Los Angeles: In the United States, where all sorts of sports fight for notice behind the behemoths of the NFL, the NBA and baseball, cyclist Lance Armstrong's epic fall is a blow to the sport he helped bring to prominence.
Instead of a supreme athlete who beat cancer and went on to win seven Tour de France titles -- proudly flying the US flag in a Euro-centric sport -- cycling fans and impressionable young athletes have been left with the image of a dope cheat.
Even before world cycling bosses responded to the claims on Monday by confirming a US Anti-Doping Agency life ban, stripping him of his Tour wins and career record after August 1998, USA Cycling officials believed his name had become a liability.
Their "Lance Armstrong Junior Race Series" was last week renamed the "USA Cycling Road Development Race Series".
"Lance Armstrong supported the junior race series for over 20 years," USA Cycling chief executive Steve Johnson said in announcing the change on Friday.
"However, given the recent revelations involving Mr. Armstrong and in order to continue to grow this development program, we feel it is only appropriate to initiate this change of title not only for this program and its race directors, but also for the bright future of budding American cyclists."
Armstrong's unparalleled Tour de France winning streak between 1999 and 2005 once made him a beacon to those youngsters, just like Greg LeMond when he became the first American to win the Tour in 1986 and added two more Tour titles in 1989 and 1990.
But it is at grass-routes level that the impact is likely to be felt of what the USADA said was his central role in the biggest doping progamme in the history of sport.
Brian Holcombe, editor of cycling website VeloNews.com, said he believed the two, top-flight US teams, BMC Racing and Garmin, were secure.
"The Garmin squad is basically built around the Armstrong supporting cast that chose a route of clean cycling half a decade ago or more and created this whole program. I don't see them being impacted," said Holcombe.
He said BMC, whose riders include talented 22-year-old American Taylor Phinney, is well-set with the backing of Andy Rihs, owner of the Swiss cycle brand.
"But I think if you go further down the food chain, and you're looking at teams that race on the national level, perhaps teams that race in Europe but spend their time primarily in the States, I think they are being negatively impacted," he added.
"They are definitely feeling pressure from their sponsors at this point, sponsors that stepped away from the sport and then sponsors that were expected to come in in the next year or two and those talks are cooling off.
"I think that's where we see a bit of a negative impact."
In a country where sporting options abound for young athletes, it's hard to predict if the Armstrong affair will have a chilling effect on participation, Holcombe said.
"Perhaps there are going to be parents out there who see their kids leaning toward the sport and want to pull them back a bit," he said. "That's an interesting question, I think that's yet to be seen."