Lance Armstrong Quits

Armstrong Yellow Jersey

Lance Armstrong has said he will not contest the charges brought by US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and has issued a statement citing procedural matters and fatigue as the reason why he’s not going to challenge the agency.

Later today USADA is expected to announce a formal lifetime ban from all Olympic sports and to invalidate all his results obtained since 1998.

Here’s a look at the issues of the day, from Armstrong’s bold statement, to what will happen to the results and prizes, what happens next, whether for the others in the case like Radioshack-Nissan manager Johan Bruyneel or the options for the UCI.

Armstrong’s Statement
It’s hard not to see Armstrong’s statement as an audacious work of cynicism, using tough talk to mask a weak position. He can’t seem to say aloud that he rode clean, instead just that he “played by the rules” which is not the same when examined with legal eyes.

But there’s no legalese for the main part of the statement which is an attack on USADA. He claims the USADA has “no authority” and jurisdiction over the case. Yet only last Monday no less than a US Federal Judge ruled that USADA has jurisdiction. If Armstrong’s lawyers said the same thing they could be found in contempt of court.

He says “USADA has lodged charges over 17 years old” which is correct but doesn’t mention that the charges also relate to matters from just three years ago, a sneaky attempt to paint this as something from way back when in fact it is still highly relevant and more so since the case involves five others who are still working in and around the sport today. For me the worst part is the claim that “USADA has played the role of a bully, threatening everyone in its way and challenging the good faith of anyone who questions its motives or its methods” because this has seemingly been an infamous method of Armstrong for years. Riders were chased down, journalists were blacklisted and publishers threatened.

Can he be stripped of his titles?
Yes. USADA is an agency working under the World Anti-Doping Agency rules. If an athlete waives their right to a hearing then here is 8.3 of the WADA Code:

Waiver of Hearing
The right to a hearing may be waived either expressly or by the Athlete’s or other Person’s failure to challenge an Anti-Doping Organization’s assertion that an anti-doping rule violation has occurred within the specific time period provided in the Anti-Doping Organization’s rules. Where no hearing occurs, the Anti-Doping Organization with results management responsibility shall submit to the Persons described in Article 13.2.3 a reasoned decision explaining the action taken.

In short waiving the hearing means USADA can reach a “reasoned decision” based on the evidence at its disposal. If USADA rules there is a doping offence, imposes a lifetime ban and says he should be stripped of his wins then this applies worldwide. It is then for the UCI, as cycling’s governing body, to await the decision and issue the formal notice stripping Armstrong of his wins which it must do to comply with the WADA Code. All prize monies must be repaid too.

How come he gets a lifetime ban if its his first ban?
Normally bans are two years but the WADA Code is clear, it distinguishes between an athlete being caught using banned substances and methods and those trafficking or administering them:

10.3.2 For violations of Articles 2.7 (Trafficking or Attempted Trafficking) or 2.8 (Administration or Attempted Administration of Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method), the period of Ineligibility imposed shall be a minimum of four (4) years up to lifetime

So who won the Tour de France?
Stripping the title is one thing but the rules also say the result must be given to the second placed rider. It’s not uncommon, this year we saw Tyler Hamilton handing back his gold medal from the 2004 Athens Olympics, the 2010 Tour went to Andy Schleck and Michele Scarponi was declared the winner of the 2011  Giro. Results are re-written all the time.

But play the café contest of reviewing past results and only two riders from the top five in the Tour de France from 1999-2005 were never linked to doping, the late André Kiviliev and Haimar Zubeldia and this still doesn’t mean much so it feels unsatisfying to see those linked to doping scandals being awarded the win.

If you think it is a joke to award the result to Jan Ullrich, Fernando Escartin or Joseba Beloki then the same logic dictates it is a farce for Armstrong to keep the win because he was doing the same. At the same time we can take some tiny satisfaction the rules are being applied to the letter, a refreshing change. But away from the rules the moral lesson is that there are no winners and those who could be declared a winner never stood on the podium, never wore yellow in Paris or made millions from the glory. They remain losers, it’s a farce, so don’t dwell on it.

Is this the end?
No. Remember this is not just about Lance Armstrong. The likes of Johan Bruyneel and others in this case have opted for arbitration hearings so we’ll get more in October or November.

In addition there’s a chance Armstrong’s move is a kind of tactical retreat so that the UCI picks up the baton; he can claim a witch hunt and say he’s too tired to fight knowing the UCI is still agitating here. The UCI’s Honorary President Hein Verbruggen and and President Pat McQuaid have been keen to grab control of the case. They could take the USADA verdict to appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport but this is would be present a significant risk. First there’s the cash cost of another appeal but above all, the CAS would find USADA only too willing to present its case, the very thing that seems to scare UCI’s most senior officials.

If the CAS is called upon we can expect a hearing in 2013 given USADA needs to complete the arbitration hearings of Bruyneel and Celaya first. Although the inverse is possible if the UCI tries to use the CAS to get control of the case before arbitration occurs.

Cycling’s governing body has so far failed to comply with WADA’s request to issue a ban on Michele Ferrari and Luis Del Moral and to supply USADA with more information. Any further non-compliance is going to watched very closely by WADA and the IOC who are losing their patience with the UCI and in particular some of its senior officials.

Will we ever get to hear more about the apparent evidence?
Yes. Armstrong is only one name in this case, the case includes Bruyneel, Pedro Celaya, Luis del Moral, Michele Ferrari and Joseph “Pepe” Marti, all of whom are active in cycling whether openly or behind the scenes. Assuming things still go to arbitration then USADA will present its evidence in detail and in due course it will be public says USADA boss Travis Tygart.

Is justice done?
Yes and no. It’s subjective but I think we’ve got an economy version of justice today. No less than a Federal judge said the arbitration hearing would be suitably just so long as USADA improved its paperwork and in any event, the CAS was ready. In refusing these options Armstrong is accepting the ban no matter what any angry press statements try to imply. WADA’s John Fahey seems to agree, stating “the simple fact is that his refusal to examine the evidence means the charges had substance“.

What lessons?
In a selective way Armstrong is right that USADA is going after his past but this case is still important to assess those who continue to operate in the sport, whether openly in the case of Bruyneel or Celaya or for those lurk in the shadows like Ferrari, Del Moral and Martí.

Cycling tried to hide the doping problem, sweeping the debris under the carpet. Even when the stench got too much the UCI found means to silence things, such as the Vrijman Report which looked at L’Equipe’s accusation of positive EPO tests but only let WADA point out institutional failings in the UCI. Now USADA has pulled the rug away and the mess is there for all to see. Athletics, swimming, tennis and other sports probably need to substantially increase testing and adopt a bio-passport scheme as soon as possible.

Famous for his fighting, Lance Armstrong has thrown in the towel. His legal avenues closed after losing the lawsuit on Monday and now he’s declined the arbitration hearing. He ran out of chances to frustrate the procedural and legal aspects and when all that remained was a hearing, he declined.

As the Federal Judge said earlier this week the hearing would give him ample room to put his side of the story and even to appeal a verdict but he’s refused this opportunity. As such it’s hard not to view Armstrong’s decision as a climb down and implicit admission.

I don’t think his statement helps him as much of it doesn’t add up. It reads like bluster. Far from demonstrating a “witch hunt” he appears to quote Judge Sparks when it suits but ignores the basic premise of the judges ruling: USADA is the legitimate body. The agency was only cited for weak paperwork. But Armstrong’s statement is for wider public consumption and if some of us have the time to examine it against rulings from Federal courtrooms, most don’t and many will pick up the persecution vibe as he tries to claim he’s the victim not than the perpetrator.

Let’s not waste time on who won the Tour de France, it’s a pointless exercise that brings a farce rather than resolution.

Instead there’s more to come in the future. Bruyneel and Celaya have opted for arbitration so they should have a chance to explain their side of things and, as Judge Sparks agrees, a fair chance of justice. Beyond this there’s the UCI which could go to the CAS, a high risk strategy for cycling’s governing body.

Finally Armstrong will grab the headlines but this story is a bigger one that covers officials, managers, doctors, coaches. The more we focus on the celebrity in the headlines today, the less attention we give to doping, to health and to institutional reform in the sport and without these, we’ll get nowhere.

217 thoughts on “Lance Armstrong Quits”

    • how far back do people want to go?,he passed all his tests while racing and competing in the tours he won.if now theres “evidence” he systematically doped and was involved in such a complicated doping proceudre that the testers couldnt pick up on any anamolys when they tested him that would make them suggest something was up with his blood or urine,just how far back do they want to go to find a “clean” winner of le tour.names that are written in tour lore seemingly untouchable surely now be questioned also.the whole thing is a joke.lance armstrong won the tours,no one thing i do agree on is the doping culture and there was one,lets not beat around the bush,the cyclist was the pawn in this,if they didnt go along with it then theyd be dropped for someone who would.

      • Alex, you are one of the few voices of reason here.

        And Inner Ring, you totally sidestepped anything close to the germane points Alex made. It’s so easy to see everything in black & white, so satisfying to join the mob, kill the “Bad Guys” & walk away… rather than grapple with extremely complex issues involving a whole LOT of people, agencies, corporations, governments, who are all involved & share responsibility for the “doping culture.”

        Exactly right, Alex. Doping is essentially required of the riders at this level. They have the least power, the least say, the least money (don’t tell me about Lance’s millions – he has that money because a whole lotta people made a WHOLE lot more money than that, off of his back), yet are the ones who both have to mistreat their bodies (do you think they LIKE doping? Don’t you think THEY’D rather not have to deal with it?) & suffer the vast bulk of consequences when caught…. or never compete against athletes of equal talent.

