OT: Armstrong Drops Appeal, To Lose Tour Wins
It's sad really, a lot of people think of him as a hero.
Read the statement. Armstrong is a hero. He is saying that he is tired of fighting the witch hunt, and is maintaining his innocence.
Armstrong is right: everyone will still know who won the Tour de France seven times.
I still can't figure out why the USADA wants to hurt one of the greatest athletes of all time, and someone who brought seven trophies from France back to the US.
The work he does for cancer is nice, and should go on in at least a limited way.
But he cheated. Everyone else did, too, of course, but he definitely cheated. And he has tried to destroy anyone who called him on it. He has destroyed them with lawsuits, with character defamation, with industry-wide blacklisting.
The USADA is seeking the truth behind a vast, complex cheating operation that was among the most sophisticated in cycling, and, consequently, in sports.
And it has found it.
...is not that the USADA may have found a cheater, but that nowhere, on either side of this in scandal, can one find a good guy working without alterior motives.
What ulterior motive would the USADA have here? I don't see any particular upside to them getting a retired cyclist's records stripped away.
I don't think the UCI is necessarily happy, either. Armstrong did a lot for the growth of cycling in the U.S. It was during his prime that the Tour de France became broadcast live on TV in this country for the first time. Having his reputation damaged could turn people off. If anything I'd think they'd want to sweep this under the rug.
...delivering a decisive PR blow in the long running argument between USADA/WADA and the intransigent UCI over control of cycling. I'm not sure what else could have motivated the huge amount of resources that they've dedicated to chasing Armstrong and Postal. Certainly pursuing a ban on a retired athlete isn't going to make the sport cleaner.
That the UCI as a governing body is at least badly run, and more likely corrupt, goes without saying. But it's one thing to pursue clean cycling, and something else to violate your own ethical guidelines to do it. The "good guys" here at the USADA and WADA controlled labs have been very happy to leak information to the press, breach test confidentiality and notification protocols, and in some cases lied about chain of custody violations and provide dsamples to outside parties for review. All of this in violation of their own policies, and without any consequences.
As an example:
and should go on in at least a limited way.
But he cheated"
LOL, are you really saying he should stop supporting cancer research and awareness because he took some extra strong vitamins while playing the ride the bike game?
you sound like your priorities are a little out of whack.
Livestrong stopped supporting cancer research years ago
which was also mentioned. Also, his foundation put the issues of cancer survivorship on the map entirely and they're still the leading organization working for people during and post treatment.
I don't know about you, but I like to see some evidence that something is the truth before I declare it as such. And, as you probably know, there's yet to be one single shred of credible evidence that Lance cheated. As in, literally, none. No positive tests, no credible first hand witnesses, no obvious physical signs of cheating.
And I don't know about you, but I would try to destroy people who lied about me, too.
"No positive tests."
The drugs and techniques (autologous blood doping) that were most effective did not have tests for years, and autologous blood doping basically still does not. EPO, the wonderdrug that changed the face of the sport, did not have an effective test until midway through Lance's run of Tours, and even then it is only moderately effective. Once the test was establish, French magazine L'Equippe reported that some of Lance's samples from 1999 were retested and found positive, but since it wasn't a "legal" test it didn't have any effect.
It is widely known that testing in all sports can be beaten. After testing positive in the '08 Tour, King of the Mountains winner Bernard Kohl explained that he had been tested many dozens of times and had passed every one, despite being on the juice. Marion Jones, admitted doper who was exposed in the Balco investigation, has never tested positive. Neither has Barry Bonds, for that matter.
"No credible first hand witnesses"
Actually, there are at least 10 credible first hand witnesses that were prepared to testify. In addition to Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis, who Lance has tried to destroy, it is widely thought that loyal teammates like George Hincapie, Christian Vandevelde, and Levi Leipheimer have given testimony and would testify in court. These men are currently in cycling, have little to gain by testifying, and a lot to lose--and with the trial upcoming, asked to be withheld from the US Olympic team this year.
Jon Vaughters, currently the owner of the Garmin-Sharp team, a team devoted to clean cycling, has officially admitted to doping during his cycling career, particularly while he was working for Lance and Johan at US Postal. He has deliberately avoided giving details about US Postal to the press while strongly implying that he is a witness in the investigation as well.
These are not men who are out of cycling trying to make a quick buck. They are in the sport and they have nothing to gain. They are not going to perjure themselves to hurt Lance. They are eminently credible.
"No obvious physical signs of cheating."
I don't know what you mean by this. A soigneur (basically, staff assistant) for Lance early in his run has stated that she disposed of hundreds of used needles, and saw the marks on Lance's body from the injections, if that's what you mean. More likely you mean the "physical performance" results.
And the physical performance is evidence enough to condemn without a single witness. The watts/kg measurement is the definitive way to measure a rider's power output in climbs while correcting for differences in body mass. It can be calculated using available data, and since the Tour climbs many of the same climbs regularly, it can be used to compare riders from different years.
It is generally accepted that the "human limit" on a long climb like Alpe d'Huez or the Col du Tourmalet is 5.9-6.0 Watts/kg. At the extreme. All-time climbers Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador smoked the field in their race up the Tourmalet in '10 with the winner of the race at stake and averaged 5.9 W/kg.
In the EPO heyday riders were clocking 6.7-7.0 W/kg. That translates to differences of minutes over a long climb, decisive time differences in the Tour de France. Lance hit 6.7-7.0 with remarkable frequency, performances that simply aren't possible without altered blood.
The evidence is incontrovertible.
Not that we weren't 90% sure he was cheating, but all those incredible performances....
IMO he just needed to lay low for a few years. Everyone knew how dirty things were in that era and most respected his greatness, but every time he screamed about his perfect innocence from the mountaintops and then expected his (formerly cheating) teammates to back him just as loudly, he drove wedges between himself and the rest of the sport. It's a shame.
It amazes me to see the lengths people will go to defend their countrymen whenever these doping cases come up.
Armstrong doped. This is not some great mystery being unveiled all of a sudden. His watts/kg output on the Tours he won was incredibly suspicious, and in line with other known dopers. For years he's fought tooth and nail against the allegations. No one who has followed this will believe his explanation now.
You can argue that it's not entirely fair to give his titles to another rider when it was an era of rampant doping in general, but to believe that the guy was clean is nuts.
"No one who has followed this will believe his explanation now."
Ummm... I do, and so do a lot of other people, so speak solely for yourself.
How about "no one who has ever cycled competitively will ever believe it?"
agreed. I don't personally know anyone who competively cycles or follows the sport that believes he didn't cheat.
my favorite is when he was accused of blood doping by floyd and lance would never directly deny it, he would only say "I have never used performance enhancing drugs". Blood doping of course doesn't require any performance enhancing drugs.
The dude is a badass cyclist and I loved watching him compete, but he at the very least blood doped with the rest of his team and the cycling world.
It amazes me how people can say with such certainty things that are so uncertain, so unproven, and so...well, false.
There's no proof Armstrong doped. If he had doped, it would have been proven. There would be, at the very least, circumstancial evidence. There is nothing, whatsoever, to suggest that he doped.
And before people start talking about how him giving up means he's guilty, just stop. That's nonsense. He's been worn down by a witch hunt operated by people who do not abide by laws or due process. He's fighting a fight he cannot win. USADA was going to continue to pursue him no matter what he did. He had nothing to gain - given that he's already retired, public perception is all that could theoretically be changed at this point, and it's safe to say the vast majority of people either blindly declare him guilty or realize that there's no evidence against him. He's better off, as he said, focusing on his family and his foundation.
"If I was being accused of something I didn't do, I would NEVER..." blah blah blah. Sure you wouldn't. Did you know that 25% of people who are exonerated by DNA evidence CONFESSED to the crime that they didn't commit after being worn down by relentless (and, in most cases, unethical and/or unlawful) interrogations? Lance Armstrong has been worn down by a system designed to make it next to impossible for him to clear his name. His choices were to continue fighting a fight he cannot win, with almost nothing to gain, or give up and focus on doing whatever it is that he wants to do with his life. I don't blame him for choosing the latter.
and everyone who follows it, knows it. They ought to just wipe the record books clean back to 1975 or something. (The same with many baseball records.)
Yes, when Armstrong was cycling I was glued to the TV. Now, if nothing else is on, I will watch the dopers compete with each other for a little while.
The sad thing is, they have at least made inroads to cleaning it up, but the stigma, for me, is still there.
Cycling's first PED related fatality was in the 19th century and there has never been a period since then where doping has not been part of the sport. Every great cyclist of the mid-Century (Anquetil, Merckx, Hinault) is known to have doped. It's one of the first extreme sports, and has a blue-collar, win at all costs history and culture that is different from any other professional sport and very difficult for Americans to understand.
@Candyman - So you think he can not only win 7 times, but destroy a peloton full of dopers and cheats without doping himself? That he can achieve power outputs never seen before, or since, and be totally clean?
Remember, all the great champions he absolutely destroyed have since confessed or been outed as dopers themselves. It's just not plausible that he could trounce them and do that totally clean. Don't forget that a lot of his old teammates have also been busted - Tyler Hamilton, Floyd Landis and I think a few others as well.
from what ive read the only tests that are suspicious are the ones from after his retirement after his 7 tour wins.
so if all the tests are clean durring the 7 tour wins, but ones after he came out of retirement are suspicious, why would he have ever come back to the sport? and who in the right mind would dope after knowing they would be the most scrutinized person ever? its a lose lose all around, i just dont know how they can argue this thing years after the fact. let it go.
For some people there is no such thing as a credible witness or evidence when a hero has been accused of wrongdoing, and after all that's happened in the sporting world in the last year or so it amazes me that anyone would still be amazed by this.
so if anyone shows abilities above and beyond the rest of the athletes in their sport then they must be doping? Look at Usain Bolt, it will probably be decades before his 100 meter time is broken. The fact that he lowered it so significantly in such a short period of time means that he must be doping. Bob Beamon must be doping also, as his long jump record stood for decades, as has the record of the guy who topped his record. Its when anomalies like these occur that testing plays a huge role in determining if they are legit, and armstrong never failed a test
There's very little doubt in my mind that Bolt is a doper. He was an average sprinter who suddenly improved dramatically around 2007 to become by far the best in the world, right at the same time when two of his training partners became world-class as well. I don't know about Beamon, but I wouldn't doubt that either. I'm certainly not defending track and field as a doping-free sport.
It's interesting to me that Armstrong's biggest defenders here are people who never post on any of the Tour de France threads. I don't know if you understand the degree to which the sport was tarnished by doping in the 1990s and early 2000s, when there was no way of testing for many banned substances. This is the point people miss. Yeah, Armstrong "didn't test positive," because he couldn't - cycling authorities didn't know how to detect a lot of these banned substances. They do now.
