Lance Armstrong Formally Charged with Doping by USADA

SumnerH

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e.g. 2005, striking out the names of those who have been sanctioned for PED use or have tested positive:

1
Lance Armstrong (USA)Discovery Channel86h 15' 02"
2
Ivan Basso (ITA)Team CSC+4' 40"
DSQ
Jan Ullrich (GER)
T-Mobile+6' 21"
4
Francisco Mancebo (ESP)Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne+9' 59"
5
Alexandre Vinokourov (KAZ)T-Mobile+11' 01"
6
Levi Leipheimer (USA)Gerolsteiner+11' 21"
7
Michael Rasmussen (DEN)Rabobank+11' 33"
8
Cadel Evans (AUS)Davitamon-Lotto+11' 55"
9
Floyd Landis (USA)Phonak+12' 44"
10
Oscar Perreiro (Spa)
11
Christophe Moreau (FRA)

(and numbers 12, 13, and 14 were suspended, part of the Landis case, and claimed that they supplied Lance with EPO and vice-versa respectively)


The two cleanest performers in the top 14 are Cadel Evans and Oscar Pereiro.

Oscar Pereiro tested positive for Salbutomol but had the charges dropped on appeal.

Cadel Evans' coach Michele Ferrari was indicted and banned for life for distributing steroids and EPO to other cyclists, though no distribution to Evans was alleged at the time that I'm aware of.
 

Greg29fan

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It will be like Marion Jones, no gold medal.
The TDF does change finishing orders and will declare a new winner should UCI throw out Lance's championships like USADA did. For example when Floyd Landis was DQ'ed, Oscar Pereiro was promoted from 2nd to 1st and when Alberto Contador was DQ'ed in 2010 Andy Schleck became the winner.
 

Average Reds

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e.g. 2005, striking out the names of those who have been sanctioned for PED use or have tested positive:

1
Lance Armstrong (USA)Discovery Channel86h 15' 02"
2
Ivan Basso (ITA)Team CSC+4' 40"
DSQ
Jan Ullrich (GER)
T-Mobile+6' 21"
4
Francisco Mancebo (ESP)Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne+9' 59"
5
Alexandre Vinokourov (KAZ)T-Mobile+11' 01"
6
Levi Leipheimer (USA)Gerolsteiner+11' 21"
7
Michael Rasmussen (DEN)Rabobank+11' 33"
8
Cadel Evans (AUS)Davitamon-Lotto+11' 55"
9
Floyd Landis (USA)Phonak+12' 44"
10
Oscar Perreiro (Spa)
11
Christophe Moreau(FRA)

(and numbers 12, 13, and 14 were suspended, part of the Landis case, and claimed that they supplied Lance with EPO and vice-versa respectively)


The two cleanest performers in the top 14 are Cadel Evans and Oscar Pereiro.

Oscar Pereiro tested positive for Salbutomol but had the charges dropped on appeal.

Cadel Evans' coach Michele Ferrari was indicted and banned for life for distributing steroids and EPO to other cyclists, though no distribution to Evans was alleged at the time that I'm aware of.
If anyone was actually worried about cleaning up the sport of cycling (or any sport, for that matter) then this is exactly how they would list the results.
 

Rovin Romine

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That article is a good example of this whole issue - it's more about who likes or does not like Lance than anything else. All of the pro-Lance stuff out there is absurd:

1) Technicalities. Arguments that "he never failed a test" and "there is no positive test" are absurd and reek of spin. The argument should be "He did not use PEDs, period." Except that argument does not work at all. He clearly used PEDs to excel at an historic rate amongst equally tainted competition.

2) Unfair Process. Perhaps the majority of athletes who go in front of these committees are dopers - the percentage of convictions or acquittals don't matter all that much. The relationship to federal law does not much matter either (to my mind). If you're caught cheating in a regulated sport, you pay the price. It's not like Lance was doing something ambiguous or was fighting a false positive or inadvertently used a banned substance and ran into a draconian regulatory body. All of these would have my sympathy. However, if you and your team are repeatedly and systematically doping to win, it's a different story.

2a) But Everyone Did It and I'm A Nice Guy Who Had Cancer And People Like Me. Tough cookies - this isn't a popularity contest.

3) Holding One's Breath. This is the pouty, "I remain innocent except I have been found guilty because I would have lost if I contested my guilt." I don't even get this one. If you're innocent, go and fight it. If you lose, take your case to the media a la Pete Rose and show how you were blackballed. Or not, because, well, you're not innocent. Most of that article linked to in the above post is just a version of the above arguments. The aversion and misdirection in it are worthy of any serious political campaign.

I thought I'd feel more ambiguous about this. But I'm actually happy. I'd like to see what evidence there was against him - perhaps I'll change my mind then. But for now - this is awesome. If there's any kind of *injustice* here, I have yet to see it.
 

Rovin Romine

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Forgive the naivete, but exactly why is it a given that Armstrong is guilty merely because he's no longer choosing to fight the charges against him? What if his statements are true and he simply lacks the energy to continue? What am I missing here?

I know, I know, it's silly of me to think he's anything but dirty, Still, there seems to be a general conclusion that's being drawn and I'd like to know why that is.
Lance lives to aggressively litigate. (Do a quick web search - there's a wonderful article out there about his charity not actually giving any significant amount of money to cancer research.)

As I understand the process, he was accused and had a certain amount of time to defend himself, with the final result being an arbitration panel who would weigh the evidence against him.

He fought tooth and nail to kill this process by trying to get other agencies/jurisdictions to intervene.

When this failed, and he was faced with the possibility of actually being confronted with the evidence against him, he declined to defend himself. The implication is that he would have been *crushed* in arb and he would have taken a huge popular opinion hit during the coverage of the hearing.

This means he's guilty by default.

It's a very good slight of hand, really. He can be stripped and then claim it was unfair in the media, but that he "moved on" to other things and "never failed a test." It wouldn't surprise me if he tried to get some kind of injunction preventing the actual witnesses from saying anything about him publicly at this point. Dunno if that would stick though.

If nothing else, he remains an excellent strategist.
 

PaulinMyrBch

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Whether you like it or not, like him or not, Lance is not the first person to claim the WADA and the USADA's administrative, arbitration, and appeal processes are unfair. He won't be the last.

Here's my only point. Lance just hasn't just passed tests, he's passed hundreds of tests administered by the USADA under programs they fund and oversee. When you play by the rules outlined, it should be enough, but to keep moving the finish line, changing the rules because you're pissed doesn't fly. This basically seems to me as an organization that is pissed because all the smart guys in the room got outsmarted by smarter guys in Lance's room. Simple as that.

Do I believe he used PED's, absolutely. Do I believe the USADA is interested in going after everyone they feel has used PED's, absolutely not. Someone has a hard on.
 

smastroyin

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That article is a good example of this whole issue - it's more about who likes or does not like Lance than anything else. All of the pro-Lance stuff out there is absurd:
You say this then go on yet another sanctimonious asshat rant about Lance.

Maybe you should understand that you don't like him and are just as guilty as those you cast aspersions upon.
 

twothousandone

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But the USA also has free press that often does its job and due process shows there is no god.

I am glad there are guys in he USA going after their own guys. It shows integrity and is the free press truth side of a democracy. If you look the other way as your heroes cheat you are the USSR or some backwards ass place, or what the rest of the world thinks the USA is. But thank fuck the USA isn't like those other places.
In other words. . .

USA! USA! USA!
 

Rovin Romine

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Here's my only point. Lance just hasn't just passed tests, he's passed hundreds of tests administered by the USADA under programs they fund and oversee. When you play by the rules outlined, it should be enough, but to keep moving the finish line, changing the rules because you're pissed doesn't fly. This basically seems to me as an organization that is pissed because all the smart guys in the room got outsmarted by smarter guys in Lance's room. Simple as that.
Well, I have yet to read anything that explains *why* and exactly *how* the process is unfair. It may well be, but if it is, no one is telling me how it is. The federal court Lance asked to intervene found that the process used by WADA/USADA meets minimal due process requirements.

Also, Velonews is reporting there are now allegations that Lance cheated on the tests and got advance warning. So I'm not sure why "passing" the tests should be the only criterion. As I read the allegations, he orchestrated doping on his team (i.e., as the captain he asked/pressured/facilitated others to cheat, and directly benefited by their cheating.) That's just as bad.

Lastly I agree that they were gunning for him. But again, I don't understand why that's remotely problematic. Lance enjoyed unprecedented success in the TDF which he parleyed into millions of dollars, some of which came from the US Postal service. If he did this by doping/cheating, then yeah, by all means, I'm glad someone decided to hold his feet to the fire. If they were more motivated by Lance thumbing his nose at them or by being overbearing, I really don't have a problem with that.

Honestly, I don't see a process problem, a fundamental fairness problem, or a resources problem. Go USADA.
 

Rovin Romine

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You say this then go on yet another sanctimonious asshat rant about Lance.

Maybe you should understand that you don't like him and are just as guilty as those you cast aspersions upon.
I think the arguments used in the article are asinine; and my comments are hardly a rant. Just being able to formulate a position does not give that position legitimacy. The Jenkins article is a good example of that. If you think I'm wrong, why don't you drop the ad hominem stuff and just respond to what I wrote? I'm guessing it's because you don't have anything useful to say.

Lance *is* guilty. He *is* a doper and a cheater. There are no "aspersions" to be cast; it's done.

I'm sorry if you like the guy and are disappointed by this, I imagine a lot of other people are. That actually says something very good about you, although nothing much about good about Lance.
 

PaulinMyrBch

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Romine,

Let me first say that I don't know you, I haven't read your first 88 posts, so if I missed the part where you spent your peak athletic years training on a bike in the French Alps with your eye set on winning the Tour de France, only to have that dream quashed by Lance Armstrong 7 years in a row, then I'm sorry...that must suck and completely explains the venom with which you post in this topic.

Absent that you need to realize, this is a message thread where most people come to post things that might be relevant to the topic, often times those posts come with opinions. It is not and never has been the desire of mine to convince everyone to see things my way, nor am I inclined to do so much research that I exhaust every argument when it comes to your point, leaving myself in a position to claim victory or admit you're right. On top of that, I'm not really interested in teaching the problems with abuse of power and constitutional due process principles to people that haven't finished 1L. Essentially, I really don't give a crap in the long run, but I will tell you there are several people who post on this board who will gladly take up that fight occasionally, maybe not on this topic, but on other topics they feel more strongly about. So you can continue to post in the manner in which you have, on don't, your choice, but expecting everyone to see things your way, in this environment, is pretty unrealistic.

Edit to fix shitty punctuation
 

Rovin Romine

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Paul,

I think you misunderstand. I am certainly not "venomous." Honestly. I'm not a perfect human being, and I admit to a bit of Schadenfreude now and again. I am a cyclist, and I do believe that PEDs should be banned for a number of reasons, some of which I've articulated in this thread. (For a take by someone who did have their dreams crushed, this NYT op ed by a former professional cyclist is good reading. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/12/opinion/sunday/how-to-get-doping-out-of-sports.html)

First off, it's a bit disingenuous to suggest that only an unbalanced emotional zeal could lead someone to approve of what's happened thus far in the Armstrong case. And I do approve.

Second, I'm not trying to argue you or anyone else into the ground; and I suppose I had not thought of this so much as an "argument" I was having with an individual as an exchange of opinions and ideas. In keeping with that, I am perfectly content to be "proven" wrong simply by someone showing me data I didn't consider or appraising me of an argument I was not clever enough to think up on my own. I am not afraid to change my opinion on the internet. I'm also not afraid to push back a bit within the bounds of non-ranting exchange when I think someone is waffling or doging. Smas's comments above merit a bit of pushing back.

Third, about the internet. . .it's an imperfect medium of communication, but usually I don't write things with the desire to bamboozle someone into agreeing with me because it feeds my ego. So when I write things like, "no one has really explained how the process is unfair" I tend to actually mean that at face value.

Fourth, I did 1L several years, three jurisdictions, and about 50 trials ago - all of those for the defense, so I'm a bit primed on these issues myself. Perhaps that explains my satisfaction when it appears the system actually works to some degree.

Lastly, my spelling is awful, and my punctuation suspect, so never worry on that score.

I'm sorry if my responding to the thread seems confrontational or something. It's just one of the more interesting stories for me, and yeah, I don't have thousands of comments that might let someone get a good "read" on me. I also post very sporadically because occasionally (like today) I am at home with nothing much else to do. I do read SOSH often though - and it has been an education.

Anyway - no offense intended. Respond or not as and when you would; it's all good.
 

Hee-Seop's Fable

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Whether you like it or not, like him or not, Lance is not the first person to claim the WADA and the USADA's administrative, arbitration, and appeal processes are unfair. He won't be the last.

Here's my only point. Lance just hasn't just passed tests, he's passed hundreds of tests administered by the USADA under programs they fund and oversee. When you play by the rules outlined, it should be enough, but to keep moving the finish line, changing the rules because you're pissed doesn't fly. This basically seems to me as an organization that is pissed because all the smart guys in the room got outsmarted by smarter guys in Lance's room. Simple as that.

Do I believe he used PED's, absolutely. Do I believe the USADA is interested in going after everyone they feel has used PED's, absolutely not. Someone has a hard on.
It appears to me this is where this thread diverges, and as a cyclist like Rovin, the final sentence of this post went right over my head the first time I read through this page. I missed it because it is both self evident and a perfectly good justification for the hammer that has come down on Lance. For years he's been righteous about having passed all those tests, and other contenders have had the misfortune of getting caught red handed themselves, making it appear that not only did Lance win, but that he did the best job playing within the rules; better than anyone else. But for anyone that has really followed the sport it's been clear for a decade that Lance was simply more rigorous and more ruthless in staying 'clean' than anyone else. Any of his inner circle that have fallen out of line and spoken against him have had to suffer his wrath. He rules like a mobster. For god's sake Frankie Andreau's wife conceded under oath that Lance said he had doped pre-1998 to closed meetings with his doctors during his cancer treatment, and as a result Frankie lost his job and Lance threatened to ruin them. Same sort of tactics with his masseuse. He's smeared, threatened, and/or intimidated everyone that has contradicted his claims, whether they did it with malice or simply because they put their own interests ahead of his. In the vast majority of cases it appears it was the latter, but Armstrong has lorded over all of them like a tyrant.

The hard on they have to bring him down is borne out of all of his sanctimonious claims he's made for his whole career, and the ruthless way he's enforced order within his circle of confidants, He's earned it. Those that live by the sword die by the sword. The brazen arrogance he showed as a competitor was even worse before his cancer diagnosis. He was not respected in the peleton back then, but he used his fight against cancer to build an impervious shield against that resentment, and he was able to become the unquestioned patron of the peleton. His foundation has indeed done a lot of good work, but it's not hard to say his motivation for his work there has come as much out of PR as it has out of benevolence.

For nearly every cyclist I know Greg Lemond is the preferred hero of American cycling, not Lance. Nearly every one of them respects Armstrong but both adores and respects Lemond. Part of it may be my age. Lemond's vitriol towards Armstrong over the years has been borne out, and his legion of fans have all finally been able to say we told you so on his behalf.
 

PaulinMyrBch

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Let me ask you both this. If he had failed a test and lined up the same number of witnesses to testify on his behalf that could verify that he never ingested, shot up, or transfused anything as they were with him 24/7, do you think those affidavits would mean anything in that process? Obviously no, they would say fuck you to whoever failed, this is the established process and you're guilty.

So when you pass those tests it means nothing if you happen to raise the ire of the person in charge. Defiance in the face of passed tests gets you Phase II strategy apparently, a second bite of the apple, or a third or however many it takes, and the forum that you have at that point to contest that testimony they've cut deals to obtain is flawed in that it does not offer the constitutional rights you would have in a court of law. Couple that with the fact that the federal prosecutors already closed the case and its not as cut and dried as you think.

You can both hate Lance, love Greg LeMond, Landis, etc...doesn't really matter. Take the names, faces, and sport out of this and I think there is a fundamental problem in the process. And Romine, if you're a lawyer, do you have an opinion and experience with administrative law hearings and the bullshit that takes place in those forums? Not talking about the Court of Arbitration, UCI, etc..just admin proceedings in general. Most everyone of those I ever dealt with had made their minds up before the first witness took the stand.
 

SumnerH

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Let me ask you both this. If he had failed a test and lined up the same number of witnesses to testify on his behalf that could verify that he never ingested, shot up, or transfused anything as they were with him 24/7, do you think those affidavits would mean anything in that process?
That's kind of how evidence works in general; you could say the same of any crime. If I don't have videotape of you shooting someone, but 5 witnesses line up and say that you did it there's a pretty high chance of a jury sending you to jail. But if I do have videotape of you shooting someone, 5 witnesses saying you didn't do it are unlikely to sway the jury--you're going to need more expert testimony to undermine the evidence.
 

PaulinMyrBch

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That's kind of how evidence works in general; you could say the same of any crime. If I don't have videotape of you shooting someone, but 5 witnesses line up and say that you did it there's a pretty high chance of a jury sending you to jail. But if I do have videotape of you shooting someone, 5 witnesses saying you didn't do it are unlikely to sway the jury--you're going to need more expert testimony to undermine the evidence.
Not similar, not how evidence kinda works in general.... What is bold is lack of evidence for/against a position needing proof...Lance has 500 plus tests results in favor of his position. Flawed logic. If you had said.."If I have a videotape and its clear from the tape you didn't shoot someone, but then 5 witnesses line up and say that you did, there's a pretty high chance of ....." But then you wouldn't have a point at all.

On a serious note, is anyone aware of any doping violation, suspension, or penalty that was based entirely on witness testimony and not a failed test, an athlete being unavailable for a test, or attempting to tamper with the results of a test?
 

Average Reds

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On a serious note, is anyone aware of any doping violation, suspension, or penalty that was based entirely on witness testimony and not a failed test, an athlete being unavailable for a test, or attempting to tamper with the results of a test?
Not a ton of time to think of this, but here's one off the top of my head.

Michelle Smith - the Irish swimmer who won multiple golds in Atlanta and was the subject of much gossip concerning her performance - was banned after she added alcohol to her urine sample in an effort to mask the presence of androstenedione. (The alcohol in the sample was at a level that was something like 20 times higher than a toxic dose, so the testers assumed that she added it.)

She was banned for two years for this and has never competed again. However, her Olympic results still stand, since the samples taken at the Olympic Games were negative.
 

lostjumper

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Not a ton of time to think of this, but here's one off the top of my head.

Michelle Smith - the Irish swimmer who won multiple golds in Atlanta and was the subject of much gossip concerning her performance - was banned after she added alcohol to her urine sample in an effort to mask the presence of androstenedione. (The alcohol in the sample was at a level that was something like 20 times higher than a toxic dose, so the testers assumed that she added it.)

She was banned for two years for this and has never competed again. However, her Olympic results still stand, since the samples taken at the Olympic Games were negative.
That's a failed test.

