US Postal Service spent $32m on team in four years

Armstrong sponsorship under spotlight as doping probe continues

Newly released records show the US Postal Service spent $31.9 million sponsoring Lance Armstrong's cycling team during the height of the American's Tour de France dominance.

The figure, for the years 2001 to 2004, was disclosed following a Freedom of Information request by sports website ESPN. Armstrong won six of his seven straight Tour titles in US Postal colours, starting in 1999.

Former teammate Floyd Landis has accused Armstrong and others of using performance-enhancing drugs, prompting a US federal investigation into doping in pro cycling. If such a claim were found to be true – no charges have yet been brought – it would have been a violation of the sponsorship deal with the US Postal Service.

Armstrong has vehementely denied doping during his career, and a spokesman said on Friday that there was nothing surprising in the US Postal Service's sponsorship."Over the years, many different sponsors have seen – and continue to see – the benefits of associating with Lance and his cycling teams," Mark Fabiani said in a statement.

© AFP 2010

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