Cyclists get busted all the time for doping. What makes Armstrong different? Because he's American? Armstrong competed in an era in which it is universally acknowledged that doping was rampant, produced a watt/kg output consistent with known blood dopers, and has been accused of doping by the very people who would know - his teammates, trainers, doctors. It takes a high level of willful neglect to buy his explanation.
why not go after miguel indurain then, he won 5 in a row, that seems just as unlikely as winning 7 in a row. I dont think he ever was caught doping but might as well since they're going after retired cyclists these days
Indurain isn't American, so the USADA can't go after him. But I wouldn't be surprised if he was a doper as well - he also competed in the EPO era.
It's not clear if Armstrong will actually lose his TdF titles, though. The USADA does not have the authority to do that. The UCI and/or ASO (the group that runs the Tour) will ultimately have to make that decision.
Indurain almost certainly did dope, but there's less evidence floating around from that part of the 90s. And Spain has no interest in catching cheaters--the country has turned a willful blind eye to all kinds of misbehavior in the past decade, and probably longer.
BTW, regarding Usain Bolt, here's an article that makes a convincing case that he's on steroids.
Excellent article, thanks for the tip.
Aside regarding Bob Beamon: His record jump was in the '68 Mexico City Olympics; don't think doping was an issue.
There were a handful of attempts to grapple with the argument (is Angel Hernandez/Heredia really associated with Bolt? how credible is the evidence there?) but mostly the comments consisted of avoiding all the crucial facts (what's up with Bolt's sudden and pretty much unprecedented performance leaps? is it a coincidence that his training partners had similar leaps at the same time? doesn't marion jones's confession pretty much kill any argument that dopers will always get caught?) and instead divert attention to alleged jealousy and even racism (a red herring here, it seems to me) and smears of any witness inside the doping/Balco world as not credible because they're inside the doping/Balco world.
It's a familiar cocktail.
I read it, I've been following this for 10 years and there's a lot more to this that you obviously don't understand.
Here's a statement from LA's testimony: "It's not about the money. It’s also about the faith that people have put in me over the years." People in bike racing and the cycling industry have thought he should come clean for years. Given the statement above I understand his thought process for not admitting guilt. Do I believe he doped, yes. There is enough evidence. However, I still think his accomplishments are amazing because EVERYONE was doping at the time. He also won a world championship before he had cancer. He had cancer. People are alive because of him.
Why would the USADA do this? Governance of the sport.
Jeez, dude. The evidence against the guy is bordering on overwhelming.
"Jeez, dude. The lack of evidence against the guy is bordering on overwhelming."
Fixed your post.
I'm not asking for a video of him doping. But is it too much to ask for a positive test, or a credible first hand witness, any physical symptom of doping...something. Anything. Just one piece of tangible evidence that he cheated. It doesn't exist. I think that says it all.
First of all he has tested positive. During the 99 tour he tested positive for a corticosteroid. secondly, blood doping by transfusions wouldn't lead to a positive test. Also epo testing in cycling didn't start until 2000 and even then it is difficult to test for. Plus epo only stays in your body for a few days but its effects last for weeks.
As far as first hand witnesses, the anti-doping agency has 10 eyewitnesses that were set to testify against him. 10 first hand witnesses. How are his teammates not credible witnesses?
They also have blood samples from 09 and 10 that are consistent with blood doping.
The corticosteroid positive was an exceedingly low concentration consistent with his proviously cleared use of cortisone cream for 'saddle rash'. That was overblown. That said the other parts are accurate.
Contador's clenbuterol test also was exceedingly low and were consistent with food poisoning and not doping....do any of us believe he is clean? No. Same logic applies to Lance.
Disagree completely. If he cheated, he is far from a hero. If he didn't cheat, he would continue and continue to fight. You know you would too - if all that you worked for is on the line. He's a "hero" in overcoming cancer and for the good work he does, but no different than the many others that do the same. He is no hero for his victories that came through cheating.
His teammates and USADA both say he cheated + he dropped the appeal = he cheated.
That's how I see it.
People get screwed all the time and have to defend themselves even when they are innocent. There is understandably reasons to drop appeals, but in this case, I can't imagine one. It semi-ruins all that he's done; he's wealthy enough that he can pay for and focus on the appeal. I just can't believe he'd drop the appeal unless he knows he can't win.... again, = he cheated.
Is it okay to not like this guy even after all the Livestrong stuff? Not really all that amazing. Wonder if this fall from grace will be harder than Tiger's.
He's more notorious than Pete Rose... No way he'll be anything more than Dancing With The Stars after this.
I think you're missing the big picture with this. To A LOT of people, he's a hero for standing up for himself and defending his personal honor in the face of all of this scrutiny and ending this whole ordeal on his terms. I'm willing to bet he comes out of this just fine. People in this country tend to not like unaccountable authority.
I can understand considering him a hero for overcoming cancer to become an accomplished cyclist, but the way he's responded these last few years- by trashing the very people who worked with him all those years - has hardly been heroic.
It sounds like you're in that hardcore group that won't believe in his guilt. All the banned guys have a loyal following - there are plenty of Spaniards who insist Alberto Contador did nothing more than eat "tainted beef." But the broader public is not going to be into a guy who had his titles stripped away and is banned for life.
I'm actually not one of those hardcore defenders/followers that you describe. Not even close. I just don't believe the process here had been, remotely, fair and just.
"But the broader public is not going to be into a guy who had his titles stripped away and is banned for life."
I'll be curious to see opinions on this from the general public. I have a feeling you'll be wrong, but only time will tell.
When the governing body has proof this defense was to hide cheating? That's like praising someone for claiming he didn't do it when 8 people watched him shoot a guy. How heroic is it to bury everyone who tells the truth about your cheating?
Your statement is based upon the assumption that those people are telling the truth. Hardly concrete ground to build a case upon.
It is. Livestrong did some great things. But it also enriched his "brand." Outside magazine has covered this in great detail.
No dispute on your larger point that Livestrong certainly enhanced Armstrong's personal reputation, but the Outside article was a pretty one-sided hatchet job.
Also, he founded the foundation before he really had much of a brand and prior to every winning a single TDF, which says at least a little about the integrity of his initial intentions.
Don't really care either way. The USADA seems like a piece of sh*t organization, though.
Edit: Additionally, I'm not a cycling enthusiast whatsoever, but it's not like he didn't win 7 straight TDF to me. I'm sure many others feel the same way, some/many are into cycling, probably not thinking, "Ohh, the USADA overturned Lance's TDF titles, let's forget they ever happened and pretend Lance cheated someone else who was clean (yank, yank)". Oh well, again I have not a whole lot of interest in all of this. Like Lance himself, I'm sick of hearing about it and I'm sick of hearing about these government agencies trying to proclaim they're doing these things for the better good of sport (or whatever they're claiming they're helping).
The USADA's position is easier to understand if you've followed this entire story. And frankly, Armstrong is a lot harder to feel sympathetic for if you've followed how he's behaved over the past several years, when people in his inner circle have come forward one after another on this.
I can't believe he dropped this.
In it's own space, it's a very big deal.
wow, wow, wow.
It was going to happen eventually. I don't like to see results overturned, but his were pretty dubious.
foregoing arbitration the same as being proven guilty?
Well, would you expect a man innocent of these charges to watch as all of his titles are taken away and his name thrown in the mud and say, "No biggie"?
This is effectively an admission of guilt on his part, disguised as contempt for the process.
I have little doubt of his guilt, but the USADA arbitration process is hardly a fair hearing.
He had no chance to beat the rap. His own teammates from U.S. Postal and the team doctors were calling him out. His only real defense is that he didn't test positive, but that's because they did not then have the testing procedures they do now (the products he was using were banned, but couldn't be tested for at the time).
Not exactly. People who are not guilty take plea deals or plead nolo because they know they aren't like to prevail, no matter how innocent they are, given the nature of the circumstantial facts involved, just to get it over with. Happen a lot? Probably not, but it does happen.
Those are generally people too poor to mount a potent defense. Also, they do it to get a lighter sentence. But Lance is rich and faced no criminal sentencing. He had absolutely no reason to concede. Unless of course he feared what the arbitration hearing would reveal.
"Those are generally people too poor to mount a potent defense."
I disagree. I've seen it arise in a number of situations and being indigent has never been a factor.
"Also, they do it to get a lighter sentence. But Lance is rich and faced no criminal sentencing. He had absolutely no reason to concede. Unless of course he feared what the arbitration hearing would reveal."
Or, alternatively, because they don't believe the process was going to be fair and just, primarily because they know they are facing a tidal wave of accusers and their only possible response is their own word.
It's virtually the same, actually. He had an option to contest the charges. He declined. It amounts to a no contest plea.
"It amounts to a no contest plea."
Which, of course, is not the same thing as a guilty plea.
just maybe, he saw how hard Roger Clemens fought and won in court and is still viewed by the same folks who thought he had used PEDs before he was acquitted as a person who used PEDs. Lance is right in that it is a no-win situation. Even if you win, you have roughly the same groups of people who either believe you were honest believe you cheated. As to Lance Armstrong, it has just been carried on for too many years. The people who believed (and in many instances still believe) Brian McNamee's testimony are also going to accept the testimony of Lance's teammates, even though they do not know what kind of pressure was placed on them or the validity of their "testimony".
Roger Clemens wasn't acquitted of using PEDs; Roger Clemens was acquitted of perjury.
He fought his whole career against these allegations. He yelled as loud as he could, vehemently denied every allegation, claimed he'd been tested thousands of times, and they all "came up clean". If this is the truth, then why give up now? With your legacy on the line? Why let them take away everything you did "when you were clean"?
This pretty much says he did it. And it's a shame, because he helped raise money for cancer. I wonder if our perception of the man will be altered because of this.
They had to have had Rx notes and the doctors waiting in the wings. Like a warm smoking gun level of open-shut
They have multiple teammates, apparently ten of them. They have dirt on the doctors who were coordinating the plan (several of which are already banned). They have records. They have accessory witnesses.
Armstrong threw in the towel. He had no chance of winning.
It's official, they took away his Tour wins and banned him from cycling.
What a fall from grace.
Is it just me, or did he seem like kind of a douche the whole time anyways? No idea if he's truly guilty or not, but he just seemed really full of himself. JMO
Lance cheated. There is no doubt in my mind. He deserves to be exposed for it, and exposed for the terrible way he has treated those around him.
The reason he is not appealing is because an open trial will air much dirt and expose a lot of uncomfortable truth. And because he will lose. Lance claims to be "weary of fighting," yet he has faught every accusation, every book, every witness with lawsuits and vitriol without exception. Suddenly giving up now is just a chance to issue a public denial and save some face.
