Lance Armstrong won't fight doping charges; loses titles

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turbo
Gold Member
Sad. He apparently never failed a doping test. Was he hounded out of his sport? I hope not, though much of this stuff goes on "behind the scenes".

Sad. He apparently never failed a doping test. Was he hounded out of his sport? I hope not, though much of this stuff goes on "behind the scenes".
If I recall right, he only failed one, but it was poorly handled or gotten illegally or something so it was thrown out.

It's definitely a witch hunt. He probably did it, but it's still a witch hunt.

cobalt124
Gold Member
From what I heard the evidence is that his teammates did it and said he did as well, but they haven't backed up what they are saying with evidence. My gut feeling is he is guilty but you cannot act without evidence. If you can take drugs and pass drugs tests that makes me worry about the validity of recent British successes.

BobG
Homework Helper
So, from 1999 to 2010, 9 of the 12 tour winners were stripped of their victories?

These should make some tough Trivial Pursuit questions. People that watched the Tour de France during those years would have a tougher time answering those questions than people that just looked them up.

Well, for a year or two, at least. I guess it's possible that the tour winners during any of those years could change on a regular basis and more than once for any given year. How can a person possibly keep their Trivial Pursuit cards current when the answers keep changing?

Chi Meson
Homework Helper
So, from 1999 to 2010, 9 of the 12 tour winners were stripped of their victories?

These should make some tough Trivial Pursuit questions. People that watched the Tour de France during those years would have a tougher time answering those questions than people that just looked them up.

Well, for a year or two, at least. I guess it's possible that the tour winners during any of those years could change on a regular basis and more than once for any given year. How can a person possibly keep their Trivial Pursuit cards current when the answers keep changing?
Is Jan Ulrich Partying now?

BobG
Homework Helper
Is Jan Ulrich Partying now?
Could be. Only Ullrich's awards from 2005 on were stripped for doping. His three 2nds to
Armstrong still count. Plus he had a 1996 2nd place finish behind Bjarne Riis who admitted doping during his 1996 victory, but was never suspended. Ullrich could be a 5 time winner!

Just to put things into perspective, drugs have been a part of pro cycling for decades - something many people don't realize. I was listening to an interview on NPR and the interviewer had a true D'oh moment. He said the spate of winners caught doping must make one long for the simpler, purer days of riders like 5-time winner Jacques Anquetil - except not only did Anquetil use performance enhancing drugs, and not only did he make no secret of it, but he argued using performance enhancing drugs should stay legal (which they were back in the days when Anquetil won his races); that drugs were absolutely essential for completing ordeals such as the Tour de France and other multi-stage races. Some commended him for his courage and honesty, since the stance on drug use was very similar to the stance on steroids in baseball in the 90's (technically legal, but something your stars such as Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, et al avoided admitting at almost any cost).

And when drugs such as amphetamines were first banned, the penalties for testing positive were usually a time penalty for the race they were caught in. A 10 minute penalty for testing positive was fairly common and was a fairly serious penalty for a rider contending for a tour victory. Eddie Merckx, arguably the best cyclist ever, was penalized for positive tests four times in his career, but never in the Tour de France.

So, in one sense, the public is shocked and outraged when 5 out of the top 10 riders in the 1999 Tour used drugs sometime during their career, and 6/10 in the 2000 Tour, 4/10 in 2001, 6/10 in 2001, 6/10 in 2002, 8/10 in 2003, 5/10 in 2004, 8/10 in 2005. It's more the pain of pro cycling finally making a serious effort to get drugs out of the sport than a sudden surge in drug use. (That doesn't mean they were penalized for that particular tour, as in Ullrich's 2nd place finishes counting even though he was later suspended and stripped of later victories.)

So, Armstrong may be able to say he never failed a drug test and he may be able to say he's being treated unfairly, but I'd be surprised if he actually never used drugs. He certainly could be telling the truth, but if he didn't, he'd be one of a very few didn't (which would make his wins even more remarkable).

But wouldn't that be ironic to strip Armstrong of his victories and award 3 of them to another rider that had also had been suspended and had victories stripped because of doping?

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Borek
Mentor
As far as I can tell whole story - especially the part about the lost titles - is an exaggeration and misrepresentation of facts.

From what I understand USADA says Armstrong was stripped of his titles, but USADA has no authority over UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale). And it is UCI that decides who holds the title, not USADA. So far UCI said something like "if we will be presented with serious proofs, we will make a decision". But USADA hunts the Armstrong for so many years and so far failed to present the proof, somehow I find it hard to believe they have something new now. The only new fact is that Armstrong said "I am tired of fighting them" which doesn't mean "I am guilty", unless my English fails me big. But I have a feeling it is USADA that has problems with reading with comprehension.

That's regardless of whether Armstrong was clean or not.

Chi Meson
Homework Helper
I think it is significant that Lance NEVER, ever said, especially when specifically pressed to do so, "I have never used performance enhancing drugs."