        Inner Ring, you yourself pointed out how absolutely ridiculous enforcement has been historically… & it’s STILL got miles to go. And you pointed out: Armstrong passed all the tests. If we are going to make rules, freakin’ follow them. As Alex said, if we start second guessing everything (based on lousy testing & enforcement, hearsay from teammates put in arm twistededly impossible legal positions, for a start) where do we stop? The answer is, nowhere.

        We will tear down the sport & tradition of cycling because of a completely faulty, illogical, zealot’s version of “fixing.”

        All of these “dopers” would have been great athletes & cycling heroes without the doping. On a slightly lower level, but still great. Drugs did NOT make Armstrong a 7 time tour winner. You don’t give EPO to your local ride’s fast boy, & he suddenly becomes a European peloton star.

        Doping isn’t “right.” But tearing down legitimate great athletes who were the smallest players in terms of responsibility is insanity.

        The PLAYING FIELD ARMSTRONG WAS ON WAS LEVEL. “Everybody was doing it.” Does that make it right? No. Is making this great man’s life miserable, along with many other riders, spending OUR TAX DOLLARS to do it, while the complex system of sponsors, team owners & directors, etc etc, get away with murder? I don’t think so.

        One guess would be that “pulling the rug out” (naive, by the way – this case is making a mess for a few people & besmirching cycling, but in itself is not going to change – positively – what goes on in the wheeling and dealing of the pro cycling racing biz as a whole), if this method is really continued: Eventually it is going to kill pro cycling as we know it.

        Get off your righteous high horses & look for REAL, constructive, tangible solutions to move forward.

        Instead of wreaking the reputations, careers, & lives of the athletes who had the least choice in the doping, would be & are amazing cyclists without doping, and at Lance’s level gained little or no advantage over their competitors because THEY all had no choice but to dope as well.

        • This is why I concluded that we need to look beyond Armstrong the celebrity and ask questions of the system in place then and what has changed since and what can change in the future.

          It’s not really about Armstrong even if he grabs 99% of the headlines. Already Del Moral and Ferrari are banned.

          • After excoriating (come ON, there is no way you can claim this is unbiased reporting of facts – get real) Lance specifically and in a degrading and personal manner for pages … one paragraph most people will never get to.

            Sorry. The last paragraph is great. The rest of the “article” is biased and inflammatory and by sheer volume and attitude unfortunately make your few sensible words meaningless.

          • Is their conclusive proof that he has doped?

            What about previous greats that have admitted to doping? Do we strip their titles?

            ProCycling has officially become irrelevant………

        • Karolinka

          Two things;

          1 – Maybe they used my tax dollars rather than yours…. and I am ok with it.
          No need to get upset about that.

          2 – When I hear “wreaking the reputations, careers, & lives of the athletes” the first thing that comes to my mind is all the grief FF and TH had to go through thanks to LA and his legal team.


        • i echo everything you said karol.(the alex who posted below this about lances lawyers is a differant alex just to clear any confusion).what they are doing is going after lance as hes the big fish.going after the cyclist is like going after the worm on the end of the hook,when its the person holding the rod they should be after.easy target.while this doping has been rife and lets be honest since the tour began the riders have been on something be it alcohol,cocaine ,amphetamines.are the uci or organizers seriously going to insult our intelligence by saying “oh but we didnt know”.they must have known,they dam well must have.given the scale of the epidemic at its height they must have known.wheres the uci in all this,just who is in control of the it the uci or a national doping agency,for usada to come out and say they are stripping lance of his titles is not only laughable its pathetic.oh lance isnt fighting it so he must be guilty..oh come the fk on,what age are these people!.my nephew can instigate a more articulate assumption than that.pathetic!.you are exactley correct in saying you cant just give epo to your local rides fast boy and he sudddenly becomes a world beater.epo will turn a donkey into a racehorse,but!.he still has to put in the same effort in training etc as he would if he didnt dope.again your bang on,it wasnt right that it was happening but they were all doing it!,instigated by team managers ,drs and anyone else with a vested interest in whatever team to bring success and with that £ ive said the poor cyclist in all this was the given this cyclist has since he was a wee boy wanted to be nothing but a pro cyclist and having slogged his way to the top through bleak training days and sunny days up and down mountains,blood sweat and tears to get to the top,all the sacrifices he made in his life to devote it to cycling,to suddenly be faced with a team manager who says to him..your not performing as wed like,but if you take this,and if he doesnt?..what he sees is all that effort and toil being for nothing and the arse ripped out of his living in that cocoon of cycling he succumbs and takes what you have today is all these shady self righteous arseholes who put this cyclist in his position skulking in the shadows pontificating that ahh hes a doper.who made him a doper?.what were seeing in the peleton today is a more true representation of the riders talent,had all the current riders been boosting it would be the same but on a higher level as opposed to the lower one which karol correctly hang the cyclist out to dry after the event is a bit rich and downright shameful.lance armstrong didnt just not contest it,hes been fighting it vehemently since day wonder he said you know what im done.the issue of wether he did or didnt is a non issue to me.they all did wasnt right but that was the life and times and culture of procycling then,like it was alchohol in the early years.with modern advancements and coveridge and popularity of the tour today,its under the spotlight more because more people take a keen interest in it. until he says himself he did,then everything else is heresay and ive never been in a room with lance or his accusers to have any qualified facts on it.going back to the point of epo turning the local speed boy into a peleton star,he does have to put in the same effort in trainng,look at david millar,showed amazing promise as a young rider,then he doped and was worse off as a rider for it.the epo doesnt take up the slack of missed training days.dredging up the past to hammer the cyclist,who is the pawn in the game is nothing short of cowardly and pathetic and its shameful on all who have a knife for his not a dr but i do find it hard to believe,that as a top endurance athlete you can dope to the levels hes been accused of and get a blood transfusion to rid the body of the dope and still perform to that level every day for three guessing he was tested after the blood transfusion ,im also guessing a blood transfusion isnt the most speedy process or easy to hide.isnt he tested when he comes off the bike?,so why was nothing untoward picked up then.tom simpson the uk rider was found with amphetamine in his back pocket for crying out loud.this is a ludicrous situation and it smacks of people wanting to make a name for themselves in bringing down the biggest fish of all namley lance armstrong,during a period of time the sport was rife with doping culture,not an errant rebel cyclist who was doing things behind his teams back,it was a culture embraced by teams drs and every other abuser ready to make money off of the back of the talent i-e the cyclist.yet its the cyclist they go after.when is someone going to grow a set of balls and ask the fkn questions to the right people!.this ones for the lawyers,thats who wins not us as fans of the sport we love so much,not the cyclist who was pressured into doing what he didnt want to do,and for all the shady faceless silent now voices who first said,here son take this youll win the tour.thats who won,we lost.sooner this charade is over with the better.cycling will prevail tho,ive no many people love it to let it sink.lets just hope with all this hoo haa,its not off putting to future sponsors who do see its being cleaned up,even tho its being cleaned up in the wrong way with regards to going after lance i must add.its also being cleaned up in the right way,education is the best prevention and hindsight..lance armstrong won the tour 7 times i watched every one,i cheered loudly on every one,nothing usada do or wada do or indeed the uci do,if they choose to uphold the kangaroo courts decision will ever change that,on asked what he thought jan ullrich said,well i know which position i peddaled over the line and im proud of all my second places.its a sad day indeed,a watershed moment if you like…but its wrong.theres a lot of deals been made cloak and dagger clandestinly to get to to where we got to today.its shameful.its shameful and its just wrong.lance armstrong won the tour 7 times.legend.

        • @karolinka, Some serious flaws in your logic…
          With your logic, Bernie Madoff is a great man. Sure, He cheated & lied, (but many around him were bending investment rules)
          …But…Bernie did donate millions to charity…

          Doping is not a level plating field, nor does it level the playing field.
          This is a topic that is far too complex for this forum.
          (but) Please do us all a favour & research this topic, before spouting off misinformed, incorrect statements.

          Please don’t portray Lance as a victim…
          An athlete who only doped because “everyone else did”
          Certainly Ego drove him to success…but, Ego also allowed him to dope…to rationalize cheating….to pressure his team(mates) to dope.
          Ego is more powerful than money…
          [why do you think 42 yr old Cat 3 Master cyclists dope? It certainly has nothing to do with earning a spot on a pro tour team….]

          Lance was not a small cog in this machine (or a victim as you try to portray him).
          He wielded his power within his team & the sport.
          Unfortunately, his cheating allowed him to become richer, more powerful (within the sport)…It also allowed those connected to him to gain financially from cheating.
          Why should we overlook all of this, at what point is enough enough?

          My only hope is this becomes the tripping point to burning down & rebuilding the UCI.

        • +1 karolinka
          The thing that I struggle with is whether it is worthwhile to pursue LA now, after all is done. And it isn’t. Nothing will change in the pro ranks because of this; they’ve already moved to something less detectable, more potent, etc.

          This took an awful lot of resources, and doesn’t accomplish much. The president of USADA wants to be remembered as the guy who took down Lance Armstrong.

          The high horse many commenters are on is tedious, as it is easy to judgement when you are not in the situation of having to decide to dope to achieve that pro contract you’ve been chasing for years. If masters racers are doping, the pressure on the pros is incredible.

          • Remember Armstrong is one of six being pursued here. In many ways he is the odd one out as he’s retired from cycling. Bruyneel, Celaya, Del Moral, Marti and Ferrari are still active in and around the sport. Should we investigate them or not? I’d like to know your views.

          • Ughhh… over and over… the pursuit of Lance Armstrong blah, blah… READ the article. Armstrong is almost collateral damage here. The real big fish here are Johan Bruyneel, Dr Pedro Celaya, Dr Luis del Moral, Dr Michele Ferrari, Joseph “Pepe” Marti. All current active and know doping enablers. Removing them is of primary importance. That’s the main objective here.