I'm with Paul on this. He's the most tested athlete ever I believe, and never failed a test while others in the same profession repeatedly got caught. Was he taking something? It's likely, but he's never been caught. Years later they are still testing his blood samples as they derive new tests, and still nothing. The prosecution's case was solely derived from witness testimony, mainly other cheaters or people who have motive to paint Lance in a bad light. Also, the case was going to be held by USADA panel, and I've heard it referred to as a kangaroo court. The burden of proof seemed to be on Lance to prove he was innocent, I really don't know if he would have gained anything by giving it legitimacy if he actually went before it.

I guess in summary, in my mind this was a witch hunt, and they were eventually going to take him down no matter what.
 

Average Reds

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That's a failed test.
Uh ... yeah. But it's also one of the scenarios he asked about. So I'm not sure what your point is.

I'm with Paul on this. He's the most tested athlete ever I believe, and never failed a test while others in the same profession repeatedly got caught. Was he taking something? It's likely, but he's never been caught. Years later they are still testing his blood samples as they derive new tests, and still nothing. The prosecution's case was solely derived from witness testimony, mainly other cheaters or people who have motive to paint Lance in a bad light. Also, the case was going to be held by USADA panel, and I've heard it referred to as a kangaroo court. The burden of proof seemed to be on Lance to prove he was innocent, I really don't know if he would have gained anything by giving it legitimacy if he actually went before it.

I guess in summary, in my mind this was a witch hunt, and they were eventually going to take him down no matter what.
Again, I'm not sure what your point is, since this has nothing to do with my post.

I've already indicated several times in this thread that while I am not a supporter of Lance Armstrong, I do find the never-ending quest to bring him down by any means necessary to be as bad or worse than the alleged offense. So you really are tilting at windmills.
 

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Johan Museeuw also never failed a test, but he did confess to doping, largely because the Belgian DoJ had enough evidence on him to convict him eventually. He is not a household name in the US, but he was a dominant cyclist in his time. I remember being really shocked about his cheating when it came out. I am a lot more cynical now. Regrettably, most if not all cheaters passed a lot of these tests (if not all).
 

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Here is the info on Museeuw from that link.

Johan Museeuw of Belgium was implicated in a doping affair accusing him of both trafficking and taking banned performance-enhancing drugs. The ring included six riders (Mario De Clercq, Jo Planckaert and Chris Peers) plus four others including the chief defendant, Belgian veterinarian Jose Landuyt. Museeuw used human growth hormone which he obtained from Landuyt. The police recorded phone calls where Museeuw spoke of wasps (the Dutch word wesp rhymes with aranesp), a codeword for Aranesp, a synthetic drug which increases red blood cell levels. On 24 January 2007, Museeuw confessed to these charges.[sup][237][/sup] The court proceedings were adjourned until 23 September 2008, pending a ruling from the Constitutional Court on the point of law.[sup][238][/sup]
 

SumnerH

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Not similar, not how evidence kinda works in general.... What is bold is lack of evidence for/against a position needing proof...Lance has 500 plus tests results in favor of his position. Flawed logic. If you had said.."If I have a videotape and its clear from the tape you didn't shoot someone, but then 5 witnesses line up and say that you did, there's a pretty high chance of ....." But then you wouldn't have a point at all.
Your attempted analogy isn't analogous at all--a passed test is very little evidence that you didn't dope. You might say it's like showing a 5 minute video tape of you not shooting someone, and claiming that's proof that you never shot them (when you could've immediately walked of camera and done the deed, or passed your doping test and then injected yourself). Even that's a stretch, though; with the prevalence of masking agents, negative tests are far less dispositive than that brief tape would be of anything. That's why plenty of high profile cases rely on evidence other than testing (Marion Jones and many of the other BALCO cases come to mind) or require ever-expanding batteries of tests for masking agents or non-PED parts of the cycle (a la Manny Ramirez).

The reason a positive test is treated with a high degree of confidence relative to a negative test (and hence impugns witness testimony to a much greater degree) is because false positives are highly unusual and are backed up by a second sample, and the athlete has incentives to avoid them. False negatives are more common, require only one faulty test, and are the goal of the dirty athlete.
 

Rovin Romine

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Hey Paul,

Glad you didn't stay away. I think you've got a good point - the lack of positive tests is troubling. Of course, this supposes the test:

a) can detect evidence of a PED correctly (i.e., it is robust, without false positives, and not able to be deceived by masking)
b) is administered in such as way as to preclude cheating.

I don't think you've got either here. EPO is hard to detect, and from what I understand the older generation of tests were quite poor at it. Armstrong's been accused of having advanced warning of tests, using saline drips, someone else's urine, keeping testers waiting on several occasions, etc.

Of course, even if there was hard evidence of him cheating the tests, it wouldn't prove that he *did* use PEDs, but the reality of the situation seems to be that it's quite possible he was able to cheat the tests. (And why assume there were 500 of them? http://www.cyclismas.com/2012/07/the-legend-of-the-500/.)

I think the evidence against him is mostly circumstantial. We'll know more in a few weeks. What's telling about that circumstantial evidence though is that it appears to be quite comprehensive. You've got multiple guys (who tested dirty) confessing to doing PEDs with Lance, or at his direction. That's the part that's hard to dismiss.

I think it's remotely possible that Lance was railroaded by pressure applied to 10 guys. I can tell you if there were glaring incongruities in their testimony then I'd love to defend the case. But it starts getting a bit uphill if all 10 of those guys are able to tell the exact same detailed story which -and this is the kicker- presumably explains how Lance (and they) cheated the tests. I think that's why he conceded his guilt.

Oh yes. This too. I do love the guy, even though Lemond has his own personality issues. However, I think he really got entrenched in this when Armstrong started fighting dirty with him.
 

Rovin Romine

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And Romine, if you're a lawyer, do you have an opinion and experience with administrative law hearings and the bullshit that takes place in those forums? Not talking about the Court of Arbitration, UCI, etc..just admin proceedings in general. Most everyone of those I ever dealt with had made their minds up before the first witness took the stand.
I am a lawyer. I haven't done any admin law hearings; but I have done more than a few juvenile bench trials (no right to a jury as you're being "adjudicated delinquent" not "found guilty") and on constitutional motions/custody issues, I've had judges tell me (with varying degrees of directness), "I know I'm going to be overturned, but I'm not going to be the one that puts this guy on the street."

So, I don't doubt your word, and I'm personally and politically loathe to give up a jury in any proceeding.

Applying that to this situation though - let's suppose the fix is in.

Lance has millions and a loyal base of believers. He could have taken his knocks at arb and then appealed his way up the chain, publishing articles left and right that show how he's being railroaded by suspect testimony; perhaps he could even change the system he claims is corrupt. (And it may actually be to some extent.)