His responses have always been (as already noted)
"I have never tested positive"
"Lance Armstrong has never admitted to using drugs" (Yes, in the third person)
"The policy of the USPS team is that we are opposed to blood doping." (And "blood doping" usually refers to the relatively simple act of adding extra blood, often your own blood that was saved-up over the prior year).

The fact that he would never say "I have never used performance enhancing drugs during the Tour de France" is very telling. Wiggins came out and said as much (dang it all if he ever falls!)

Was it Anquetil or Hinault who said "You don't win the tour on bottled water"?

Edit:
This http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2012/jul/13/bradley-wiggins-dope-drugs for example is something that Lance never came close to saying.

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I don't have any strong feelings either way. I'm not into sport at all.

He should have stuck to trumpet playing.

arildno
Homework Helper
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
He should have stuck to trumpet playing.
Or he should have played with strumpets.

Borek
Mentor
Earlier UCI statement on USADA actions:

For the UCI it is clear that USADA claims an authority that it does not have and uses procedures that violate basic principles of due process.

The absence of any evidence that has been made available to the respondents and to the UCI, the fact that USADA has no results management jurisdiction in this case, the fact that USADA refuses to have its file assessed by an independent results management authority and the fact that USADA continues to claim in these circumstances publicly that a doping conspiracy has taken place indeed brings UCI to the conclusion that USADA has no respect for the rules and for the principles of due process. This raises great concern.
Again, I am not defending Armstrong, I just find the original statement of Armstrong loosing his titles idiotic in the circumstances.

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BobG
Homework Helper
Was it Anquetil or Hinault who said "You don't win the tour on bottled water"?
Neither. It was Eddie Merkcx. (Actually he said "You don't win the tour on bread and water.")

Hinault said, "... you can win the tour on mineral water." Granted, he said this long after he retired in response to an entire team being kicked out of the Tour in 1998 for doping.

Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
How does one prove that one didn't use doping in the past - especially in the absence of evidence that one did.

As far as I know, it is simply conjecture, which it seems is based on hearsay. Yes, no?

Is this guilt by association?

Was Armstrong not properly tested? If he did use doping, how was it that he didn't fail subsequent tests?

Redbelly98
Staff Emeritus
Homework Helper
I think it is significant that Lance NEVER, ever said, especially when specifically pressed to do so, "I have never used performance enhancing drugs."
I had noticed that too. He would deny that there was any evidence of his using them. Still, I always wanted to believe he was innocent.

How does one prove that one didn't use doping in the past - especially in the absence of evidence that one did.

As far as I know, it is simply conjecture, which it seems is based on hearsay. Yes, no?
I wouldn't think it is hearsay, the new evidence is that former teammates are willing to testify that they saw Armstrong using performance-enhancing substances during the years he was winning the Tour.

Could be. Only Ullrich's awards from 2005 on were stripped for doping. His three 2nds to
Armstrong still count. Plus he had a 1996 2nd place finish behind Bjarne Riis who admitted doping during his 1996 victory, but was never suspended. Ullrich could be a 5 time winner!
It's worth mentioning that he did win it outright in 1997 -- I guess you are counting that among the 5.

BobG
Homework Helper
Was Armstrong not properly tested? If he did use doping, how was it that he didn't fail subsequent tests?
The drug test procedures aren't secret. In effect, they establish the limits on how much a rider can dope and the types of drugs/procedures they can use without failing the tests. For high profile riders that can afford the best procedures, those procedures should provide 100% certainty that they'll always pass a drug test. Except no one can achieve 100% success forever. Eventually, someone always gets caught and, presumably, a long enough career and everyone is sure to get caught at least once.

From Bernard Kohl, who was caught doping after his third place finish in the 2008 Tour: http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/kohl-tells-all-about-doping-1

“I was tested 200 times during my career, and 100 times I had drugs in my body,” he said, according to the New York Times. “I was caught, but 99 other times, I wasn’t. Riders think they can get away with doping because most of the time they do. Even if there is a new test for blood doping, I’m not even sure it will scare riders into stopping. The problem is just that bad.”
The younger, anonymous riders are probably clean - simply because they can't afford the procedures used by the top riders. Once the riders have established their careers and can afford the more expensive procedures, they usually use them.

Astronuc
Staff Emeritus

Lance Armstrong confessed to Oprah Winfrey during an interview Monday that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France, according to the Associated Press.

Dozens of former teammates, support staff and competitors already have detailed Armstrong's use. The United States Anti-Doping Agency released a 1,000-page report that was staggering in its detail proving it. There have been books and investigative reports and on-the-record accusations. Armstrong has been stripped of his titles, dumped by most of his sponsors and banned from competition.
. . . .

Sad. He apparently never failed a doping test. Was he hounded out of his sport? I hope not, though much of this stuff goes on "behind the scenes".
He used EPO, which is natural and always present in the body. So as long as you stay inside of a reasonable range then you will pass the test.

Many very close associates testified against him.

BobG
Homework Helper
Drugs are such a big part of sports that it's hard to know how to handle doping charges.

Did Armstrong really gain an unfair advantage over his competitors in the races that he won? Or are drugs so deeply ingrained in the sport that competitors won't stop using drugs unless they're absolutely sure their opponents will?