        • Karolinka: we will never know if the playing field was level. It probably wasn’t. Vaughters explains why here:,3 (end of page).

          On the other hand, the more I thnk of it, the more I see that the result of anti-doping tests have to be as final as a football’s referee decision, whether positive or negative, whether wrong or right. Competition requires this legal security.

    • It’s eight years but case history suggests that where there was a cover-up or conspiracy then agencies can go back further. For example a positive test declared after 8 years is not enough but a conspiracy or other means could be.

  1. There’s been a lot said about Lance’s lawyers being overpaid and ‘desperate’ but I think they’ve actually had about the best outcome they could have hoped for thus far. They’ve been very focussed on ‘image’ and not really the case itself which was exactly the right thing to do – Lance’s image is what’s got him this far.

    There is plenty in that cynical statement for fans/supporters and even people who haven’t read much about it to grab hold of so that they can keep believing he was clean. Or at the very least that it was a level playing field.

    They’ve played it very well indeed.
    (again, thus far)

    • I see what you mean but the drip of bad news gets worse by the day. He ends up the passive observer of events whilst his reputation gets hit. Still it’s probably the hardest PR and legal case going.

      • I look forward to the next drip on his birthday – Tyler Hamilton & Daniel Coyle’s tell all “The Secret Race”.

        Am currently reading Coyle’s “Lance Armstrong’s War” from 2005. Excellent read and really highlights Armstrong’s sociopathic/NPD characteristics, but this bit on Hamilton caught my eye:

        … “Tyler doesn’t get angry, he gets even in his own way” said Peter Kaiter, a former East German cyclist who helped introduce Hamilton to the sport. “He’s very smart, he thinks everything through. Then when it’s time to let it all out, he let’s it all out.”

  2. Looking at the top 10 TdF results from the last 20 years it becomes apparent that the UCI have supremely mismanaged the sport over the last two decades. We want this sport to move on and become believable again at the highest levels like it is at the grass roots. The sooner there is major reform of the UCI the better.

  3. Before everyone jumps in to comment about Lance being a cheat etc., I’d like to point out that the Lance Armstrong Foundation has raised over $500 million for cancer charities and cancer research.

    Whether or not he was doping (like the rest of the peleton winners at the time) he is a hero for his charitable work.

    Its impossible to name another cyclist who has done as much for his community off the bike. I’m not a fan of LA but I think its important to keep in perspective that he has contibuted more good (and some bad) to the world than most of us.

    How many of us bought yellow Livestrong bracelets and donated for cancer charity…?

    Chapeau, Lance, for your magnificent charitable work (even if you did beat the other dopers by doping).

    • Except, not really – allegedly much of the money was/is funnelled to prop up the fundraising cycle, through means that directly benefit those involved in organising the charity (allegedly including, but not limited to, significant reimbursement for appearances and speaking engagements, private jets, ‘management fees’, etc).
      And it hasn’t really ‘funded research’ in any way since about a decade ago – all it ever did was give a few hundred thousand in grants in the early years. For an organisation that’s raised nearly half a billion dollars it hasn’t got much to show for it.

      • Concur. There are a number of questionable “tie-in’s” between Livestrong the charity, and, a for profit business concern. Not too mention some that consider the Livestrong charity a very effective publicity vehicle to boost Armstrong’s ability to continue lucrative endorsement and advertising deals, e.g., Radioshack, Michelob, etc. It is a tangled web. Easy to over simplify and look for the sugar coated goodness.

    • True and it’s an interesting moral dilemma on several levels. Does the money raised help to cancel out the bad bits? Was the money raised because of doping, because if he was a mid-pack finisher (other riders have survived testicular cancer, see Markel Irizar riding the Vuelta today) then he would have not got the fame. And so on? Good subject for an ethics essay.

      • Not sure it’s a moral dilemna – I’m comfortable with the multiple positions held here: it’s perfectly possible for LA to simultaneously be an inspiration to cancer survivors and a liar/cheat/bully. I don’t think they necessarily have to cancel each other out, or be balanced against each other: just the way life is!

  4. I think your post, Inrng, is the most concise, yet accurate, portrayal of the conclusion of this case, so thank you.

    I hope in the same way the anti-doping “movement” progressed following Puerto and Festina, there can be a progression here.

    I think the evidence that the public has gained from the case is extremely damning against the UCI.
    It seems that the USADA has been able to show Armstrong was doping during his comeback due to irregular blood values. But I was under the impression that this was the entire aim of the UCI Bio-passport. I understand that the Bio-passport interpretations are reasonably subjective, but if the USADA has been able to make a case out of it, I find it highly disturbing, but highly in line and consistent with the “message” they put across, that the UCI has not done anything, particularly with the Barredo case that is occuring at the moment.

    I think it is a shame that Armstrong did not go to arbitration. Although I am pleased that he has been sanctioned, it would seem, to me at least, that the main issue at hand is the institutionalised self interest, and arguable corruption, at the UCI, and how far this reaches with regards to covered up positive tests (we know rumours about Armstrong, but also about Contador). I would have hoped that this information would have come out in the arbitration process, although it may still come out in the cases against Bruyneel etc.

    Ultimately I think this is a good day for cycling, and the “dominion” that Armstrong held over professional road cycling will hopefully end.

    Does anyone know if it is possible if there can be no winners for the 1999-2005 tours, just as there is no 3rd place and mountains classification in 2008, or will they do the same thing they did with Riis and Zabel in 1996 and just put an asterisk next to them?

  5. Lance’s goose is cooked. Really, he needs to vigorously defend or admit. His current strategy is a weak admission of guilt. Bastard!!!

  6. LA is not a quitter. This is an admission from him as advised by his entourage that the evidence against him was strong and his chances for success were low. It is a brilliant move on his part as it moves the matter to the UCI where he may have more influence and enables him to play the “victim” card while continuing to claim that he never tested positive.

  7. “If you think it is a joke to award the result to Jan Ullrich, Fernando Escartin or Joseba Beloki then the same logic dictates it is a farce for Armstrong to keep the win because he was doing the same.”

    Ah, no. It would be a joke to award titles to these guys precisely because they were doing the same. Which is to say, in the absence of a bona fide “clean” athlete, there is no logical reason to strip Armstrong. As anyone familiar with the sport at the time will attest, it was a ‘level playing field’ at the top.

  8. “If you think it is a joke to award the result to Jan Ullrich, Fernando Escartin or Joseba Beloki then the same logic dictates it is a farce for Armstrong to keep the win because he was doing the same.”
    Ah, no. It would be a joke to award titles to these guys precisely because they were doing the same. Which is to say, in the absence of a bona fide “clean” athlete, there is no logical reason to strip Armstrong. As anyone familiar with the sport at the time will attest, it was a ‘level playing field’ at the top.

  9. Wow, Ullrich will have 4 Tours in his palmarès!! He finally confirms the high expectations he generated in 1996-7. 😉
    No, seriously, a special decision could come declaring all the results between 1996 and 2010 null and void, or something like that (if we can be positive that we are cleaner now, though).

  10. “If you think it is a joke to award the result to Jan Ullrich, Fernando Escartin or Joseba Beloki then the same logic dictates it is a farce for Armstrong to keep the win because he was doing the same.”

    Ah, no. It would be a joke to award titles to these guys precisely because they were doing the same. Which is to say, in the absence of a bona fide “clean” athlete, there is no logical reason to strip Armstrong. As anyone familiar with the sport at the time will attest, it was a ‘level playing field’ at the top.

  11. On second thoughts, rewriting results once the tests are done is dumb. Let Lance keep his 7 Tours, if the testing conditions were the same for all competitors.

  12. Two things: (1) Typo alert: “For me the worst past is the claim” it think you meant “part”.
    Excellent piece btw.
    (2) However I disagree, I think trying to determine who actually won the Tour from 1999 onward is an important endeavour. Actually, I think it is a moral imperative.
    Not just for the clean rider who actually won it — but lost so much in the process of not cheating. Maybe we can at least give him belated recognition.
    Its also important for the ultimate credibility of cycling. Saying “stop trying to find out who really won the Tour” is part of that “lets sweep the problems under the rug” mentality that hurt and still hurts cycling so much in the first place. Yes it would be a hard task — nothing short of an investigation.
    Perhaps folks are afraid there would be no winner?

    • Thanks for the typo. I understand the moral imperative but it is almost impossible to identify someone from 1999, and besides it is outside the rules. Fans can make their own decisions for sure but the sport itself is in a difficult position when it tries to re-write events. My concern is that we’d have to write retrospective rules and these are always risky.

      • I think this goes beyond the rules. Everyone involved in cycling let a cheat like Armstrong get away. To find out who won the Tour of 1999 clean, would implicate the UCI, the teams, the doped riders but also the journalists who knew Lance was cheating but cheered him on anyway.
        Did you read what David Walsh had to say about journalists and the Tour? Absolutely on point methinks:
        “When you think of all the nonsense we had to listen to about Armstrong being faster than Pantani in ’98. Armstrong goes and rides a faster Tour a year later and you have all these idiot journalists saying, well the roads and the bikes are better, it’s logical. It was all completely illogical and if they were being honest they would have known this.”

        “You still see it today. There are still some journalists going out from England to cover the Tour who half believe that Armstrong is innocent, who have been defending him. Complete buffoons.”
        Calling cycling journalist that praised Armstrong as a hero and clean rider while he was “winning” Tours de France is actually nice, its a best case scenario. More likely they are cowards, liars and hypocrites — fruit flies have more moral compass than most of them. I think Lance knew that and took advantage of it.