If there ever was an athlete who could change the system in this way, it's Lance. So, bowing out of the fight before it begins looks exceptionally bad in this particular circumstance. We're not talking about a fragile personality, or someone who is drastically under funded, or someone who has a moral or philosophical aversion to litigation, or someone who is facing a truly mild/meaningless sanction and thus adopts an above-the-fray attitude.

If there was no right to cross examine or introduce evidence on your own behalf or something as procedurally heinous, I'd completely revisit my opinion on the whole issue of Lance's conceding. (Is there? I am honestly asking.)

Perhaps he's going to fight on with a procedural end run around the USADA - well see; that also would change my mind as to the implications of conceding. As of now though, even if the process is moderately unfair, it's hard to read the concession as anything other than damage-control in the face of something very nasty, which may or may not come out soon. We'll see.

Edited for truly crappy punct.
 

BelgianSoxFan

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Here is the info on Museeuw from that link.
I know the story, the guy was a local hero. I was just mentioning that he did not fail any tests, but was clearly cheating. The tests just never caught them, if they had not been investigating his vet for illegal hormone transactions (for growing animals) noone would have found out.
 

Hee-Seop's Fable

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I have no quarrel with either Paul's post #115 or Romine's last one. I dislike Lance, think he's a righteous prick, but throwing away a right to a fair trial isn't anything I could ever justify, no matter how much I think he deserves what he's getting. The witch hunt has been a poor use of public money, and I'll admit that's a weak argument ultimately. I would rather see a fair application of both the rules of the sport and of reasonable laws. The point has been made in cycling journals repeatedly that if the Cyclist's Union had anywhere near the power of the Baseball Players' Union none of the testing procedures would look anything like they do. Even if they had the NFL's players' power it would be rmuch different.

There is an occasion where Lance was visited by a random visit from the vampires during an off season during his run of Tour wins, and he suspiciously had them held at bay while he claimed to shower and get himself together for a considerable amount of time, enough time to inject himself to adjust his blood levels to where they needed to be, and I believe he also did his business to produce his urine sample without the mandated supervision from the representatives. There's also rumors he was often warned when his tests were coming. More circumstantial evidence he had plenty of opportunity to manipulate his results. As tough and frequent as the testing was and still is, it's still not anywhere near fool proof. It sounds like the conclusion is the testing could remain extremely tough, but the arbitration process could stand to be much more fair.

The sport has cleaned up dramatically in the last few years since the cyclist's biological passport came into effect, which is a good thing, so at least the sport is doing better. I don't think a list of recent Tour top tens would look like the chart above. At the very least the degree of doping is lower. Their climbing stats, the speed of the races, and the audaciousness of the attacks and counter attacks all bear this out. I'd rather have a more boring sport where the riders aren't dying under strange circumstances. I wonder how Lance would fare now were he 20 years younger. I'm fairly sure he'd still be exceptionally good.

And it will be interesting to see what he and the UCI do with the USADA's pressure.
 

PaulinMyrBch

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I've done more research than I'd like to admit, but from a procedural standpoint, I find this disturbing (not sure if I'm 100% correct here):

There is no right to a hearing in the true sense of a fact finding hearing with impartial judges. What Lance gave up was his right to go to Arbitration over conclusions the USADA had already deemed sufficient for sanctions. Basically, the USADA does its investigation, gathers facts through any means they desire, which in this case seems to be witnesses they cut deals with and sequential analysis of past blood tests, and they "charge" Lance with violations. The charging document is sent to Lance with their conclusions and two options: Contest the matter at Arbitration, or accept the sanctions outlined (lifetime ban and forfeit all results).

So they reach conclusions without interviewing Lance and without allowing his attorney's to question or cross examine witnesses. The Arbitration would have allowed some of that, but from what little research I've done, the right to cross examine witnesses at the arbitration hearing isn't cut and dried. If the testimony was submitted from a prior hearing or court proceeding where the witness had been subject to cross examination, it is likely Armstrong's attorneys would not be allowed to cross. If the statement was fresh to the hearing, its likely it would have been. But from what I can tell, there were no real rules on that and it would have been up to the Arbitrator, based on his view of the credibility of the witnesses, to decide which statements you could challenge and which you could not.

It is clear that Armstrong could have presented evidence that rebuts the assumption being offered by the USADA....so if they put up a rider that said on Aug, 1 Lance injected, he could introduce tests results from Aug 2nd that were clean. If they put in evidence a sequence of tests that while not a positive for a banned substance, but showed what they felt was a pattern only attributed to an outside toxin, then Lance could introduce evidence that would explain that point....That song and dance would continue on nearly every piece of evidence.

Here is the burden of proof from the 2009 USADA protocol...I believe it is vaguely between preponderance of the evidence and beyond a reasonable doubt. So at the hearing they have the burden of supporting a decision they have already made.

The standard of proof shall be whether the Anti-Doping Organization has established an anti-doping rule violation to the comfortable satisfaction of the hearing panel bearing in mind the seriousness of the allegation which is made.
Sounds like one of two things to me, either they have a ton of credible evidence or he knew he had no chance even against scant evidence. I think based on what I've read in the last few days, we haven't heard the last of this from Lance, legally. Whether he knows the ICU isn't going to strip him, or whether there is another legal fold in this I'm unaware of, but I can't believe this is the end of it.
 
M

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Lance *is* guilty. He *is* a doper and a cheater. There are no "aspersions" to be cast; it's done.
I think the evidence against him is mostly circumstantial. We'll know more in a few weeks. What's telling about that circumstantial evidence though is that it appears to be quite comprehensive. You've got multiple guys (who tested dirty) confessing to doing PEDs with Lance, or at his direction. That's the part that's hard to dismiss.

I think it's remotely possible that Lance was railroaded by pressure applied to 10 guys. I can tell you if there were glaring incongruities in their testimony then I'd love to defend the case. But it starts getting a bit uphill if all 10 of those guys are able to tell the exact same detailed story which -and this is the kicker- presumably explains how Lance (and they) cheated the tests. I think that's why he conceded his guilt.
FYI, it's the certainty of your tone that puts people off. As Paul tried to say in post 112, this is not a communications medium in which one side wins or loses (much less convinces the other) in 99% of cases. It's more analogous to a bar, BS'ing with other patrons, than to a courtroom or a debate. Every time I get too big for my britches around here, I either remind myself of this fact, or someone else does it for me, usually in colorful language.