And, if the latter, stripping Armstrong of 7 titles could go a long way to making drugs the exception rather than the rule.

Pro cycling isn't the only sport plagued by drug use.

The 1988 Olympic 100 meter finals was a pretty good example of how prevalent drugs are in track. Of the 8 competitors in that race, 5 tested positive sometime in their careers (and Ben Johnson in that particular race). And of the 3 that never tested positive as an athlete, one (Ray Stewart) was later banned as a coach for helping his athletes dope for races.

And this year, baseball had no one voted into the Hall of Fame because most of the top candidates all used drugs during their career.

And this year, baseball had no one voted into the Hall of Fame because most of the top candidates all used drugs during their career.
Maybe it's worth freezing all the old records/halls and then open a new record book for the current generation to compete against.

lisab
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Many very close associates testified against him.
Seems he was more feared than respected:

"He was Tony Soprano," author Dan Coyle, who wrote a book about Armstrong, told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "When you crossed him, he cut you dead. You were gone. The question is, is he going to apologize to the people he hurt along the way? "

Former Armstrong teammate Frankie Andreu also talked about Armstrong's wrath.

"Anybody that crossed his path or didn't go along with his plan, he set out to take them down. And he was very powerful and influential and did take them down," Andreu told ESPN radio host Colin Cowherd on Tuesday.
http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/15/us/armstrong-critics-vindication/index.html?hpt=hp_c1

He sounds like a first-class jerk to me.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/lance-armstrong-and-his-long-history-with-doping-a-877550.html

(p.1)
Armstrong benefited from the lax doping tests. Furthermore, he participated in a limited number of races, focusing primarily on the Tour de France, which significantly reduced the number of tests he was exposed to. The UCI also largely spared the pro cyclists unannounced tests during training. The risk of being taken by surprise somewhere was close to zero.

His team also refined its warning system. During the Tour, two observers would sit at the windows in the hotel and would notify the team members when testers turned up. The riders also trusted their crafty team director Johan Bruyneel, who often knew hours or even days in advance when testers were going to appear. No one knew where Bruyneel was getting his tips.

If there was any trouble, if something did go wrong, the boss took care of it. In 2001, a blood test taken from Armstrong during the Tour de Suisse revealed suspicious results, a clear sign for doping analysts. But there was no official investigation. Soon afterwards, Armstrong donated $25,000 to the UCI, and later another$100,000, allegedly to support its efforts to fight doping. To ensure that no one would hit upon the idea that Armstrong was trying to bribe the officials, UCI honorary President Hein Verbruggen said in 2011: "Lance Armstrong has never used doping. Never, never, never. I say this not because I am a friend of his, because that is not true. I say it because I'm sure." Verbruggen has since denied having made the statement, though it was widely reported at the time.
Betsy's father, a man who had been bitterly poor before emigrating to the US from Yugoslavia, was adamant that his daughter should not sully the reputation of an American hero. Frankie's father was also concerned and asked them to find a way to get around testifying. The Andreus were shocked to realize that their parents were trying to encourage them to lie or keep quiet.
(p.2)
A conference on fighting cancer was scheduled for July 2008 in Austin, and Armstrong wanted then Senator Barack Obama as his star guest. But Obama, the Democratic presidential candidate at the time, was on his campaign tour through Europe and had no time for Armstrong's event. Armstrong was furious and called Obama's fellow Democrat, Senator John Kerry, threatening to turn the members of his foundation against Obama. He had become so overcome by hubris that he no longer took no for an answer.
When a doping control officer with the French anti-doping agency came to his villa in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat to collect urine, blood, fingernail and hair samples, Armstrong had him wait outside for 20 minutes. It was a violation of the rules, because Armstrong was required to remain under supervision once the testers arrived. But there were no consequences. Instead, UCI President Pat McQuaid criticized the French action, calling it "not very professional."

Armstrong came in third in the Tour that year. Many in cycling were pleased to have their superstar back. Doors were flung open for him everywhere he went. French President Nicolas Sarkozy received Armstrong at the Elysée Palace in July 2010. Soon afterwards, the budget of the National Anti-Doping Laboratory in Paris was cut in half. Its director Pierre Bordry, who had ordered strict testing of the pro cyclists during the Tour, resigned in frustration. Armstrong despised Bordry.

"Au revoir Pierre", he tweeted.
US federal authorities investigated Armstrong and his former racing team for almost two years. They suspected the team of having misused taxpayer money for doping purposes, because the US Postal Service, the team sponsor for many years, is a US government agency. On Feb. 3, 2012, a district attorney in California terminated the investigation, but without stating any reasons.

It looked like a big win for Armstrong. "Our legal system has failed," Betsy Andreu said angrily. "That's what happens when someone can afford attorneys with connections at the very top of the Justice Department."
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/history-of-doping-catches-up-with-lance-armstrong-a-877960.html

dick pound of wada also says cycling could even get completely dropped from the olympic programme if it doesn't clean itself up. that's a pretty big stick but it seems they have it coming: