Armstrong.
“He is one of the most powerful cyclists around of all time," said the owner of Champion Cycling in Mandarin.
Armstrong’s legacy is in limbo after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency charged him with using performance-enhancing drugs. They took away his titles and banned him from competition. Sponsors like Nike pulled the plug on his endorsements. Now, a local charity decided they need to keep their distance too.
Armstrong was slated to speak at this year's Florida Forum -- a fundraiser hosted by the Women's Board of Wolfson Children's Hospital. But Action News has learned, Armstrong will no longer be riding into Jacksonville. Board president Jacqueline Bargas says the controversy surrounding the cyclist played a part in their decision to find a replacement.
“At the end of the day, it's about the success of the series and selling tickets, which in turn raises money for the children's hospital and we really need to be cognizant of that,” said Bargas.
Back at the shop, Foreman predicts more cancellations for the famed cyclist. “In time I think that will change. But right now I'm sure he's got a lot of appointments that are getting canceled out."
Tickets were sold as part of a package for the forum's three events. The women's group says they will announce the new speaker within a couple of weeks.