As to my own opinions, the USADA's dogged pursuit of Lance for years and the fact that their policies don't afford him the same rights he would have in a court of law, make the entire investigation stink to me. I view this like the OJ Simpson trial: the guy was probably guilty in an objective sense, but the perversions of justice taken to try and railroad him were so odious that he needed to be found not guilty for the sake of the system. At this point, whether or not Armstrong actually was doping, I'm taking a position of "fuck those guys, and good on Lance for telling them to cram it in their cornholes".
 

smastroyin

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My whole problem is that these things turn into something very akin to poltiical discourse where people who are really invested in one side or the other thing that the only objective view of things is to see it their way and that any other view is some form of insane zealotry.

I don't pretend to be objective, for what it's worth. I'm not a fan of the process. I think the leaps taken in the name of purifying sport and catching cheaters are much worse than the actual cheating. The idea that a cheating scandal crime could be so important that they will accept less specific evidence is stupid. It's like saying we need concrete proof of you jaywalking, but if you are accused of murder we'll take anyone who knows you's word for it. I mean don't get me started.

Basically, I think it is slightly hypocritical to say that the only way you can ignore the "evidence" is to like Lance Armstrong but have this point of view when you are coming from a point of view of hating Lance Armstrong (and what he allegedly did) so much that you think any means necessary are acceptable because the guy was a cheater and needs to be caught.
 

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Holly walls of text batman. I am afraid I am going to add some more.

I was never a fan of Lance Armstrong or more precisely, not a fan of his deification. It seemed pretty evident to me that he was probably cheating from the start. It was more evident that he behaved like a sanctimonious asshole who had a braggadocious attitude about his cheating.

Having said that, I am ambivalent about doping in sports. If you re a competitor, many times you face a sort of prisoner's dilemma. With most anti-doping methods not being credible ie strong enough to catch most cheaters, you have to operate under the assumption that most of your competitors are cheating. So then you have a strong incentive to dope just to keep up. But by then no one know how much each one dopes and you never know who is better and who isn't.

Anywho, I think that Armstrong got his just deserts both because he cheated and because of the way he conducted himself. Kudos to the USADA for doing the unpopular thing.
 

Nick Kaufman

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I liked this article too. I don't know how accurate it is, but it makes a pretty solid article against him. Oh and it pokes holes to the theory that he passed all the test. He didn't. And there's the lovely nugget that he paid $125,000 to the cycling federation which is unheard of. Which also puts into context the position UCI has adopted in these circumstances.

http://cavalierfc.tu...-about-the-bike
Armstrong’s career continued along these lines, with sporadic wins, until he met (and began working with) Italian doctor, Michele Ferrari in 1996. Michele Ferrari is a doctor who has been implicated in evidence from a number of athletes, and banned for life by the Italian Olympic Committee. No Italian athlete is permitted to work with him, and breaches are punishable with bans. More on him a little later.
Armstrong famously got very ill in 1996, contracting cancer. The signs of this showed up very early in the year, but weren’t recognised. This is important: Armstrong, despite having cancer, put in some of his best ever performances.

...


But there’s a subscript to his cancer that hasn’t really been explored: Armstrong by his own claim is the most tested athlete on the planet, and given he enjoyed considerable success in 1996 and beforehand, would certainly have been subject to numerous doping controls. Some cancers - including the type Lance Armstrong had - cause enormously elevated levels of human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (hCG), a naturally occuring hormone in the body, but at low levels in males. Now, there are rules for the amount of hCG permitted in an athlete, because it offers a competitive advantage - not enough to overcome the deficiencies cancers cause, but a good advantage in a healthy human being, because it produces testosterone. An athlete is often considered to have failed a drug test if the urinary T/E (Testosterone:Epitestosterone) ratio is greater than 6. So the UCI would have been testing for it, and Armstrong’s cancer would have resulted in an enormously elevated T/E ratio.

But Armstrong never produced a positive sample. Compare that with Jake Gibb whose life, it could be argued, was saved by USADA’s testing, when it detected those hugely elevated levels in an anti-doping test, and advised him to see a doctor. That ultimately led to the discovery of testicular cancer, and Gibb recovered. Lance Armstrong wasn’t so lucky - so we can assume one of two things. Either the UCI’s anti-doping measures were woefully below standard, and didn’t detect Armstrong’s elevated levels of hCG, allowing his cancer to worsen while competing, or the UCI’s anti-doping discovered Armstrong’s elevated levels and didn’t report them. Either way, it’s a massive condemnation in the UCI’s ability to validate itself as a serious entity in drug testing. At best it’s woefully ineffective, at worst it’s simply corrupt.



In 1997, Armstrong’s agent, Bill Stapleton, became an official of the US Olympic Committee. Sports Illustrated would report years down the track that Armstrong, in three tests the 90s, produced samples that indicated doping with testosterone. The anti-doping scientist who allegedly tested these samples was Don Catlin. He was unable to confirm two of the tests - a highly irregular occurrence - and refused to comment on the third. Don Catlin would later be called to oversee Armstrong’s “transparent” testing during his comeback - a process which covered only a single test before it was aborted. Having an atmosphere where two men so closely tied in business relationships with Armstrong wouldn’t be conducive to finding a positive test against him.

With Armstrong’s return to the bike in 1998 came the return to working with Michele Ferrari. Armstrong would later state to Floyd Landis, a team-mate on the USPS team, that Michele Ferrari was paranoid that he’d helped cause the cancer through his providing the drugs Armstrong was using in 1996. Ferrari, the team doctor on Gewiss-Ballan, had been famous for his statement that ‘EPO was no more dangerous than drinking orange juice’, when suspicions began to arise about drug use due to Gewiss’ sudden exceptional performances. Ferrari immediately got Armstrong back into an intensive program of drug use. The net result was Armstrong, cancer-free and drug-boosted, beginning to suddenly make the cycling world sit up and take notice with increased endurance, producing performances in stage races. Make no bones about it: Cancer does not cause this. It doesn’t transform an athlete into a super-athlete. This has never happened before, or since. That’s because it doesn’t happen. Armstrong’s 4th placed finish at the Tour of Spain confirmed the work Ferrari had been doing. The next thing to do was to take it to the next level.

1998’s Festina scandal did produce a diamond from the rough: Riders implicated in Festina’s team-wide doping scandal all said that Christophe Bassons had been the only rider on his team to refuse to take drugs. Bassons, cleared of any wrongdoing, was invited to write newspaper articles the following year when he was to ride, for a new team (FDJ), in the Tour de France. Bassons wrote largely innocuous columns, but one in particular came to the attention of Armstrong. Bassons had written that Armstrong’s return, suddenly to the head of the pack, had ‘shocked’ the peloton.
Armstrong’s response was to question the rider during a subsequent stage, inform Bassons that “it was a mistake to speak out” about doping, asking why he’d done it. Bassons responded by telling Armstrong that he was ‘thinking of the next generation of riders’. Armstrong’s response to Bassons was to tell him “Why don’t you leave then?”. Armstrong confirmed this version of events, and stated to the press that evening “His accusations aren’t good for cycling, for his team, for me, for anybody. If he thinks cycling works like that, he’s wrong and he would be better off going home.”

...

In 1999, Lance Armstrong tested positive for a prohibited substance in a urine test: corticosteroids. Armstrong produced a prescription for a cream, claiming it was being used to treat saddle sores, a common ailment amongst cyclists. The problem with this was that riders are required to produce these prescriptions prior to use, and prior to testing. Armstrong had not done so, and consequently had indeed tested positive. Not only that, but Armstrong, as corroborated by a staff member at the time, obtained and then back-dated that prescription after the positive test had taken place.

That staff member was Emma O’Reilly, a soigneur (basically a jack-of-all-trades within a team, but commonly a masseuse). She also stated that Armstrong had made her dispose of syringes, traffic drugs for him and use make-up to cover up needle marks on his arms. Armstrong, in an attempt to discredit O’Reilly, would stoop as low as he could go: He alleged she was having multiple sexual relationships with riders on the team, called her a liar, and her employment was disposed of, for telling the truth.

Armstrong, fresh with a warning from Michele Ferrari not to use EPO, as a test had been formulated and ratified, tested positive for exactly that in Switzerland in 2001. This has been corroborated by multiple people, including ex-Armstrong team-mates, and the lab director (Martial Saugy) who, although initially stating through the media that this hadn’t occurred, later corrected his stance, and told the only anti-doping agency to ask him, that it was a positive. Saugy has also stated that he was told by a prominent person at the UCI that it wasn’t going any further. The directive to make it disappear was delivered by none other than the head of the UCI at the time, Hein Verbrugghen.

This is worth emphasising: A number of people testified that Lance Armstrong testified positive for EPO, and that Armstrong’s influence with the governing body of the sport made that positive test simply disappear. That’s another nail in the coffin of Lance’s “never tested positive” diatribe. Two positive tests, two years apart. But that wasn’t to be the end.

What came out of that was the most damning evidence of corruption possible. Armstrong made two payments to the UCI, totalling $125,000. The UCI has said these were to purchase anti-doping equipment. They have never produced the receipts to corroborate this. Regardless of where that money went, it is unprecedented that an active athlete would voluntarily pay a sum of money to a governing body. If it’s happened before, or since, I’d be amazed.

Fast-forward to 2003, and an Italian cyclist named Fillipo Simeoni becomes enemy number one for Lance Armstrong. Simeoni had admitted in evidence that he’d (Simeoni) begun doping in 1993 and Armstrong’s doctor, Michele Ferrari, had prescribed and showed him how to use products like EPO and HGH in 1996 and 1997. Simeoni subsequently served a suspension in 2001/2002. Armstrong’s response in 2003 was to call Simeoni a liar in a newspaper interview - as though Simeoni would, for no reason, gain himself a suspension and make it up. Simeoni’s response was to then sue Armstrong for defamation, announcing any winnings would be donated to charity. Things reached a head in the 2004 Tour de France.

On the 18th stage, Simeoni put in an attack, and joined a breakaway of 6 other riders. That breakaway posed no threat to the leaders of the tour, and normally would have been let go, to be chased down later in the stage, or to win it. But Armstrong had other ideas. Vengeance was the plan, and it was exacted. Armstrong himself attacked, and immediately closed the gap to the breakaway. The riders, in the knowledge the peloton would not let Armstrong get away, knew they would be caught. The other six in the break implored Armstrong to return to the group, but Armstrong would not leave unless Simeoni did also. Simeoni sacrificed his own race, rejoined the group and Armstrong did the same. When Simeoni dropped back, he was abused, and Armstrong made a famous gesture of zipping his lips. The implication was clear: shut your mouth, or you will never get any success. Armstrong subsequently was indicted by Italian authorities and was lucky to escape charges of witness intimidation. Simeoni, due to Lance’s actions, was ostracised, spat at, abused, and finished his career as a journeyman of sorts, mostly untouched by cycling teams at the highest level. He was persona non grata, for speaking out against the man who’d helped him dope, and who just happened to be Armstrong’s doctor.

The most explosive issue though, was the discovery of Armstrong’s 1999 Tour de France samples. A test for EPO wasn’t available back in 1999, and so samples couldn’t be tested for it at the time. As was practice though, samples were stored in the event they could be retested later. After an EPO test became available, Armstrong’s samples were amongst a batch to be retested. Six of Armstrong’s samples tested positive for EPO, a result one of the world’s leading anti-doping scientists verified as being almost impossible to have occurred any other way than through drug usage. Chalk that up as another nail in the “never tested positive” coffin. Unfortunately, Armstrong wasn’t prosecuted (again!) on these EPO positives - the retests were for research purposes, not anti-doping ones, and so the UCI declined to pursue the matter further.
 

PaulinMyrBch

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The evidence is making its way into the public view today. It will be interesting to see if any exists up and above testimony obtained from cutting deals with witnesses.
 

twothousandone

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The evidence is making its way into the public view today. It will be interesting to see if any exists up and above testimony obtained from cutting deals with witnesses.
So, in June Hincapie admitted he’d been doping for years, but he was allowed to race in his “final” Tour de France in July. How is that possible, and does that mean he was doping in July, because they clearly don’t care?

He’s a cheater, a liar, and a snitch (and perhaps all for very good reasons).

Of course, that is what Armstrong will say, as well, and he’ll be right. Of course, Armstrong is a cheater and a liar – he’s just not a snitch.

They got their man, but IMO USADA lost all credibility in the process. AND they gave Armstrong the argument he needs and can take to the grave.

I have no doubt Zibriskie and Leipheimer will says similar things. And if there is no real evidence, Armstrong will go on saying USADA backed these guys into a corner, to get them to lie.
 
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The articles I read said that they had 11 corroborating witnesses on the matter of Armstrong doping.

Sure, they may all be "snitches", but I think the "coerced lies!" finger-pointing rings a little hollow at that point. It wouldn't be the first time that 11 guys got their story straight to hang someone they didn't like, but I'd be surprised if it was a group of Armstrong's lifelong teammates.
 

Rovin Romine

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I skimmed the report. It's a pretty damning web of testimony, some physical evidence, and financial trails. Looks like there'd be a lot of problems introducing the physical evidence in a proceeding, but what is there matches up very well with the testimony. (My fav. little bit of code is Ferrari's son advising Lance to "lower his seat" by 2mm.) It looks like one could defend Lance on some key points and many of the minor ones, but after awhile there are just too many things to explain away.

The UCI comes out looking very bad. I wonder if they'll turn on Lance or circle the wagons.
 

Rocco Graziosa

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It looks like Lance Armstrong doped.

But one must ask, at what price do you want to pay to learn this fact?? If getting a sport "clean" by exposing that EVERYONE is cheating, aren't you in essence destroying that sport?? Did anyone assotiated with cycling, at anytime, consider the ramifications of this type of testing??

I find it interesting that Tuesday the NFL announced one of its players was being suspended for PED use and no one cared or even reported on it. Don't think for one second that isn't a result of having a plan of exactly how to deal with this problem in way thats the least damaging to its product.
 

kenneycb

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Track & Field hasn't seen a ton of ramifications from its testing. From a popularity/destroying the sport perspective, that is.
 

Rovin Romine

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It looks like Lance Armstrong doped.

But one must ask, at what price do you want to pay to learn this fact?? If getting a sport "clean" by exposing that EVERYONE is cheating, aren't you in essence destroying that sport?? Did anyone assotiated with cycling, at anytime, consider the ramifications of this type of testing??

I find it interesting that Tuesday the NFL announced one of its players was being suspended for PED use and no one cared or even reported on it. Don't think for one second that isn't a result of having a plan of exactly how to deal with this problem in way thats the least damaging to its product.
I'm not sure how much of a "hit" men's professional cycling took. It will be very interesting to see how the cycling world in general handles this. As you say the NFL has a good policy, and baseball sanctions don't seem all that odd or shocking as they did a few years ago. Time will tell.

The sad thing about this is that if you believe the report, which seems credible, Lance first started doping because other people were (he suspected) doping, and he wanted to close the gap.
 

teddykgb

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I'm not sure how much of a "hit" men's professional cycling took. It will be very interesting to see how the cycling world in general handles this. As you say the NFL has a good policy, and baseball sanctions don't seem all that odd or shocking as they did a few years ago. Time will tell.

The sad thing about this is that if you believe the report, which seems credible, Lance first started doping because other people were (he suspected) doping, and he wanted to close the gap.
Poor Lance. Such a victim in all this. If he suspected other people were doping, he could have, you know, gathered the evidence or made accusations or done any number of other things than doping himself. The guy made a fortune and has destroyed others all over this issue, I have a hard time thinking of a bigger hypocrite in the history of sports.
 

Rovin Romine

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Poor Lance. Such a victim in all this. If he suspected other people were doping, he could have, you know, gathered the evidence or made accusations or done any number of other things than doping himself. The guy made a fortune and has destroyed others all over this issue, I have a hard time thinking of a bigger hypocrite in the history of sports.
Well, I don't disagree with you. It's kind of a viscous circle though - 1) competitive young rider wants to break in, 2) he can't and suspects other riders (vets) are doping, 3) he dopes to close the gap, 4) he becomes the other rider who blocks a competitive young rider. . .
 

SumnerH

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It looks like Lance Armstrong doped.

But one must ask, at what price do you want to pay to learn this fact?? If getting a sport "clean" by exposing that EVERYONE is cheating, aren't you in essence destroying that sport?? Did anyone assotiated with cycling, at anytime, consider the ramifications of this type of testing??

I find it interesting that Tuesday the NFL announced one of its players was being suspended for PED use and no one cared or even reported on it. Don't think for one second that isn't a result of having a plan of exactly how to deal with this problem in way thats the least damaging to its product.
Cycling is way past where the NFL and MLB are; their biggest doping scandals were in the 1960s (when riders died at both the Olympics and the Tour de France because of doping). They pretty much _have_ already exposed that everyone is cheating--there are only 2 Tour winners from 1975-2006* who weren't implicated in some way, and most years at least 6-8 of the top 10 finishers are implicated (that's not counting those who may get away with it).

It might have played a part in where cycling is now, but I doubt it'll damage things going forward--cycling fans came to terms with rampant doping long ago.


*I cut it off there because it's often a few years before evidence comes to light, so it's tough to tell who's going to wind up looking clean vs. dirty from the more recent victors
 

Rocco Graziosa

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It might have played a part in where cycling is now, but I doubt it'll damage things going forward--cycling fans came to terms with rampant doping long ago.
Then why test??

The whole operation involved in cycling, from the participants who dope no matter how likely they are to be found guilty, to the army of people who seem hellbent on discrediting anyone who succeeds, just seems silly and foolish. At least from this outsider.
 

Average Reds

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Then why test??

The whole operation involved in cycling, from the participants who dope no matter how likely they are to be found guilty, to the army of people who seem hellbent on discrediting anyone who succeeds, just seems silly and foolish. At least from this outsider.
This gets to the heart of what I feel about the maniacal pursuit of Armstrong.

The problem with cycling isn't the individual who cheats, it's that cheating is so widespread that the entire sport is guilty. And so going after only those who win is the very definition of a pyrrhic victory.

I don't think there can be any doubt that Armstrong cheated. The fact that the only way they could "prove" this was to round up scores of his fellow cheaters to testify to his cheating shouldn't really satisfy anyone.
 

Rovin Romine

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The problem with cycling isn't the individual who cheats, it's that cheating is so widespread that the entire sport is guilty. And so going after only those who win is the very definition of a pyrrhic victory.
But isn't it fundamentally unfair to ding guys like Landis, Hamilton, etc. but give a free pass to the most famous and (in a sense) "winningest" rider of the past decade?

That's like giving the Yankees a pass because "it's bad for baseball" and enforcing PED sanctions against clubs like San Diego.
 

PaulinMyrBch

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My opinion has now shifted from some doped to everyone doped. I don't know if I just never thought it through before, but after the evidence regarding Lance, I no longer feel bad for the individual, but instead feel for the sport.

I don't blame guys in big sports with money at stake to do what you feel pressured to do in order to be competitive. It's not a matter of level of success, its a matter of survival. If you don't do what everyone else is doing, you aren't even in the sport. So in a sense I now look at cycling as a whole and think is this the best you could do over the course of the last 20 years?? Was it that hard to come up with unbeatable tests and penalty standards that would put everyone on a clean and level playing field?

I think I've watched my last Tour de France for a while...