Lance launches his new cologne…

12 10 2012

EPO – the scent of victory!

So a whole slew of Lance’s US Postal teammates have come forward and admitted they doped while on the team and that he not only doped, but was instrumental in pressuring/aiding them in doping and that he was involved in witness intimidation to aid the cover up. You can read USADA’s case online here and a summary is here. I’ve heard more than one lawyer who was not involved with the case on either side review the evidence and describe it as devastating. From rider testimony, to financial records, to emails and other documents what stands out to me is that so many different sources of information all say the same thing – there was an uber sophisticated doping program going on at US Postal and that LA was at the heart of it.

I think this whole process has been important and I’m glad USADA had the courage to go after US Postal and Lance. Why is it important? Well everyone in the peleton knew what was going on. As young riders came up the ranks Lance was the undisputed king. It was clear if you wanted to have any chance of rising to that level you had to dope. If you have any doubt about this reasoning just read the doping admissions of Levi, Big George and gang. By destroying the legacy of LA the myth that you can cheat and get away with it is busted. You may not get caught in the race you doped, but one day you will be held accountable and your legacy will be in ruins. That’s a powerful incentive to race clean.

What I think we need to ask next is why the US Federal Prosecutor that investigated the same evidence before USADA took up the case decided to drop the matter without filing any charges. It’s clear that there was overwhelming evidence to support the charges of doping at US Postal. My guess is Lance had friends in high places that were able to shut the investigation down. If that’s true than we ought to appreciate the work that Travis Tygart at USADA has done, because there was probably a whole slew of behind the scenes attacks we have not heard about.

Here’s a few perspectives on the USADA case from the media.



14 responses

12 10 2012
Steve Jones

What I want to know is this. How come it takes SO long after the event to produce the evidence if their testing program is professional? and… if they are going to strip him of his titles, who were the REAL winners of those races? Were they also tested and pursued to the same degree? Weren’t they also using enhancers? If so, didn’t Lance still win? He still had to train, sit on the bike and ride it. Can the USADA PROVE that the other riders didn’t use EPO’s? Are they testing athletes in other disciplines ( not cycling ) for taking similar drugs? What are the substances allowed for training at TOUR level?If one guy drinks three cans of Monster Energy and wins the race? Doesn’t he have an unfair advantage over the guy that drank water? i mean where do you draw the lines? USADA draws the lines right? And if you’d had cancer wouldn’t you have taken some kind of drugs or whatever to beat it?
And would you have stopped taking them because you were taking part in one of the toughest events on the planet.I’m not judging anyone and the facts speak for themselves BUT there are lots of gray areas. Hold on folks… Neil Armstrong was NOT the first man on the moon because it’s just come to light he was taking drugs! So we’ll just disqualify him from that event shall we?
What’s done is done.
What happens now will happen.

12 10 2012

@Steve – Lance still gets to keep his celebrity and millions of dollars the guys he cheated out of a career can’t go back and get a do over. So in the end Lance isn’t really being punished to the full extent that would be required to make things fair for the riders that didn’t cheat.

Beyond that loads of riders from that era were pursued and punished for cheating. Lance had the most sophisticated doping system and the most money to put into cheating so it was incredibly hard to prove.

The fact Lance was a fast bike racers is undisputed and the fact he lied and cheated throughout the prime of his career is also now undisputed. That lets everyone decide for themselves how they feel about his accomplishments. If you want to continue consider him the real winner of 7 TdeFs go for it. OTOH if you want to think of him as the greatest ring leader in cycling’s doping history you can think of it that way as well.

You might want to read this perspective to get a sense of the damage done to riders who raced clean and who were kept from ever becoming successful.

12 10 2012

BTW – as far as his TdeF titles go I think they should be stripped and nobody should be awarded the wins. The guys that deserved to win weren’t even selected for a team most likely.

12 10 2012

IMO, all of the top contenders were doping. To award a clean win, I think you would have to go quite far down the results to find that person. Who really cares now? I suppose if you want to dismantle the entire race historically, it could be done. Which rider who won any past TDF was clean and how far back do you want to go? Maybe there should be a separate race for natural riders, like in bodybuilding? What about women’s racing……what’s going on there? I say start focusing on what is happening now and stop dredging up the past.

12 10 2012

The clean racers from the past who tried to compete without doping and the riders who came forward about doping the LA era and were vilified deserve to be vindicated. Let’s keep in mind LA was still competing in races these last few years. He may not have been at the TdeF, but he was lining up to compete elsewhere.

What proving LA guilty does for today’s riders is show that if you cheat you will get caught. It may not happen the day of the race, but it will happen. That’s going to be strong incentive for a young rider with a bottle or EPO in their hand not to use it.

By leaving LA alone there would always have been the myth of Lance – the guy who cheated his way to fame and fortune. Young riders could convince themselves they’d get away with it as well and live the dream like Lance.

12 10 2012
Micheal Blue

Very funny picture…and very sad at the same time. Yes, it’s important that doping is revealed, regardless of how far back it goes. Young people getting into the sport (or thinking about it), need to understand what’s going on and also that there are consequences. People should not be rewarded for cheating. The worst part of it is how much damage doping does to the health of the cyclist. You cannot pump man-made chemicals into your body, and un-naturally screw around with your blood without having your health affected. It may take a while for the affection to surface as a physical symptom, but….ouch.

12 10 2012

Yawn, yawn, who cares. This is old news really. I know folks get all bent on LA, but really the TDF is really run by big money interest like most major sports now. Where there’s BIG money, ethics and truth lose out. As far as I;m concerned he won the 7 TDF, did it against all the other teams that weren’t as good at cheating. But they all were no doubt.

If I want to follow real sports/endurance racing, I’ll track the Great Divide Race. Now that is really the toughest bike race and has the most pure of spirit racers.

12 10 2012

Brian – The TD is not without it’s own controversies. For example the two lead riders this year have been accused of breaking rules in how they stuck together for so long working against the rest of the field in what is supposed to be a solo event. Amateur road racers and high school athletes have been caught doping. Cheating is not just a problem when millions of dollars are involved.

For the TdeF the sad part is the racers who didn’t even get to compete because they wouldn’t dope. They are the real losers.

12 10 2012
Greg Weber (@onespeedgreg)

I was out riding, did i miss something?

12 10 2012

Yes, let’s celebrate the massive expenditure on the part of the US government, and for what? It seems to me like yet another extension of the Puritanical Drug War, much less the questionable overreach of the Fed’s long eye. Yes, Postal was a nasty organization, but what about 360lb “grain fed” football players on weekly view or Viagra. Aren’t you pleased?

12 10 2012
Steve Jones

Vik, the points you make are good and solid, can’t disagree with your thinking
especially for those clean riders who lost out. As you say, they won’t ever get another chance but if anything needed to be done about this situation, it needed to be done AT THE TIME in order to make that difference, not after the event.We feel a need to punish war criminals years after the event and we do, but it doesn’t change history or stop war. The focus should now be on preventing those EPO products being available ( can it be done? probably not ) , Yes Lance may get to keep his treasure but he also has to live with the fact that every single person out there on a bike knows what he did. Living with that might be harder than he thinks and may get to him ( mentally ) in the end, in one way or another.

I like your idea that NOBODY won those 7 tours.
Who would have thought it? Lance Armstrong…a nobody.

And one last thought on a level playing field. It very often isn’t and competitors in many sports disciplines know this. It is up to the race organizers to decide who competes on the day. not the athletes taking part.
LA was selected, did race and did win. He cheated and that’s the part HE has to take responsibility for and live with (and of course all those involved). I don’t expect that will be easy. It seems he has now joined Team Tiger Woods.

13 10 2012
Mark J.

Any time big money and/or big fame is involved someone is going to cheat. I find it interesting how many people just accept this. I am on the side where I believe that society is better off if we de-incentivize cheating and reward those who play by the rules. I just wish that the justice dept would grow a pair and go after upper banking management for the same reason- oh yeah same problem their connected with the “right” people. This pattern hurts everyone who plays fair. Although I am not a fan of lawsuits and Lawers With LA, I’d like to see some of his sponsors come back and sue for fraud. Oops you mean they were in on it too, and usps is a goverment entity. This is really a mess.

13 10 2012
Micheal Blue

@Vik: “For the TdeF the sad part is the racers who didn’t even get to compete because they wouldn’t dope. They are the real losers.”

You know, Vik, I actually think they are the winners, though not financially (at least not in the short term). Extreme races like the TdF are too hard on the body; I don’t think the human body is made to withstand such stress, even though it can be trained to seemingly do so. That was my chiropractic self talking 🙂

BTW, i don’t think the Tour Divide race is the toughest one; I think the Iditarod Trail Invitational bike race is the toughest one. Just finished reading a book by Jan Kopka who won the race in 2007 (he also biked TD). Biking across Alaska in winter…

14 10 2012

I don’t feel sorry for the guys Lance “cheated out of fame and fortune”. They made a purposeful decision to race clean and they are HEROES for it. They shouldn’t be degraded into being some poor, woeful victims. I sure look up to them and those guys will probably do well in whatever endeavor they turn to because they stand for what they believe and are obviously not into taking shortcuts.
Travis Tygart should not be elevated to hero status. He’s just making his name by going after the biggest fish out there….A guy who was racing during a time when “everybody doped” and it’s pretty much impossible to figure out who should be where in the standings. There is no “fair” and there really is no “justice” in this mess and the whole deal seems just as ugly as the doping problem it’s fighting.
Also…Why is nobody complaining about Tyler Hamilton making money off of his doping? He’s written a book that details his doping exploits and he’s making money and gaining new fame. Lance won races and relegated other people to lower finishes while he garnered money. Tyler wins book sales and relegates non doper cycling books to lower finishes while he makes money. The EPO has increased the strength of his book as strange as that sounds.

Is a positive drug test what cleanses someone? An admission of guilt after fighting your doper charges with crazy defenses like a vanishing twin or tainted meat? Proclaiming your innocence and saying you’ll spend every Euro you have to keep your Olympic gold medal…..Only to have it snatched and then admit you are guilty in order to take others down with you?

I’d like to kick Floyd in his testosterone enhanced testicles, spray some tainted urine on Tyler Hamilton and his invisible twin, slap Hincapie and Levi with my hand painted up as an American flag, and crack a Miller beer bottle over Armstrong’s noggin for ruining my image of cycling. There’s no positive aspect for me as my somewhat pure image of cycling is tainted like a Contador urine sample. It’ll be years before I’ll believe it’s clean and then I’ll probably be wrong again. Ugh…

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