        • I agree with the sentiment, just making it happen would be hard. If we could wave the magic wand, do it but until then we’re stuck with the UCI making the rules.

          And yes, I’ve read a piece from a British newspaper today that’s cheerleading a bit, it was almost like satire. One claim suggested re-allocating the results would be awkward therefore it probably wasn’t worth bringing a case. Almost satire.

    • I think the Tours for those tainted years should be symbolically awarded to the “red lanterns” (last placed) of these editions. At least there is a good chance that they were clean.

  13. LA saying: No mas! (like Roberto Duran vs. Sugar Ray in 1987). No way. Guess it will be pay back time later on for LA in more than one way. Maybe one day when he´s finished refunding medals, yellows and money, one more wannabe book dragging everyone involved down will find its way to Inrng for a review AND a give away comp.

    For those who believes in LA giving up fighting – forget it – he will never stop. Like a Black Adder copycat. Right now his war it´s just on pause. Remember, the black book payback system was invented by LA! With or without license.

  14. I sometimes find your use of italics odd, but I can’t quibble with the added emphasis on: “They remain losers, it’s a farce, so don’t dwell on it.”

    To some extent, sport is of the moment. However, the sporting present is always informed by history, because this is where we source our yardsticks.

    A whole era has basically been expunged. That’s sad for anyone who watched and even more so for those who competed legitimately at that time.

  15. You want payback? Just wait until the day after the sanction is handed down and SCA Promotions sue Lance Armstrong for the money they had to pay out after he won his fifth tour. They’ll be the first of many lining up to seek compensation from Armstrong.
    Expect the arbitration over the guilty verdict to go on for another year or so, but then there’ll be five or more years of lawsuits before Armstrong declares bankruptcy and moves to a (not house/compound in Majorca.

  16. So can USADA issue/recommend a ban (on Armstrong) without giving evidence to back this up?!

    I.e. a ban from a failed brugs test would be: “we’ve issued this ban because rider X failed a drugs test (A and B)”

    In this case it should surely be: “we’ve issued a ban because of the following evidence…..”

    Does this need to happen even if Armstrong doesn’t put up any resistance? If not this is a bit thick!

  17. Does anyone think this matters to the legions of cancer sufferers Lance gave hope to with each pedal stroke? The man survived cancer and lost a testical in the process, I would like to see any of the members (a pun!) at Wada or USADA climb onto the saddle and do as much as Lance has simply by riding his bike! Once deified you have now made him a martyr. We will never forget Lance, ride on!

    • We also will never forget Joe Paterno and Jerry Sandusky of Penn State University in the U.S. They may have given “hope” to legions of sporting sycophants, while at the same time damaging countless lives of young people, through direct action, or cognitive dissonance.

    • that’s the one thing that always comes up that really chaps my ass. “hey, he’s done a lot of good for cancer blah, blah, blah…” well, pablo escobar did a lot for his community. gave a lot of money to needy families, too.

      the two things are completely separate. PLUS, the fact that he survived cancer does not make him some sort of saint. lots of people survive cancer. my dad didn’t, but that doesn’t make his less of a “hero” or whatever. argh! this whole thing aggravates me to end.

      • @TheSkullKrusher +1… My ass is chapped too ! Totally agree
        Bernie Madoff donated millions to charity…
        My brother survived cancer and still thinks Lance is a narcissistic prick (LOL)…and in no way finds Pharmstrong to be a hero. He found strength in burning yellow wrist bands people gave him…LOL
        Of course, luckily, we in our family have been “aware” of cancer for decades.

    • I like the idea but can’t see it working.

      For this to work you need everyone to be willing to come forward. What incentive does someone who has gotten away with something now have to step forward and get themselves labelled a cheat, perhaps even incriminate themselves. If WADA held this there’s nothing to stop the Italian or French police jailing people.

      • mmmmm… undeniably good points. It’s all so frustrating! Time to jump on the bike I guess and get on with some “real” racing with my fellow Cat 3s!!

  18. As he claims USADA doe not have authority or juristiction on the case, I understand that he will not recognise that he needs to repay prize money.. How can they make him repay the money?

    Can he still organise his own events?

    • The money is hard. I’m not sure Contador has repaid his prize money; the funds are often given out to team mates and others. It is probably impossible to recover.

      However, some could try legal means, for example suing him. He has already had a dispute with SCA over prize money and this could come back but I am only speculating.

      And yes, he can hold a BBQ or a bike ride. But he can’t compete in triathlons any more if they’re under normal rules.

      • My recollection is that the SCA matter was settled. Methinks included in the settlement agreement would have been a release of all claims (current and future). Lance’s lawyers are no dummies.

        • I’m sure I read somewhere today that the SCA case was settled not because of the doping allegations but because there was no stipulation in the policy about doping so they had to pay up. Even if he is now declared as a doper it wouldn’t change the policy wording and therefore I guess Sca has no recourse in the matter.

          • Rasmussen; good point, I negelcted the stripped wins part of the equation negating the requirement for the payout. It may lead to possible difficulties though: Usada as the ‘results management authority’ has stripped the wins but technically who decides when it comes to the payout; UCI, ASO etc.? Those authorities may go with the asterix scenario leaving LA named as winner but tainted as a confirmed doper. IMHO the only reasonable cause of action considering the opposition at the time (Ullrich for example says he still considers himself to be no.2. ie. LA was the best at the time and Ullrich is basically confirming he also doped as well as the other main contenders) and the precedent set by previous wins by since confirmed dopers. It will be interesting to see what happens as any attempt by the UCI or ASO to water down the stripping of titles gives Usada the opportunity to appeal that decision to CAS and get all their evidence into the public domain which is something the UCI probably don’t want to happen.

  19. There is no winner here but, I’d suggest no one is looking for a winner.

    IF this *decision* is part of an ongoing process whereby the pages within the chapter headlined as Cycling’s Murky Past are being turned and *finally* starting to come to a close… then so much the better.

    As just one of the very many ‘people on the side of the road’ – be that mountain pass or stage start or finish or somewhere in between – that (chapter-closing) is the only victory that those of us who applaud great exploits as much as shout encouragement to the also-rans would want; what my conscience can’t do is level that same enthusiasm to those who don’t have the guts to stand up and say without recourse to self-justification… I cheated.

    George Orwell said: “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act”

    This isn’t the end, but let us earnestly hope that its part of the process that’ll witness an end from which will come a real beginning to clean sportS with level playing fields for all.

  20. I completely agree that Lance has handed the baton to the UCI, problem is the UCI is going to make a complete fool of themselves in trying to defend their position…..I think we now know the reason for the timing of JV’s announcement…..hello breakaway league!

  21. It’s not as if quitting now will be any less emotionally draining (and continue to do so) , than fighting the case would have been. So, Armstrong’s logic doesn’t cook. Unless he knows all too well what would have been brought on the table…
    At the end of the day, his contemporaries who came clean by admitting what everybody kind of knew (Riis, Landis, Ullrich…), are now all looking a lot better than Armstrong does.

  22. This is the best outcome for cycling. Effectively telling everyone in the sport that time will not allow you to hide past cheating. So athletes coming to cycling now know that their samples can be back tested when new tests become available.

    Now lets move on from this cheating Texas sociopath.

  23. In the timeline you mention only two riders from the top 5 have not been linked to doping, neither of those two are Carlos Sastre.

    What was it he was linked to? I honestly cannot recall it?

  24. Guilty until proven innocent. Armstrong is smart – leave these overpaid, unproductive suit & ties to talk the talk. We know who suffered and beat all- comers, dopers included in those years. That can never be taken away – I have the videos to prove it. What have they got? A nice big head and puffed chest when they talk to each other at their lawyers bars……best outcome for cycling hay, you guys are nuts – instead of quoting legal codes and rules and pulling apart every word stated to form reason and opinion, take a big step back and have a good look!

      • I never said he’s not a doper, but how does any of this help the sport I love? My disappointment is with the governing body of the sport, who has been slap bang at the coalface of all this going on over years! We now find that nearly every man and his dog were doing it and for some unknown reason these guys didnt? And now sit by with their lawyers picking off riders after the event. I reserve my harshest thoughts on them, not so much the guys that were suffering in the saddle – that’s why I don’t think it’s a revolution for cycling……..great article by the way

        • It’s not that they were all doping necessarily. It’s just that many at the top were. For the ’99 tour, which was retrospectively tested by WADA in early 2000s when the EPO test was developed, 13 out of 87 samples were positive for EPO. Of those, 6 were from Armstrong. Which means there were 7 / 81 positive for the rest of the peloton. Some of these remaining samples may also have been from the same person (we don’t know).

          In other words, the rest of the peloton was probably largely clean, at least for EPO in ’99.


  25. I’ll play contrarian here and say that this is an amazing bit of PR and legal work on LA’s part.

    We have to assume that he and his legal team thought they had little chance of prevailing, even if they believe he is innocent, and was likely to end up with the same sentence regardless. While the net effect is that he is essentially pleading “no contest”, in reality, he is not admitting guilt, and can play the victim card here on, by saying how unjust the process has been, and refusing to play the game.

    Perhaps they were thinking that by avoiding a hearing, then some of the evidence won’t come out. Tygart claims otherwise (see interview on Velonation today), but who knows. It all depends on how things play out.

    As for PR, we have the educated cycling community (this readership, and similar), we have the uneducated cycling community (most), and the general public. The latter 2 far outnumber the educated ones,which plays favor to LA’s plight; look at the comments on general news sites (yahoo, etc.) and you’ll see overwhelming support for LA.