Now, here's the deal: It's not a sure thing they will strip those Tour wins, and I certainly hope they don't. Bjarne Riis, '96 winner, has admitted that he doped for that race (significantly more than Armstrong has, since he could get away with it) and has not been stripped. The '97 and '98 winners have both been caught doping. Every person Armstrong shared a podium with in each Tour has been linked to or convicted of doping, including that '97 winner. Every one of them. If you give the win to the runner up you are giving it to a person who is as guilty as Armstrong.
To give you an idea of what that would be like to a cycling fan, imagine that Oregon gets nailed for widespread cheating for the entirety of the Chip Kelly era this fall. Hypothetically, let's say that Phil Knight pays players out of his own pocket (I don't actually think this is true). Then, further, imagine that the NCAA actually grows some backbone and investigates the Cam Newton charge, finds that Auburn is way dirty, and has Auburn stripped of its BCS title. And imagine that the BCS title is given to super-dirty Oregon.
How would you feel about that?
Lance should keep his titles. He should be publically exposed, but he should keep his titles.
It's really weird for most Americans. When we hear of doping, it's about the 90's MLB and usually nothing else. Unfortunately there's a whole lot of leagues that are so dirty *cough cough*FIFA*cough cough* that we never hear about just because it's not big in the US. Cycling is just as bad (and probably worse) than the Steroids era of MLB
Once again, this seems like a good time to shamelessly link to a diary I wrote on the subject.
This gives my view on it.
Regarding how doping in cycling was, having read up on the topic quite a bit and read the testimonies of some guys who tried to ride clean in the 90s and early 00s, it was almost universal. You basically couldn't compete without doping. There were, seriously, riders who would dope regularly just so they could finish in the middle of the pack.
Cycling has gotten quite a bit better, even if its sanctioning body is questionable. Sports overall, though, are dirty as all get-out. As I say in the linked article, if there is a benefit in a sport to doping, people are going to do it.
Perhaps they should just allow doping...
No sport can. First of all, it is very dangerous. A number of cyclists died in the 90s due to their blood being too thick from doping. Anabolic steroids have their own devastating effects on those who use. Remember Chris Benoit?
It's also unfair. Different athletes respond differently to the drugs. If you could give football players a drug to make them run 4.2 40s, that would be a great boost to a guy like John Navarre... and do almost nothing for Denard Robinson. That's not fair.
Good, longitudinal testing can catch doping much more effectively and, importantly, significantly reduces any available advantage from doping. Cycling has pioneered this and is now effectively limiting performance gains in observable ways.
About the best you can do is level the playing field so that someone can compete while clean. Cycling is making good progress at that; other sports have a longer way to go.
Sports all have implied risks. If it was in the open with respected doctors at least safety would be a concern instead of maintaining standard testing rations.
Sports are not fair. Denard Robinson is Denard robinson because he is fast and agile,and thus is an athlete. I'm slow and clumsy, thus not an athlete. Thats not fair to me. Some workout warriors respond and become stronger than others, is that fair?
Again if the point of testing is health instead of preventing positive tests would this matter? If a person knowingly dopes at unsafe levels, they have sold their soul and die after a couple years. To have any longevity in sports people would be forced to maintain reasonable levels.
The playing field is not level, never will be. If you want to say allowing them forces everyone to dope, so be it. Maybe we should ban lifting weights too. There can be risks in that or even practicing. The people that do it right and the most turn into the best pros, make it the same. If a marathoner thought they could build endurance by upping the ante and training at 100 miles a day it would catch up to them and is self policing in a way, same thing would eventually happen.
(Laughs at own arguments)
Sports have implied risks, but death (or long-term health problems) from drug use does not have to be one of them. I don't think we can throw in the towel just because doping is widespread. Actually, technology is getting better and starting to catch up to the dopers, or at least reducing the gap. The biological passport cycling has recently adopted is a positive step.
Others have, at least initially, denied the allegations, fought them to some extent, but I can't think of another cyclist who's been so determined to destroy the life of anyone with the gall to tell the truth about him.
It won't bother me in the least if they strip his titles. It's a tiny bit of payback on behalf of every Filippo Simeoni out there.
Maybe they could simply leave them vacant, instead of awarding them to someone else who was dirty? Do what the NCAA does and simply refer to him at every point in the record book as "VACATED".
Great points, and I really want to agree with you completely except then I think about it from the view of the guys who really were and are clean (if there are any).
If all those guys got to keep their titles and endorsement money and fame, what incentive does the next generation have to stay clean? If you have to throw out everyone in those races from '96 until recently, so be it, but at some point I think someone should send the message that the cheaters will be exposed, humiliated, and stripped. I might even go back and find the first guy who never had a positive test, whether he finished 2nd or 32nd, and give him the title. Who cares? Reward a guy for doing the right thing when it seems like so many were not.
Feel free to say I'm totally wrong about this, I've never really thought it through carefully to form a strong opinion.
It's a genuinely tough question. There aren't good answers. I don't think you can award it to someone else, because doping was so widespread you may well wind up giving it to someone who just didn't get caught.
Some cycling people have suggested a "come clean" moment where anyone can admit what happened and receive amnesty going forward, but I really don't know if that would work.
It's easy to be a pundit like me and talk about how people cheated. Less so to fix what happened.
Would the need for doping decline if the flat stage lengths were 120 km and there were four mountain stages rather than six?
Or are some teams/riders going to look for any edge, regardless of the difficulty?
Would the racing suffer?
I don't have imformed opinions on these questions, but I'd like to hear them discussed.
