So now we\’ll never find out about Lance

Armstrong’s attorneys sent a letter to USADA today saying he won’t fight drug allegations by the agency that the cyclist called part of an “unconstitutional witch hunt.”

“We will have an official release tomorrow, but he will be banned for life and loss of results since Aug 1, 1998,” Annie Skinner, a USADA spokeswoman, said in an email.

The cyclist’s attorneys sent a letter to USADA today saying they wouldn’t seek arbitration in the case. His decision comes three days after a federal judge in Armstrong’s hometown of Austin, Texas, rejected the cyclist’s request to block USADA from proceeding with its case.

“If I thought for one moment that by participating in USADA’s process I could confront these allegations in a fair setting and — once and for all — put these charges to rest, I would jump at the chance,” Armstrong said in a letter. “But I refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair.”

No court case, no hearing, presentation of and potential rebuttal of the evidence.

So for evermore one side can say \”We got \’im!\” and the other can say \”We wuz railroaded\”.

For as far as I can see at present there is no actual physical evidence, just testimony from some possibly disgruntled ex-team mates.

No idea what the truth is here but it\’s a sad way to end it all I feel.

23 thoughts on “So now we\’ll never find out about Lance”

  1. Drugs or not (and I suspect quite possibly not) he still had to pedal faster than everybody else many of whom were most likely drugged to the eyeballs.

    As you say, a sad way to end.

  2. ‘possibly disgruntled’.

    It is a big ‘possible’. I see no obvious motive. I am happy to write him off as a cheat with little fear of being proved wrong.

  3. Armstrong points out that he passed clean on every one of the hundreds of tests that he was ever asked to take. So there is overwhelming evidence of his innocence which USADA refuses to consider in favour of tarnished testimony from two drug cheats.

  4. Anyone who knows about cycling and power outputs and Lance’s post cancer improvement has long ago concluded that he was taking EPO. His use of the Italian doping specialist Ferrari (real name) as his medic was further evidence.

    We all know that Ulrich and Landis were drugged up. Contador is not called contadope for nothing. It is also quite shocking that Vinoukourov was allowed to participate in the cylcing olympics after being caught blood doping in the 2007 tour. He too was linked to Ferrari.

    Lance here is doing his best as usual to obfuscate and play the victim. Only this time he cannot blame the French. His nightmare would be to have George Hincapie, his very credible ex-colleague, give evidence against him. That would remove all doubt.

  5. passed hundred of tests over years and years vs. testimony of unnamed persons offered immunity to testify against him by bureaucrats out to create an example they can hold up to everyone. Thanks, but I’ll continue to believe he’s innocent.

  6. Well, on the one hand Armstrong could be such a superhuman that he could be capable of beating all the other doped cyclists year after year while himself being clean as a whistle. And it could just be a coincidence that such a long line-up of former colleagues all say he doped.

    On the other hand, the simple explanation is that he doped like all the others, but being the consumate professional he undoubtedly was, and employing the best medical advice, he mostly succeeded in not testing positive.

    Armstrong has elected to allow us all to believe what we want: what a sportsman he is. I will continue to believe that he was the best grand tour rider of his day, and, like all the other GC contenders, he doped.

    But the case isn’t over: the insurers who in the end gave in and paid him a $5m bonus will be asking for their money back.

  7. Many have long been suspect of his TdF success, but as he and many others have pointed out he passed every test over many years. Therefore if it did go to court what would the court take into consideration – two disgruntled ex team mates who were probably treated as second best during their time in the team, or hundreds of clean tests ?
    One thing I do disagree with is that he has been hounded by the US authorities for years where there were essentially trying to bully him into submission. If they were on strong ground they should have took it straight to the legal system.

  8. There’s certainly more against him that “two disgruntled ex team mates”. Stephen Swart, Frankie Andreu, and Floyd Landis have previously borne witness, and USADA says that it’s got 10 former teammates ready to testify. It claims also to have physical evidence “consistent with” blood doping.

    There’s a round-up here of various allegations against Armstrong over the years.

    However, I think it would be wrong to strip Armstrong of his TdF wins. And if they do strip him, it would be very wrong to award the titles to anyone else, because they could so easily be transferring them from one doper to another.

  9. Re Paul B’s comments at 7, is there anyone else who’ll be wanting their money back? Sorry to think such base thoughts.

    And can the USADA strip him of Tour titles? Could the US Agency for Good Refereeing and Linesmanship strip England of the 1966 world cup on the grounds that the Russian linesman made a mistake? Sounds lime extra-territoriality gone mad.

  10. So why will an ‘innocent’ man not fight the case?

    This is his entire legacy we are talking about, not a small thing for someone who has achieved as much as he.

    He knows that this will be seen by many (most?) as an admission of guilt.