    Many claim hearsay evidence (which isn’t necessarily the case, most people don’t understand what the legal term really means), but more importantly, hearsay evidence is admissible under American Arbiration Association rules, it is up to the panel as to how they weigh it’s credibility.

    And then, as INRNG mentions, you have the whole USADA vs UCI saga to unfold regarding. We would all be naive if we don’t think there have been discussions between the UCI & LA here. We certainly haven’t heard the last of this; we are still in for a long ride.

    Though USADA’s actions are legitimate, that is not to say there are not elements of truth in LA’s statement or his attorneys response to USADA. We have to admit, that parts of the anti doping proceedings are broken; there is a lack of consistency, too many venues for jurisdiction, plenty of room for corruption, clear conflicts of interest, lack of understanding of the rules, and too many turf wars

    And to a degree, yes this has been a witch hunt, but sometimes when you hunt, you actually find a witch. While I firmly believe LA has violated anti doping rules, this is not to say that this whole thing hasn’t been a fiasco, and though legally legitimate, still has the appearance of a kangaroo court.

  26. Who cares the past is the past lets build a new hospital with the wasted funds and move on to the future

    The world continues to spin people in africa need food and global warming is getting worse things are more important then this

    Look forward

  27. Great article (as usual), much more reasoned, informative and unbiased than much of the other commentaries swirling around online. Thanks for a clear summary of the position. Some excellent comments, too.
    Re: “All prize monies must be repaid too.” I see a comment above, plus a brief reply. How much are we talking about? I’m just curious. And you’ve already mentioned the point about teams normally sharing out prize money – which means LA could lose out twice over.

  28. Here are some cynical thoughts. Did he create livestrong to protect himself from doping allegations? Who would dare to take him down? Did he give himself cancer from the p.e.d.s that he took earlier in his career?

    • Lance is an selfish egomaniac, we have seen that through his actions in attempting to destroy anybody who has gone against him over the years. No doubt protection would’ve played some part in the idea.

      The HGH he was undoubtedly taking as part of the programme would have accelerated the growth of the tumours, yes.

      Detection of his cancer might’ve come earlier had he not been using masking agents/UCI coverup. His HCG level was over 110,000mIU/mL, whereas levels in a normal male range from 0-5mIU/mL. HCG is used in anabolic steroid cycles to counteract the adverse effects of testosterone and can also be used as a tumour marker for testicular cancer.
      He should’ve tested positive for HCG in 1996.

  29. In the end people will believe what makes them feel good. The BigTex faithful will go full blast into the martyr angle while the general public will hear Tex has been stripped of his titles and figure “just another dope cheat”, his cynical statement won’t get much interest from them. Same for his confederates, their hearings, with all the juicy revelations won’t even register on general news outlets so BigTex’s image will not be damaged further. Damage control tactics all the way. Tex will go to his grave denying any cheating while anyone who can recoup money paid out to the cheater will sue to recover it. The bigger question is, will pro cycling learn anything from this and clean up?

  30. So if I am understanding correctly USADA should reach a “reasoned decision” not argue w/o the “shadow of a doubt” that LA is guilty? What is “reasoned”? Or is it “reasonable” enough to convict LA?
    The other interesting thing – let’s say LA is a doper and the star, the great villain, the big boss, the mastermind etc. How did he exactly help trafficking or administer prohibited substances in the team for him to be part of the trafficking conspiracy? Imagine LA going around the team bus with blood or EPO packs and needles and so on. In fact if he was involved he would be the End Client like a drug addict not a dealer. Following the logic in this piece he should be given a 2 year ban for doping or a multiple ban for doping through the years.
    Other topics of interest : what happens to US cycling? Imagine a World Tour UCI event in the States now xD. What happens if USADA is compelled to show it’s evidence and it is simply not enough – do the governing body of USADA get fired, will there be any repercussions? What happens to the whistleblowers, do they get bans or escape unscathed. In the shadow of this great conspiracy what happens to Frank Schleck, Jonathan Vaughters?
    P.S. Excuse me for typos or whatever I’m too frustrated to spell check.

    • We should get the full reasoning in due course but might have to wait for the other arbitration hearings to happen/finish before even more detail comes out. But yes, a “reasoned decision” implies reasonable grounds to impose a sanction.

      As for the length of the ban, remember LA owned part of the team and assumed certain managerial duties, he was not a simple employee or hired rider. But we’ll see what comes out in time.

  31. The problem for me is that Armstrong is still in a better position having chosen to have doped, than he would have been if he had chosen to ride clean. Compare, for example, Bernard Madoff with an honest investment advisor, and then compare Armstrong with Bassons. Doesn’t seem right.

  32. In the parlor game of who is the winner now, and cross referencing the cycling tips “spreadsheet” of the top ten winners, I wonder how many of the remaining “clean” riders would have been tested during those years.

    knowing that the stage winner and a few random riders each day got tested, we are now looking at some riders farther down the list, that may have “escaped” the dope police.

    No, I am not on a new witch hunt.

    question for the inner ring. Is there a Master list of all riders tested either from the various country level Anti Doping groups or through the UCI?

    and, I would love to see your guess at the lost revenue either from riders contracts, or endorsements, of the new podium finishers. Is there a lawsuit in the making about lost revenue against Lance et al, from the likes of Sastre etc, who’s palmares are now better and more marketable?

  33. Great piece again Mr Ring(?).

    But what a god awful mess this all is. I think most worrying of all is that the “Omerta” that Kimmage always speeks of still seems to be in effect.

    Was reading this above and de Johng of Sky’s comments jump out! Isn’t Bradley Wiggins a member of that list of TdF winners?
    Others in the article also make dubious comments; personally I’m waiting for the likes of David Millar to make a statement too. Is the sport so involved in doping (in one way or another) that it’s impossible for them to really move away from the drug culture.

    I’m glad this is a step further in the right direction but massive issues still remain.

  34. formally, this is no doubt a crucial point reached within this whole saga.
    But technically, its only more saddening to watch. Armstrong may legally or implicitly admit that he doped, but he’ll always maintain in public that he never did. So quit in one sense but not in another. This is probably the closest he’ll ever come to acknowledging it. He’ll take it to his grave and always be ‘too big to fail’. I think that’s sad.

    Stepping back, you realise how much of a wider impact and implication this entire ‘Lance Armstrong affair’ has. As outlined in the piece, this is more than just about Armstrong, but Armstrong symbolises ‘that’ era – that crazy, screwed up era where people would look the other way and plead innocence and justification for their actions. Cycling has cleaned up its act a lot but there’s still an enormous mountain of Tour de France portions to climb. But now the figurehead has been officially tainted, there’s no way you can just ignore it anymore.
    In addition, the ethical questions to do with Armstrong’s doping, cancer support etc. is extraordinarily tricky. No doubt his celebrity has brought in huge amounts of money for a great cause (even if a lot of it is used for ‘administrative’ purposes), but how commendable is it when it was sold on the basis of a lie? Does the good work he’s done outside of cycling cancel out his poison within cycling? Should they be separated from one another? Can they be separated?

    • I think that they probably can be separated and quite honestly should be. There is no doubt that regardless of whether his feats in cycling are legitimate or not he has inspired people and he has had a positive effect outside of cycling and should be commended for that. In other words the work is still good, and beneficial, even if it is built on a lie.

  35. Mercx doped – admittedly. How come he isn’t a pariah or his wins and accolades stripped? Total bullshit and horrendous double standard.

    And what a shameful article. Reading this all related is a huge fucking waste.

    Onward to the exciting races and riders that is going on right now! The future is bright and thats all that matters.

    • This case was pursued by the USADA, it would require the Belgian equivalent to pursue Mercx or the UCI and they certainly wouldn’t do it.

      It has been said several times that it is certain nations attitude to doping that protects some big names. I hate to agree with it but you just have to look at names who are hailed as heroes in their own country (Mercx, Contador, Valverde, Pantani, Virenque, Vinokourov) and there does seem to be a pattern.

      To add to this, and to hopefully show I do not believe my own countrymen are infallible, British people cite Britain as a shinning example of clean sports and our dislike of dopers, but this is false. It is only certain dopers we dislike. Christine Ohurogu gets a free pass and Yohan Blake was the new poster boy of the Olympics, with their pasts conveniently swept under the rug while commentators happily abused Gatlin and Vinokourov.

      • People in Belgium, France, Spain and Italy have been following cycling all their lives, they cherish the sport as heritage, and they are more used to the scandals. I think that’s the basic difference.

        • I agree, but I am uncomfortable with the way convicted dopers are celebrated. I was a huge fan of the way Pantani rode, but I would never afford him the hero status he seems to have on the continent.

  36. The comments that suggest that because everyone was doing then LA was still the best need to be addressed.

    For one, people react differently to PEDs, it is not linear. The truth is we will never know LA’s real ability but it is in no way certain that he would have won if everyone one was clean.

    Next we have the costs associated. LA had funding from the Federal Government behind him, hence the Federal case. This would have put greater resources at his beck and call, not just doctors to administer the PEDs but also to tailor his loads and continually improve his programme.

    Next we have the fact that this wasn’t just LA, but most likely a large proportion of his team throughout his success who would also have had access to the same resources LA had. We have seen this year what a strong team can do for a rider (I am not implying anything about Sky here, I believe they are clean).

    Taking all this into account it is reasonable to doubt whether LA would have been anything better than a domestique had he ridden clean.

  37. Even before Fed prosecutorJeff Novitzky and the Feds at the US FDA “suddenly” dropped the case against Armstrong, the USADA was ramping up its case to take on Armstrong. Novitzky had had disappointing results in the jury trials against Barry Bonds and BALCO after all the time building “his” case. Novitzky and the Feds knew proving fraud against the USPS sponsored cycling team was a longshot in a trial. Novitzky has been sharing info on the case with Travis Tygart from USADA since Tygart became CEO in 2007. What a remarkable coincidence that when the Feds drop their case against Lance, the USADA is right there with all on this damning evidence against Lance, Bruyneel etc, that can be used to strip titles and ban athletes, (even when retired professionally) without having the nuisance of a real trial until after all sanctions have been put in place?! If you don’t believe the Feds and the USADA are not totally working together under the table to make an example out of Lance and the UCI then you are completely naive. The USADA case is not based on actual proof of doping such as failed tests, but interviews with coerced witnesses. USADA and WADA are pissed at the UCI for turning its head for too long at doping in cycling and have gone after the highest profile athlete without due process on any kind. This folly will drag on to the CAS next year and the WADA/UCI war of words will continue

    • If LA wanted to go to arbitration no sanctions would have been put in place beforehand (for example Johan Bruyneel has not been banned as he has decided to go to arbitration. He decided himself not to attend the Tour this year), he would have got his “real trial” as you put it and been able to face his accusers and attempt to show that they hadn’t followed due process.

      LA has fought against the legality of this process, he has avoided talking about any case they may have and has waived his right to here the evidence. That is telling.

  38. I am a racer and a fan. I am not lazy (wiggins). It’s just frustrating that Armstrong is going to just keep bouncing this ball around till everyone gets tired and gives up. He has been playing the long game all the time. You would think at some stage he would just say to hell with this and walk off accepting whatevr is thrown at him. He sort of did just that but as part of a legal strategy that again frustrates anyone who wants to clean the house and just start focusing on a cleaner sport. He uses whatever card he can be it UCI vs WADA vs USADA and whichever permutation works for him. One day he supports USADA and the next he doesn’t. He has the tenacity to stand up and say he didn’t dope when everyone else who rode for him or against him has been implicated in doping.
    Some people think let the past be the past and why chase Armstrong? They say oh but he was the best of a bad bunch. They say oh he won seven tours and regardless that was awesome. They say oh he redefined the sport. He dominated the sport. He tarnished the reputations of others. He used his fame to make himself a fortune that he thought would put himself beyond reproach and he is consistently gone to the public for affirmation of his legend. Courts are anathema to him. We all operate via rules and without them there is no point. It is for is simple reason that he must be made accountable no matter how many tricks he tries to play. People say that he changed the sport and I hope he really does by showing that nobody is beyond the rules of the game.

  39. I wonder if just after the words “We might as well win …”
    They should have said “We should stop at four …”

    I think a great underlying issue here is that the Tour isn’t just a race, it’s ancient and it’s sacred and it has been used.

  40. Just a couple of comments.

    First, however you feel about Lance, his seven titles did more to generate interest in cycling in the States than anything before or since. There are a lot more cyclist on the roads in the US now than there was before Lance. As a result there is more TV coverage of cycling and the sport is growing. For that I am thankful.

    Second, drug free sports is a lovely idea, much like communism. And just like the communist ideal it does not exist in the real world and never will. As long as people make large sums of money in or on sports, there will be people willing to cheat, take dope, or do whatever it takes to win and the governing bodies will always be behind the curve trying to catch up.

    Finally, does anybody believe Wiggins and SKY are riding clean? Can anybody be as dominant as they where in the Tour and the Olymipcs and be riding clean? Perhaps they are just that much stronger than everybody else. Perhaps they trained harder and longer than everybody else. Perhaps I just can’t look at a winner in cycling and not wonder, “are they doping” any more. I just hope the sport doesn’t die trying to get rid of the drugs.

    • First – He did increase the hook-in to cyclingc but is also probably the main reasons why most European cycling fans think all the “Anglos” dope.

      Second – Not all teams are there primarily up to make money. Some attract sponsorship because they are set up to encourage participation in the sport by a national governing body. These admittedly rare setups are tasked to win by honest methods despite the history of the sport.

      Finally – Yes they can win clean. They are stronger because the founding reason the team exists is to win honestly at all cost except doping. In an environment where even the biggest stars are being found guilty of doping a less than “great” rider with superb backing and riding in an a season where the other riders are aware of and afraid that they might be caught has the unsurprising effect of levelling the playing field. It was a boring tour because no one could pull of any massive exploits.

    • Not to mention the Vuelta currently going on.
      Sky, including both star and worker riders are dominating the second grand tour in two months. This has never been seen before.

      But to answer your question, I believe lots of people, many of them regular commenters on this site, seem/choose to believe Sky is clean.

      • I’d like to reiterate that the main reason Sky exist is (from the BCF constitution): “(a) to encourage, promote, develop and control the sport and pastime of cycling in all its forms amongst all sections of the community in Great Britain, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands;”. That is why BC extended the track pogram in to a road team.
        Look at the top of the team Sky website and AHEAD of Sky Sports – the sponsor is British Cycling (BCF).
        The guys who run team GB are doing this for many reasons but a huge motivation is their love for a sport they want to see flourish. They also want to prove a point, that you can win without doping if you are dedicated, highly organised and can back it up with result earned funding and a desire to prove the naysayers wrong.
        Can you imagine the frustration amongst the PED users — having to cope with such a dominating setup — not certain if Brailsford’s boys dope and wondering why they, presumably experts in getting results without being caught, can’t match them. “Shall we risk increasing the dose today?” The nagging doubt that somebody might really be thrashing them because they know what the are doing not what they are taking. That they are looking at everything with new eyes nit the jaded vision of “this is how we have always done it” Imaginie how disheartening that is!
        Personally I feel that Brian Cookson et-al deserve a chance to prove their point and hopefully it will hammer several big nails in to the coffin of doping along the way. Time will tell but I hope my faith in what Peter Keen and a few others started many years ago will bear fruit and that after years of being the sporting underdog the UK will be able to hold its head up for not only its culture of fair play and sporting behaviour but for winning by being honest pragmatic and saying “up-yours” to those who said it was impossible.

        • Yikes, that’s what they were saying about Mapei when they were going 1-2-3 at spring classics and when USPS was dropping TdF contenders en masse.

          “Your” guy is never the one doping……until he’s caught.

    • Hard to say. After Sky wins 7 consecutive TdF victories, along with demonstrating multi-year compendium of implicating evidence, then this might be the case they are not playing fair. With financial incentives so lucrative to entice organized cheating, it seems logical that it takes years to unwind a multi-year program. We as fans may poo-poo the smudge on the entertainment value and good time high fives of bringing down the house of cards, but for the current and future professionals making a living in the sport, it makes their lives simpler and safer in my estimation. I believe combating drugs in sport is a good fight to fight. The sport of professional cycling is a difficult fight to get close to the leader board. It seems a disservice to wilt in front of a “dark side” of the force that degrades professional cycling.

    • Let us not forget that you don’t actually need to ‘dope’ to cheat…

      Teams like to get way to a ‘training camp’ where there aren’t so many prying eyes around. They can do stuff like store their red blood cells and then transfuse before a big race, giving them a big advantage without any risk of returning a positive blood test. It would be productive to do a snap audit of all the fridges in the team Winnebagos before the big race bwahaha… 😉

  41. I think with all the bickering about jurisdiction, the real question is being missed: are we now going to strip titles and enforce lifetime bans based solely on testimony? Whether Armstrong did it (I’m now almost certain he did) seems rather beside the point next to this. Lance is the most rigorously tested athlete in the history of human endeavor, and if the world is now going to revile him as an evil doper, we have to admit -in light of his 500-plus squaky-clean tests- we have a serious problem on our hands. Not just in cycling, but in all sport. ESPECIALLY in sports other than cycling (a sport where, as Pat McQuaid aptly put it, “we catch a lot of dopers because we go looking for them”). The testimony of ten former teammates seems quite damning, but what is the new standard? Ten? Five? One? Do they have to be teammates, or just anyone with access? It seems to me that with potentially hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, just having a dude call another dude a doper is a fairly problematic standard of evidence.
    And am I the only one who thinks that this method is a far better way of catching people who did stuff ten years ago -now that his accusers have spent all the money they made by previously keeping silent- than cleaning up current dopers?

      • This link is highly informative and really interesting. But 236 tests is still a lot of clean tests for someone that virtually everyone says was doped to the eyeballs for at least seven seasons. Again, I think he did it. But whatever people choose to believe, it causes one to question why we have tests at all. And I still have problems with a case built solely on testimony. In this case, I don’t think it’s being abused, but the potential for abuse is staggering.

        • Tests don’t mean anything if the athletes were taking substances that couldn’t be tested for at the time.
          Testing will never be ahead of the athletes, but at least now we have the bio-passport which theoretically ensures that the blood values of athletes are limited more than ever before.

  42. As a hypothetical: what would it mean for LA’s case, if Brunyeel was found to be innocent? I know that many think it is absurd to think this is the case, but would it weaken Tygart’s case and strenghten Lances? Just wondering and love your blog–read it all the time

    • I think it is a mistake to think that only the top riders dope. That once you dope you become a star. My guess is that there are just as many middle to bottom of the peloton guys doping just to stay in the peloton as there are guys doping to be stars. A paycheck is a paycheck.

      Landis talked about this as well. The need of supporting riders to dope to be strong enough to give valued support and make the team.

  43. One think that occurs to me – does this now throw a considerable shadow on the reputation of the TdF as a sporting event? Or does it even matter?

    And another. What agency would be in a position to now investigate the complicity of the UCI in coverups and corruption within the sport? The WADA? IOC?

  44. Farce indeed. Your article lacks objectivity and reveals your bias. I understand Lance has alot of enemies inside of the sport but you and all other athletes should care about due process. USADA’s war against Lance was personal as to him. It had nothing to do with and will do nothing to clean up the sport. If you need proof of this, ask yourself why George Hincapie will be permitted to keep his prize money, awards and maybe someday own or direct a team?

    Lance’s withdrawal from an unfair process is proof of nothing. In my view, strong cases proceed from scientific or corroborated proof, not from a rat’s testimony that someone doped years ago, though never caught. Strong cases also don’t proceed on jimmed charges of “trafficing” because you can’t prove “use”. Whether you view it as a tactical withdrawal or not, USADA has not won anything. Neither has the sport of cycling.

    You are also incorrect that the only thing USADA was cited for in the Texas case was poor paperwork. The paperwork to which you so casually refer is the notice of charges that athletes would use to understand what they face and what the substance and evidence of the charges are so that they can prepare a defense. Procedural due process is not some lawyer standing up in court and assuring a judge that his client will probably provide evidence in advance of an arbitration hearing. Procedural due process is a set of rules requiring the accuser to do so. And what of substantive due process? If USADA can make up its own rules as it goes along and deny hundreds of in and out of competition negative dope tests, and instead base a case on promises to dopers in exchange for testimony against the targeted athlete, all athletes should be gravely concerned. This, from a sport that deifies admitted and proven dopers from the past. So, who’s next?

    If I have revealed my own bias, so be it. I don’t really care if he doped or didn’t. He was never caught under the applicable rules and now he’s retired. In contrast, every single other rider who has been charged, suspended or banned was caught based on accepted tests. I got back on and stayed on a bike at age 40 largely because of the attention he brought to the sport in the USA. That was 15 years ago. No one in the sport–and that includes all past “champions” has been as involved in as many or important charitable works. No one in the sport has done as much for cancer awareness, for the promotion of health and well being. Some would rather sit in a witness chair and bitterly espouse their views that others cheated. Some actually go out and do something. And for those who think they have a legitimate gripe about the cost of running his foundation, check out the administrative overhead of other charities, I think you will be surprised what you find.

    • In contrast, every single other rider who has been charged, suspended or banned was caught based on accepted tests — right off, how about Lance’s biggest rival, Jan Ullrich?

      • Ulrich’s DNA sample matched that of samples allegedly taken from Dr. Fuentes (Op Puerto) office. The DNA collection methods may be questionable but that is still something tangible.

    • We’re all biased, it’s ok.

      This is why it’s a shame we don’t get the hearing as this would be held independently and would let both sides put their case.

      On a point of fact, when you say “You are also incorrect that the only thing USADA was cited for in the Texas case was poor paperwork”, I didn’t not mean this, rather than USADA’s paperwork wasn’t good but it doesn’t stop the arbitration hearing. Indeed Judge Sparks pointed out several failings. But having weighed up things he said “the USADA arbitration rules, which largely follow those of the American Arbitration Association (AAA) are sufficiently robust to satisfy the requirements of due process”. If Armstrong didn’t like this, he could have appealed the verdict to the Federal courts but chose not to just as he’s chosen today not to contest USADA’s case.

      • I’d disagree that this is a case of bias based on the investigative tactics. Offering immunity or reduced sentences to “small fish” in order to bag the “big fish” is Chapter One of criminal prosecution methods.

    • ‘Lance’s withdrawal from an unfair process is proof of nothing.’

      Why is it unfair?

      ‘In my view, strong cases proceed from scientific or corroborated proof, not from a rat’s testimony that someone doped years ago’

      So a rider coming forward to talk about past doping, is a rat?

      • well for starters: 1. ignoring your own statute of limitations is one thing that makes it unfair. (and LA did not testify in a doping trial and lie, so he has not waived the right to assert the statute of limitations); 2 he was not permitted to examine the evidence to be used in his arb hearing (neither was UCI); 3 arb panels convened by USADA have selectively barred cross examination of certain in other cases; 4 pool of arbitrators must be drawn from CAS members who by new rule are not permitted to cast a dissenting opinion in a CAS arbitration; 5 a former Olympic athlete and arb panelist stated that USADA does not follow its own rules. Need I go on?

        and Yes, a rider who testifies against another rider in return for forgiveness of his own doping infractions is a rat. If a rider wanted to step forward and admit his own doping past…that is another matter which should bother no one. Which makes me wonder why UCI and USADA never considered an amnesty program. Maybe Tygart needed a trophy to justify his existence?

        • While I agree that the proceedings were irregular from the perspective of a US criminal court, he was not in a criminal court. To your points:

          1) Had he gone to arbitration (and perhaps subsequent appeal) he could have asserted statute of limitations as part of his defense, and tried to have certain individual charges summarily dismissed, or bared from being involved in other charges. However statute of limitations are typically reserved for singular events; this was a conspiracy charge (among others) which often invalidates statutes of limitations. If during the arbitration hearing it was proved that he committed perjury during other hearings or proceedings (highly likely if they had evidence that he had doped), this too can invalidate statutes of limitations.

          2) LA never filed for an arbitration hearing (he announced he wasn’t going to), so he never got the opportunity to see the evidence; even in criminal or civil court you don’t see much evidence against you when you are arraigned, you see it during the discovery phase of trial.

          Under AAA rules (which USADA rules closely follow), there is a discovery period. There is almost certainty that he would have been able to examine the evidence against him prior to the hearing. Since the UCI is not a party to the proceedings, they have no legal right to examine the evidence. If he was denied ample opportunity to defend himself, he could have appealed the matter to CAS, to Swiss Courts, or even possibly to US courts, but he chose not to play the game.

          3) If the arbitration panels deny parties their rights during hearings, the matter can be appealed; see above.

          4) I can’t really comment on this, as I am not exactly sure what you are trying to state.

          5) Maybe. And the UCI doesn’t follow their rules either, as presented during the Alex Rasmussen case. Still CAS, reaffirmed his ban. Again, the rules of sport court do not match the rules of US criminal courts. However since LA decided not to play (which as I stated in my previous comment today, was brilliant from a PR perspective), we’ll never know whether arguments about rules not being adhered to would have had any bearing one way or another.

          6) No one yet knows who contributed testimony, though we have a good idea. You can call them rats if you will, but that does not necessarily make them liars. Court systems around the world rely on plea bargaining and sentencing leniency to keep the system moving. It is next to impossible to establish racketeering or conspiracy charges without corroboration from other associated (and guilty) parties. But we don’t know what USADA had on those who contributed testimony (though we can assume Landis & Hamilton were involved, and their tales are in the open, and there is no indication of leniency in their tribulations), so being critical of this is a bit premature.

  45. He tried to take USADA to court to stop them presenting any evidence. He lost.

    Now he’s on the run, ducking from a hearing because he can’t face the evidence.

  46. I’m curious how you came to this conclusion: “If Armstrong’s lawyers said the same thing they could be found in contempt of court.”

    Contempt arises in the context of an existing court order that is later disobeyed (or, I suppose, disruptive behavior in the courtroom). Perhaps I missed some of the procedural wrangling, but I thought this was a motion by the Armstrong camp that was denied. Thus, I’m not sure how you get to the contempt statement. I mean, this was a position piece (as you point out), not filed with any court. The lawyers could’ve signed the same position piece and I’m not sure contempt would have been the result. Can you expand on your conclusion please?

      • True, but I’m not sure expressing those opinions can amount to contempt. For example, if they had appealed this decision, the lawyers obviously would’ve taken a position contrary to the court’s ruling. And, obviously, there would be no contempt. The statement was just that….a statement. There’s no legal effect to it (except, I guess, that the USADA will consider it a capitulation and proceed without LA). So, even if signed by a lawyer, I just don’t see how contempt becomes a possibility.

      • Not contempt in the US of A. You can say pretty much anything you like outside of court. If the lawyers asserted it infront of a jury after a judge told them not to … well, that’s a different issue.

  47. Why has the USADA pursued LA in the first case? If all the tests during the TdFs did not give a positive result then why would the USADA care? Is LA being used as a pawn to pressure the UCI and/or make LA the villain in a cheats-don’t-prosper or cheats-will-always-get-caught?

  48. Yes the judge said that USADA is a legitimate legal body but he also said that their motives were fishy and seemed to be more about politics than actual justice. It is clear from this article that you are against Lance Armstrong and have been for quite some time. Maybe Lance did dope, maybe he didn’t, all we know is that there aren’t any clear cut tests that he has failed (though there are supposed cover ups). And if everyone was doping at that time then why not just wipe out every single race result for 1996 thru 2005?? This is a complete joke from the USADA. They are wasting tax payer money on a case of absolutely no importance. Not to mention they aren’t even following their own rules while still asking others to follow them? Its a joke and should only be viewed as such

  49. ok…….. LA has done what he has always wanted to do………. he’s created a myth…. a legend…… did he ? …didn’t he ? ………. we’ll really never know ………for sprinters/puncheurs/climbers/domestiques/roulleurs/club cyclists/solos/cycle to work/….etc……he’s a fallen idol …’s a sad day for cycling…….. i for one will b gettin out on my velo asap and breathin in the joy of just being me ……………………………………………………………

  50. Why is it that when the conversation turns to Lance’s doping people say he did so much for cancer. The two are only connected if you are prepared to deny the first. Lance cheated, his team cheated, his victories where not real and to this day, he refuses to take the truth like a man. Poor you, Lance, living with yourself and your dollars and your lawyers. The good you do for cancer could be a great thing if you were honest about the rest of your live. I am sad for all of the anonymous ‘us” who believed you, who bought your books and your bracelets, and who wanted to learn how you really did it. But I am sadder for those closer to you whom you looked in the eye and said you never doped. You may have never ‘failed’ a doping test as you claim, but you failed the only test that matter. You betrayed the trust that people put on you.

  51. I find humor in Lance playing the victim against the USADA. Lance has one of the finest Legal and Spin teams in history. And this is a man that left no detail unattended in his tour bids. Now they would have us believe his emotions have the better of him and he is pleading no contest in disgust? Every move by the Legal,and spin team have been carefully choreographed to proclaim innocence while at all cost avoiding their day in court. It seem what this group feared most was actually facing the allegations and evidence acquired by the USADA. Evidence that must be even more damning then alleged in SI, the NY daily New, and 60min since Travis seems like he would also take on the UCI and USAC. I cannot imagine the pressure on Travis Tygart. We have seen a Grand Jury crushed, Senators threatening funding for the USADA, and numerous other publications threatened out of publishing negative articles. But perhaps the most telling thing about Lance the self proclaimed fighter is he took the cowards way out rather then face the charges to clear his name.

    • Absolutely right MV2. Lance decided that the only Court in which he had some chance of a win (or perhaps a draw) was the Court of Public Opinion.

  52. Come on, USADA! Where is the smoking gun? Where is the positive doping test? There is no case against Lance Armstrong, USADA! Instead, use money and power to fight doped athletes of today…..!

    Vive Le Tour!


  53. No evidence….save for that written in Walsh’s books, Kimmage, Whittle et al. The 1999 test failure, the bungs, the corruption, the stupid speeds, the testimony of up to a dozen riders…………, no evidence. Move along.

  54. Having read through some of the posts again I cannot believe that there is a question still in people’s minds as to whether Lance doped, think about his peers, his team members, his rivals…..what has happened to them? Implicated, confessed or found out. Lance went for the easy option for once, he bowed out to prevent the UCI, DS’s, Teams, individuals, sponsors etc having to face music and for Joe Public to witness the endemic corruption and PEDs that have and still are in cycling. The Omerta is alive and well……………..

  55. Karolinka,
    I couldn’t have put it better myself. Well done Inner Ring and those who think alike. Our sport will now be sidelined into a grubby little fringe affair because of hand wringers and this vendetta. You think Festina and Peurto were bad news? Watch the sponsorship dry up and see people snigger at you when you get on your bike as they write your sport off as irrelevant. Watch every athlete who passes a dope test fall under suspicion. You will all be wishing Armstrong had fought this and cleared his name. Yes, congratulations Inner Ring. Job well done.

    • appeasing the powerful never works in the long run DG … the real grubby ones look out the window, giving tacit approval, the silence discouraging the much-needed soul-cleansing, whilst ignoring the elephant in the room …

      MY sport is much healthier for having this cancer removed thank you.

      Sniggering ?? No, I don’t think so …
      Saying quietly with wide eyes “wow, your sport had the balls to do that?” … Yes, I have already seen it first hand, today.

    • DG – I’m sure you’re normally an intelligent adult, but your comment above really is ridiculous. Yes, we all DO wish he cleared his name, or at least faced the music. That’s kind of the point everyone’s making. Whether you support or abhor him, or are in the middle, EVERYONE wanted to see him actually face the music/attempt to clear himself. Except, if he had fought to ‘clear his name’ it would have had the effect of doing the opposite, which is why he didn’t try it. Nobody wants to see LA hounded for no reason. Everyone wants to see cheaters pay. There is a huge difference. And none of this would be happening if LA hadn’t made the choice to cheat. No one forced him. When LA decided to embark on an all-encompassing programme of doping, he made the choice to relegate cycling into a grubby little freakshow. I’d rather have a clean sport that noone watched than a dirty sport…actually, I don’t even consider it a sport if everyone’s doping. Again, do you want to watch a sport or a circus sideshow? It’s precisely because people are unhappy about this that LA’s being brought to justice. Your opinion seems to be that we shouldn’t uncover cheats because of the damage it will do. How about just not cheating in the first place???

  56. I want to commend (most) of the posts here even if I don’t agree with them. Very little of the “you suck, no YOU suck!” polemics that infect most of the other sites, especially where BigTex is involved. The informed and civil folks who write and comment here are what sets Inner Ring apart from everything else on the ‘net. I hope we can keep it that way. Grazie!

  57. In a separate announcement today, the USADA announced Chief Sitting Bull was high in peyote, and awarded the Battle of the Little Big Horn to General Custer.

  58. The thing that really dissappoints me is how utterly petty, grubby and cowardly LA comes out of all this. He could have redeemed himself and tried to help cycling get through this by admitting his past crimes like a true man. Instead we get what seems to be the actions of an indignant, self righteous, hormonal teenager with an immense sense of entitlement and victimisation. He reminds me of me when I was 13. Ironically, the posts of his supporters seem to follow the same hap-hazard pattern. Sad for him and his fans that this is the conclusion of it all. Couldn’t even go out with some balls. Looks like after all the campaigning, the real Cancer was Lance himself, and I’m really glad that someone of such cowardice, duplicity, insecurity and dishonesty has turned his back on cycling, hopefully for good.

    Does it matter who won the tour from 1995-2010? Not really. And I’m glad that I only started following cycling in 2008, because to endure the bare-faced cheating of the naughties would have been too much for me. Sport is about fair competition. If you disagree, go watch WWF or TNA, you’ll see plenty of action and physical endeavour, but the results will be all fixed and pretty meaningless. Pretty much like 1995-2010 in cycling. Do you want that world? Seems like all the Lance-a-maniacs really do lap up that ‘say your prayers, take your vitamins, I definately don’t use vast quantities of PEDS’ bullshit. You’ve been sold the Livestrong lie, you’ve brought the thinking man’s Hulkamania and signed up for the quarterly newsletter. Again, if you want to watch false heroes, false personalities and false results, go watch WWE. If you want to actually watch proper sport, then you must renounce LA and his cowardice and fakery.

    Am I biased against him? No, I’m neutral. I missed all his TDF wins, and to be honest I used to think ‘shut the hell up’ when people were saying he cheated all over the internet. But it over now. Lance, you let everyone down, not by cheating, but by not having the balls to admit it

  59. And DG, if cycling dies because LA ‘couldn’t be bothered’ to clear his name, whose fault do you think that is? And if cycling dies because it can’t manage to function without widespread doping, so be it. I happen to think that LA is the dishonest, cheating minority, and the sport will thrive and flourish now his ilk have cast themselves back into the shadows. I have no desire to watch a competition of doping. If that’s what turns you on then great, sign up LA, Tyler, Floydie and the crew and there you go, you can watch them going up the cols at 100mph. I shed no tears at the demise of that concept.

  60. One positive to come out of this – there is an awesome movie or 3 in there somewhere!! I see Travis Tygart as a king of Woodward and Bernstein, following the dope and seeing where it goes. Albert Finney as Pat Mcquaid (quick, while he’s still alive) – ‘hey kid, you don’t know where this goes, it’s all the way to the president – can you handle it’? It has to be someone idealistic and liberal to play Travis – Norton, Dicaprio etc….LA simply must be played by Christian Bale. Seriously though, for all his douchery, he’s stil an very interesting person. I just hope that he doesn’t take this too badly…’s not worth doing something stupid over.

  61. “The real Cancer was Lance himself.” Priceless! Pharmstrong was cornered facing an insurmoutable amount of evidence and ex-teammates (who are just as cowardly) ready to testify against him and did what all bullies do when facing the music – they quit! Hope all your money buys you peace of mind!


    To all the DS, coaches, trainers, doctors, tv commentators, dopers, and ultimately the UCI, your house of cards is crumbling!

  62. I admit to an emotive side in this, as I have seen Lance’s commitment to cancer survivors first hand. Inspirational stuff.
    In amongst all the debate, I ask you all to think about your top 10 cycling moments: how many of us don’t have a LA moment in there?? The off road cycling moment (that one did not rely on PEDs….)
    Everyone wanted to believe: organisers, sponsors, fans. Was it entertaining?? Hell yeah!! Was it group psychosis, emperors new clothes…….maybe.
    Cycling and it’s sponsors and fans, UCI, the anti-doping communities, just wondering, ultimately, who will be declared a winner in the end? However it ends up, it ain’t over til UCI and USADA have their moment.

    • Lance would certainly make my top 10 PED moments of all time, yes. As for ‘top cycling moments’, a great cycling moment becomes a sick, farcical joke when we discover PEDs are the cause. Who is going to say Ricco up Super-Besse, or Vino/Floydie’s ‘back from the dead’ stage wins are their greatest moment? An idiot, that’s who. In terms of PED World ChampionS, LA is one of the all-time greats. In terms of cycling, he’s a nobody, a dirty footnote, a bad dream. Brice Fellieu is a greater cyclist

      • LA was just one of the factors in his case…….again, group psychosis. I see it time and again. Bankers think its all good fun and within the spirit if not the letter of the law, big pharma stretching the boundaries of what is acceptable, governments convincing themselves and their people that war was justified……so why would sport be any different?
        Kinda like where Basson ended up: In 2000 he published his autobiography Positif and in 2001 he qualified as a sports teacher and began teaching. He now works for the ministry of youth and sport at Bordeaux, in charge of drug tests.

  63. this is like an epic family fight at Thanksgiving dinner! All the goods coming out! It’s not surprising to see a lot of confusion and misunderstanding of the truth of the matter. In fact, herein you will find part of the problem anti doping is trying to fight. So, can we start debating why doping is wrong now? Seems like an awful lot of people have not really asked themselves that question yet.

    Quite right Inrng, this in not about the damn results!

  64. As the dust settles, there is still the question of how complicit the UCI were in all of this. There lies the real house of cards.

    But that fragility might still be secure …the UCI is accountable to no one. Who polices the policeman?

    Will the truth ever see the light of day?

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