As a viewer on the west coast, I typically get up in time to watch the last hour or so; the impact on me is minimal, assuming the ending times remain on the current schedule. If the starting times are maintained, well, that's why I have a DVR.
but what really pissed me off were the attempts to use his influence in the peloton to destroy the careers of those who spoke out against him or his doctors.
Strip his titles, expose and humiliate him--there's nothing they can do to him professionally that can make up for that.
It just seemed to good to be true that a guy who recovered from cancer could repeatedly win one of sports most grueling contests against others who were, more than likely, on steroids themselves.
Cycling seems to be a sport where the question "Who's clean?" is more appropriate than "Who's doping?"
Lance was just a better cheater than everyone else.
The authorities are making progress against doping. In the last couple of years, they've instituted a "biological passport" system that is much tougher to get around than the old pee-in-a-cup method. It seems to be working, because in the last couple of Tours de France, the riders have been unable to reach the kind of wattage that the known dopers were attaining a decade ago. The times/wattages recorded in the '90s and early '00s are regarded in much the same way as MLB home run records in the steroid era.
I agree, it's getting better. Wattage is down even though bikes are stiffer than ever and training is supposed to be more sophisticated.
It's a shame that this happens right in the middle of one the biggest US stage races. Thus putting a dark cloud on a race that Lance helped to create. BTW, I'm heading up to Boulder on Saturday where they're predicting over a 100,000 fans. Should be fun.
...but now we are seeing riders facing multi-year suspensions for tiny amounts of products with low PE potential (Contador/Albuterol), or possible masking agents/diuretics (Schleck/Xipamide). While the tests have gotten sensitive enough to dissuade many (most?) in the peloton from doping, they also have set the threshold so low that accidental exposure or intentional poisoning could potentially end someone's professional career.
His celebrity has reached its fall-from-grace phase of the cycle.
Lance Armstrong won 7 straight tours. This will not change in my mind. I have no I idea to what level he "cheated" but if he was passing his drug tests, I mean... who really gives a shit? There has never been and will (probably) never be a better cycler IMO.
It might be different if he had just eked out victory in those tours, but he didn't. He dominated. No amount of doping or whatnot would have made him dominate at that level. Doping gives one an edge in cycling. Lance Armstrong had way more than an edge, he simply crushed all the rest.
This was a sad witch-hunt and I don't blame the guy for giving it up. Being called a liar and a fraud every day must get tiring. In the end, I think we all know who the best in the world was for those seven years.
The drugs and techniques he used did not have tests (and, in one case, still does not) when he was racing. Passing a drug test for a drug they cannot test for is not difficult.
I don't believe he should be stripped of the titles, in part because he did indeed work harder than many other riders. Unfortunately, part of the way he won was to dope his teammates to provide better support in difficult situations, and that's part of what the USADA is addressing.
Now, Jan Ullrich, his long-time rival, was just as talented as Lance and usually raced for a team (Telekom/T-Mobile) that was just as dirty as US Postal. Ullrich's inferior work ethic and preparation did indeed hurt him in his efforts to beat Lance, and that is part of why Lance won. You don't win 7 Tours by accident.
Lance is not the best cyclist ever, though. No serious cycling fan has ever believed that; the best cyclist ever is Eddy Merckx. He was considered the best when we thought Lance was clean, he's considered the best now, he will probably never be matched.
Fun fact: Eddy Merckx has tested positive for illegal substances in competition. Isn't cycling fun?
all a favor and change your avatar? It's creeping everybody out.
Hinault and Merkcx pretty much laugh at this, IMO. I guess you could make a case for best TDF rider but without a Points or Mountain win, itd be a hard case
A guy as competitive as Lance doesn't quit if he's in the right. He quit because he had no choice. Basically his entire team said he cheated. I find it unlikely that he was the only one telling the truth.
I read his book in a hospital room with my mother laying in bed getting treatment for cancer. I don't care if he did it or not because his book gave me hope. That is how I think of Lance Armstrong.
Sadly, me as well. Same story. Hope your mom got better.
This is the sad part of the story.
I'm a cycling fan. I watched the Vuelta A Espana today on an internet stream. I paid money to watch the Tour de France on my phone this year. I got up at 5am to watch the Olympic Road Race.
I got hooked on cycling because my Dad was fighting cancer in 2002 and was inspired by Lance's book. I saw OLN was showing the Tour, and I flipped it on to see Lance. It so happened that he was following teammate Roberto Heras up the side of the Col du Tourmalet toward La Mongie, with top rival Joseba Beloki in tow. Lance accelerated a few hundred meters from the line, left Beloki in the dust, and claimed the Yellow Jersey that he would not relinquish. I was hooked.
And I was a Lance fan. And the thing is, when I see videos of great races he raced, I still enjoy them. I would root for him again all over again.
But when it became clear that literally everyone significant he beat was juicing, and there was a lot of evidence building up against him, I had to come to the conclusion that he was also cheating. And, unfortunately, I was appalled by how he treated other people who weren't on "his side."
His is a complex story. He is a challenging, complex person. And I hope the truth can come out and he can be forced to give proper account without undoing all the good that he did. But the truth has to come out.
The Vuelta? Why? The race in Colorado has been fantastic.
I don't hink this is the end of the story.
Except it was my mom who read his book herself while lying in hospital beds dying from cancer. She wore the yellow bracelet with hope and pride and found great encouragement from his story. The stories then about his doping only made her laugh, given the horrible things that are pumped into patients' veins in order hopes of beating cancer. Feel free to sanction the man for his sports competition awards and his abrasive personality, but it'd be a major loss to remove the hope and courage he's been able to inspire in other cancer survivors.