    Which all thing considered, makes me think ‘guilty’.

    (he was still the best rider of his time – when pretty much everyone else was doping)

  11. His explanation for not contesting the charges seems disingenuous. The guy beat cancer and endured some of the harshest physical challenges known to man but he can’t bring himself to face a court case? C’mon!

    If he (a) had been and drugs and (b) admitted it he’d come out of it looking better because we could get around to realising that realising that winning the Tour is an awesome achievement however drugged-up you are.

  12. I think the best strategy to employ when contesting the TdF is to ensure you finish second, thus assuring you of the win a few years later when the chap who wore the yellow jersey in the final day inevitably gets busted for drugs. Because I have little doubt that, whether the cyclists are doped or not, they are all employing exactly the same tactics. Only it is always the winner who gets put under the microscope and stripped of his title, which gets handed to the guy who came 2nd no questions asked. Could we perhaps be seeing Froome as the 2012 TdF champion within a few years? On current form, yes we could.

    Armstrong is being shafted here: whatever he did, everyone else was doing it too. So either void the whole tournament or let his achievements stand.

  13. Well, newTim, at the Seoul games 100m final, they found out in the end that 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 7th & 8th were cheats.

    There’s an amusing story in Run, Swim, Throw, Cheat. This guy gets the team doctor to inject him. Next day he runs a blinder.

    Then he gets remorse. Goes to the race organisers and confesses. They test him.

    Clean! They go to the team doctor who admits he just used a sugar solution.

    They convicted both of them. Even placebos are banned.

  14. Two things:

    So what if he doped? If everyone does it, then there’s not much point entering the Tour de France unless you do. And if everyone does it, it’s churlish to expect someone to not dope *and* beat everyone else.

    Also, what’s wrong with doping in the first place?

  15. “just testimony from some possibly disgruntled ex-team mates.”

    Perhaps they wanted to bang Sheryl Crow?

    “… evidence “consistent with” blood doping.”

    Seven consecutive Tour wins?

    “Also, what’s wrong with doping in the first place?”

    Forcing people to risk their health to compete in their sport? I like Paul Merton’s approach, talking about the 100 metres: “People say, ‘You can’t catch cheats so they should let people use anything they want.’ Fair enough, I’ll have a motorbike.”

  16. There is physical evidence that Armstrong used peds, just not anything that would constitute a positive test result.

    In the 1999, his urine samples were found to contain corticortisoids but the amount was below the threshold to trigger a non-negative test result.

    There was no test for epo in 1999, but later testing on cyclists b-samples from that edition showed that Armstrong’s samples contained epo. Again, because there was no a-sample – they had been used up by the labs testing them during the race – there could be no non-negative declaration against him because the testing was only done for research purposes and both the a and b samples need to be tested and found to contain the banned substance.

    You can say that Armstrong never failed a drugs test but you can’t say that there is no physical evidence against him.

    In any case, the performance improvement brought on by epo use are so vast that it is unimaginable that a clean athlete could win against one on epo. Many of the few clean riders of the time struggled simply to keep up with the peloton.

  17. In France, doping became a criminal offence in 1965 and was further restricted after the 1998 Festina drug scandal. You can go to jail for it. Not in Spain.

    That is why Lance in moved his training centre from Nice to Girona. In fact I once saw him out training with Sheryl ;0)

    Despite what I said above, I am a huge fan of Lance. He was trapped in a terrible lie and this must be messing with his sanity. But he was not the best. Greg Lemonde was better.

    However, the French, who almost all live and train in France, did not dope. Prison was too great a fear. That is why the kermits never got near the podium for 10 years.

  18. Of course he doped.

    So did everyone else in the EPO years. Just look at the top ten in, say, the 2003 TdF:

    Armstrong: doper, per his teammates
    Ullrich: kicked out of 2006 Tour for doping
    Vinokourov: positive in 2007
    Hamilton: positive in 2007
    Zubeldia: never caught doping (may actually have been clean)
    Mayo: positive in 2007
    Basso: caught on tape planning to dope in 2006/7 (Operation Puerto)
    Moreau: positive in 1998
    Sastre: never caught doping (may actually have been clean)
    Mancebo: caught in Operation Puerto in 2006
    Menchov: customer of Humanplasma

  19. Bullshit, Tim.

    Read ‘From Lance to Landis’ and then try to say you ‘don’t know’ whether he doped or not.

  20. I more or less assume he doped. But I like his stand on this – basically “you had your chance, I don’t have to answer to you now. You wanna strip my titles? Do what you’ve got to do. Whatever you put in your official records, everyone knows who won.”

    His point about not wanting to front some jumped up committee to defend his record is valid. Why bother? Sorry, USADA, you missed the window.

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