1. It is Cycling, I personally have no idea if they even did that little race in France this year...
2. He cheated, no one recovers from Cancer and wins like 7 straight world championships.
3. Everyone else was cheating too, so color him Barry Bonds or something. Doesn't mean he didn't smoke those fools.
4. Congrats to him for all he has helped.
5. Whoever thought of the Livestrong stuff hopefully is enjoying a lucrative career in marketing.
Who cares? It was fun to watch. That's a hell of a run even for someone who is cheating. Not to mention all the fellow cyclers he competed against who were doping too, and still couldn't beat him.
So basically, it's the best doper wins. His titles are in doping, not cycling.
Lance may or may not be guilty. His actions today are the actions of a guilty man. However, if his accolades are stripped because he refuses to fight doping charges, I believe the wins/rewards should be rewarded to others, such as the second place finisher in respective years. Did no one win the Tour in that year? That doesn't jive.
I want to see the Tour wins awarded those who deserved them. For this process to be fair, the new winners will have to submit proof that they did not use any sort of performance-enhancing drug. This proof will have to exceed that of Armstrongs', so clean tests are simply not enough. There must somehow be further evidence (which, of course, is impossible).
The second-place finishers are convicted dopers. So are the third-place finishers and most of the other guys in the top ten. Nobody was clean.
Nobody won the Heisman in 2005.
...this was sadly inevitable. I have no idea whether he cheated or not, but the powers that be wanted him dethroned. Did the controlling legal authorities offer quid pro quo arrangements with these other cyclists in exchange for their testimonies? I'm tempted to think they did.
I lost my wife to cancer two years ago, so to me, anyone who survives systemic cancer and goes on to win arguably the most difficult physical test on the planet seven times in a row deserves the benefit of the doubt.
No positive tests? No case in my mind.
Sorry about your loss....we had a scare with my father 3 years ago and it was terrible. Couldn't imagine having it be my wife.
1999 -- Alex Zulle. Admitted doper in Festina affair.
2000 -- Jan Ullrich. Convicted doper, revealed during Operation Puerto scandal. Raced for ultra-dirty Team Telekom.
2001 -- Jan Ullrich.
2002 -- Joseba Beloki. Connected to Operation Puerto investigation.
2003 -- Jan Ullrich.
2004 -- Andreas Kloden. Alleged to use the Freiburg clinic for illegal transfusions (blood doping). Has spent almost his entire career, including 2004, on teams with organized doping programs.
2005 -- Ivan Basso. Convicted doper through Operation Puerto investigation. Has since returned to racing in much less impressive form.
You could also mention that the guys who won immediately after, Alberto Contador and Floyd Landis, were both dopers as well.
Is it cheating if everyone's doing it?
I would say yes becuase it's not uniform cheating. Some people have access to the best stuff so it becomes not who is the best competitor but who has the best pharmacist.
The Choice is Obvious:
Is there a summary somewhere of the evidence against him? Are his claims of passing hundreds of tests legit? ...and how did he pass them?
edit: D'oh! link right above this, while a year old, looks like a pretty good start.
I looked up to him for so long. This is heartbreaking
To cope with those outfits? I love how people ride in those and are going ten miles an hour, or not in a race. I think I will wear full pads to my next flag football game.
If Armstrong passed so many tests in 1999-2005, what good is testing? Why couldn't baseball players figure out how to pass tests as well as Armstong? If testing in that time period was that worthless and doping was that effective, then there are likely champions in many other sports that didn't get caught.
Because it was easier to test for strength doping (steroids) than it was to test for endurance doping (epo, blood doping, etc.). A baseball player wouldn't have gotten much use out of a cyclist's doping regimen.
While strength doping would help more than endurance doping, endurance doping would still be beneficial in sports where a great deal of time is spent training.
Maybe one of the football players or coaches here could weigh in, but I don't see the benefits of blood doping and the like for football and I've never heard a suggestion that anyone might have done it.
Soccer, on the other hand, with its limited substitutions...rumors and allegations have been rampant there for years.
Thanks. That does a lot to explain things for me.
Ah, you're starting to stumble on an ugly truth: Many baseball players have learned how to beat the tests. And players in other sports. Testing is a detterent, but it's not perfect. It gets better as they develop new testing procedures, but the battle between the testers and the cheaters is ongoing.
Doping is a lot more widespread than anyone wants to believe.
...I'm thinking of college football. Endurance doping may not be ideal for the sport, but training is a year-round marathon.
I can't figure out why football players don't blood dope. You jam your system with your own red blood cells prior to Sunday's game. Why wouldn't that help? It should increase time in aerobic metabolism and decrease anaerobic, right? If so that'd be advantageous.
If there is a real competitive benefit to it, then they do blood dope and are not caught. However, the physical condition required for regularly substituted football players isn't quite as high as in some other sports with no rest periods, so it may not be worth it.
But football players definitely cheat. The first usable tests for HGH just came out this summer, and people have known that HGH is an effective doping substance for over a decade. You think nobody used it just because there wasn't a test for it? Even the stuff that is tested for can be dodged and suppressed. Doping is widespread in football. No question about it.
He fought cancer but the USADA was too much.. I smell B.S. He cheated to get ahead and he cashed in on it.. He would have lost and he knew it...To say that this was witch hunt is garbage..
All the other cyclists that get caught seem to get a 2 year ban? Last month I watched Vinokourov win a gold medal after being convicted of doping a few years ago. Contador is riding the Vuelta as I write this and he go caught only a couple years ago?
What is up with the lifetime ban? I assume this will apply to triathlon as well so no Kona.
The lifetime ban is not just a product of using; it is a product of a conspiracy to distribute and administer to others. That is, his whole team. It's a bigger deal and the reason groups like the USADA are so interested.
If Lance had simply doped himself he probably could have dropped off the map. But in the Tour, you need a strong team to control the peloton and control the climbs, and to have that kind of team Lance needed to have juiced teammates. So they took care of it.
Numerous people in this thread say most cyclists were doping. So why is Armstrong the chief conspirator? Ulrich was his biggest competitor and Ulrich had Kloden and Vino for a few years. All were caught doping so how could you argue that Postal/Discovery was a conspiracy but T-Mobile was not? Seems to me that Armstrong gets a raw deal with this lifetime ban. Now I am biased because I am a triathlete and wanted to see how he would do in Kona which looks to be permanently off at this point.
He cheated in that he (most probably) took PEDs that are against the rules. But in the sense that he gained some competitive advantage, it's moot because EVERYONE was taking PEDs. I mean, ban a substance you can't even test for? why bother at all? In the end, he still smoked all the other dopers, and by the way, was better at not getting caught.
I'm not sure why the governing bodies are digging this up, it's really not in anyone's interests. What are they trying to prove, there's a decade of cycling that was totally illegitimate with no winners? The only thing I can think of is to make a point that just because everyone is doing it, just because there are presently no effective controls, doesn't mean they won't come after you later.
let em juice!
Too many guys have died an early death to allow that.
People take a calculated risk and suffer the consequences. That is individual freedom. (No politics)
as defense for Neil...I mean Lance.
If you want a visual representation of what doping did to cycling during Armstrong's run, click here:
It's startling. I'm sorry I couldn't find it earlier in the thread, when more people would see it. This shows how corrupt the sport was, though--and I'm saying that as a loyal fan.
And now you can add Frank Schleck to the list, although I'm surprised he wasn't already added as I thought he had tested positive once before, OR that one of his entourage was busted bringing drugs over the border in their car at one point.
I never drank the Lance kool-aid. He cheated on his wife, who deserved much better. He wasn't on the up-and-up with Sheryl Crow, either. Cheat on wife, cheat on girlfriend, cheat on bicycle races. He may be able to run for president someday with that report card, but he's never been a hero to me.
There is ZERO objective evidence that he violated cycling rules. He took and passed every drug/doping test administered.
The USADA is a joke and it's opinions/actions are irrelevant to reality.
Lance is still a 7 time winner of the Tour de France and innocent until proven guilty (which cannot happen unless new objective evidence surfaces against him).
This is beyond ridiculous. Responsible media should ignore this story as a farce.
This reads like a story straight out of the ONION - "Cyclist passes all drug/doping tests over his entire career but is stripped of his titles based on the testimony of cheaters."
It's sad how many people (just reading through this thread, alone) will never be able to enjoy the few times in any of our lives that we witness a "best performance/athlete we will ever see" because they've convinced themselves that being the absolute best just HAS to be the result of cheating. How sad...
It is sad. Unfortunately, that's not the fault of the people who write that doping is widespread. It is the fault of the dopers and the sports that refused to address the issue for years. Cycling's governing body, the UCI, is extremely culpable in the nasty reputation the sport has. Bud Selig turned a blind eye to doping in Baseball for a decade that saw formerly sacrosanct records rendered irrelevant because they were broken by known cheaters.
You want to believe, that's fine; but you are consistently ignoring the widespread evidence and arguments against the person you are defending. You claim not to be a die-hard fan, yet you dismiss the testimony of dozens of eye-witnesses and accept the testimony of one man. You dismiss the scientific evidence. You overlook everything that implicates guilt, including the actions of the man you defend.
Lance's story can still be inspiring, but I don't believe it's necessary to ignore the truth in the telling of it. And the truth is, he cheated to win.
And it's not the fault of the authorities or of the "haters" that it is out there. It is the fault of the athletes who cheated.
if I understand this correctly, a guy trying to skirt the rules by doing some form of doping ran a more successful cover up scheme than most of (all?) the other guys - who were also trying to skirt the rules, but who were not as clever in the cover up. Do I have that right? *yawn*
Maybe it's because I'm half-drunk, sitting on a train for the next few hours headed home, but in The Grand Scheme of Things, I'm having a hard time understanding why blood doping (or steroids, etc.) is a big deal. Consider that even the military gives amphetamines ("go pills") to pilots so that they can fly longer missions while remaining alert; it is not illegal if properly prescribed and administered.
But if "everyone is doing it", the argument for prohibiting it becomes weaker. Even the line of thought that proscribes to an "unfair" distribution of "good pharmacists" versus "bad pharmacists" is moot, because richer athletes, nations, etc., can also afford better training facilities, programs and other forms of support. It's not for nothing that the largest nations on earth, with their huge training programs, win the most medals and championships and countries in sub-Saharan Africa don't (I'm not sure how one dopes up for curling, but maybe one of our Canadian MGoMembers can fill me in).
I believe that so long as the risks of doping and steroid use, etc., are made abundantly clear to participants, if they choose to pursue those means to their desired ends, God bless 'em. If they rip their arms out in a dead lift at the All-Drug Olympics (a la Saturday Night Live), well, they knew the risks before hand, so quit yer bitchin'.