Thursday, October 11, 2012

Deception Depth and Lance Armstrong

There are days when I wish, even for a fleeting moment, that I did not know Statement Analysis.  The truth carries with it a weight of sadness, and over the years, each time that Lance spoke, I knew his denial was unreliable.  As I waited for a reliable denial, it became apparent that one was not in the making.  After enough statements, deception was indicated.  In the years that passed, the fleeting regret did not return.

"I have never  failed  in hundreds of drug tests" is like a bank robber saying that he made legal withdrawals hundreds of times without stealing.  The number of ethical withdrawals does not negate even a single theft.  Or worse, it is the thief who says, "I've never been caught."

In Statement Analysis, we have a principle that says:  Do not interpret.  Do not exchange the words "did not" for the word "never."

"I have never drugged" is not to say "I did not drug."

Statistically, "never" when by itself, is not reliable.  If someone said, "I did not use banned substances during the race" followed by, "I have never used banned substances in my life", it is reliable.  But by itself, the word "never", even if echoed loudly a la Joey Buttafouco, in the ears of a judge, while under oath to God, is not a substitute for "did not."

We now learn that Lance Armstrong was the mastermind behind what the investigation calls the greatest scheming in the history of sports.

His former teammates testified against him.  We learned that he pushed young kids into drugging and that he had an elaborate system of avoiding testing and masking agents.  He claimed to have broken all communications between himself and the Italian doctor genius of doping, yet receipts and emails tell otherwise.

He has his then ex wife involved in distributing drugs and just as he was the "sheriff" of the peloton, he was the sheriff of his team and of his own public relations.  With just a smile, he could quickly issue a denial and cut the throat of his accuser in a single sentence.  He portrayed his achievements as "miraculous" and condemned those who do not believe in miracles.  He even paid of a cycling agency to look the other way while his legion of lawyers and public relations workers condemned and ridiculed anyone who dared question him, publicly or privately.

He did not just cheat at cycling, he cheated at life by not only allowing himself to be hailed as a hero, but that he set himself up to be a hero to the many who face cancer.  He took drugs before cancer, during cancer and after cancer.  He took it before he had cancer, and he used during his "comeback" in the late 2000's.  He destroyed lives and reputation of those whom dared to  oppose him just as he destroyed cyclists, drugged or not, who opposed him during the race.  He built for himself an empire that even now, in the face of all the evidence, defends him.  It is an empire founded upon deceit and fraud, dirty with drugs, bribes, and plenty of guilt to spread around.

Did everyone lie and testify falsely against him?

Were the bank receipts all forgeries?

Were the tested samples all tainted?

Was there really a conspiracy against him greater and broader than the billion dollar empire of who's throne he sat upon?

Yet, for us, the simple listeners and readers, we let Lance Armstrong's own words guide us and we concluded:

If he cannot bring himself to say he didn't do it, neither shall we say it for him.

The fallout will continue with more casualties, including the organization that accepted a check for $100,000 from him, via his manager.

Here is a July 1, 2005 article from Cycling News  in which Lance Armstrong is sited for donating money to anti-drug causes:

"When Lance Armstrong retires at the end of the Tour de France, he will leave behind an impressive legacy as a cyclist, with his six (or seven) Tour de France victories at the top of the list. He will also be well known for his work in the cancer community, exemplified by the millions of LiveStrong wristbands that he has sold to raise money for cancer research. A more infrequently reported fact, although one that is by no means a secret, is that he has helped the UCI over the years in its fight against doping, by donating money to the cause. "I am a huge advocate of WADA, USADA, drug controls, random controls, out of competition controls," said Armstrong in an interview with Cyclingnews last year. "I have donated money to the UCI over the years to increase [drug controls].""

Armstrong paid for UCI's new Sysmex blood testing machine which would catch cheaters.  This reminds me of Elvis Presley at the White House, stoned out of his mind, receiving a special anti drug badge from President Nixon. 

 UCI (cycling) was said to have been bribed into throwing out  failed drug tests.  When  former team-mate, Tyler Hamilton, publicly accused Armstrong of doping in a long-form interview for 60 Minutes in the US in 2011, Hein Verbruggen from UCI said: "That's impossible, because there is nothing. I repeat again: Lance Armstrong has never used doping. Never, never, never."

Readers here have no problem with his statement, highlighting the distancing language, sensitivity of repetition and emphasis on the word "never", as Verbruggen sounds even worse than Joey Buttafouco.  
The investigation concluded that UCI, for money, could make bad drug tests "go away."

It also says that six Armstrong samples that formed the basis of allegations in a 2005 L'Equipe article about the 1999 Tour de France contained "resoundingly positive values", according to a chart of the results recently obtained by Usada. The samples were retrospectively tested for EPO by the French Anti-Doping Laboratory in 2005, because a reliable test was not available until 2000.

The report only confirms what we here knew: Lance Armstrong used. 

What we did not know was how much in control of the entire conspiracy Lance was, or how vast its guilt spread out. 
Armstrong, himself, fueled anti sentimentality on his Larry King interview:

"French cycling is in one of its biggest lulls it has been ever. I don't know, I think it's been 20 or 25 years since they won the Tour de France. And times are tough, you know, and as I was saying earlier to somebody, the day I retired, they wrote a front-page editorial on L'Equipe, and they said at the end of the article - or the end of the editorial - 'never has an athlete's retirement been so welcome.' So..."

Readers here know how to apply technique to this statement:  "I've had great relations with the French people. If I go to a restaurant or...I lived there for four years. I lived in the South of France for four years. I had great friends there. I think it's a great country, But the style of the media and obviously certain people in the organisation are not up to par."

Instead of issuing a denial, when questioned on his actual defence against the French sports daily's allegations, Armstrong used the relationship between himself and the French media as grounds to blast procedures used in announcing the test results, saying, "No protocol was followed. And then you get a phone call from a newspaper that says we found you to be positive six times for EPO. Well, since when did newspapers start governing sports? When does a newspaper decide they're going to govern and sanction athletes? That's not the way it works." 

This is an accomplished liar. 

He continued along this vein later in the interview, saying, "Who opened the samples? What protocol was followed? Nothing. It was all thrown out the door. We cannot build a system of faith and trust in an anti-doping fight if we don't have faith in it. There's no way. If I'm an athlete, if I'm active today, which I'm not, thank goodness, I don't trust that system."

He had need to attack the methods, procedures and even the motives, instead of saying, "I didn't dope" in any manner. We later learned that one was positive for EPO, but since it was classified as for scientific purposes, the positive test could not be used:  a technicality. 

"They have set about a protocol and a code that everybody has to live by. And they violated the code several times. They don't have an answer for it. You know, you talk to the head of WADA and he doesn't have an answer. You talk to the head of the French Ministry for Sport, he doesn't have an answer. The lab runs from it. The only person who's sticking by the story is L'Equipe."

But when asked whether he would have been clean if protocols had been followed more closely, Armstrong went in on the defensive, stating adamantly, "When I peed in that bottle, there wasn't EPO in it. No way" before the interview changed direction - the fight against cancer and his ride with President George W Bush. 

This was just before King took calls from viewers, giving Armstrong time to recompose before the interview began again. When they returned to the subject of L'Equipe's article and the fact people may really believe the claims, Armstrong had regained his calm demeanour, saying, "Well, I certainly hope not. I mean, all I can do is come on this stage and tell my story, and be open and honest. I've always done that. And if there's a following over the years, that's what they follow. They like the person that was open and honest and shared his story and lived for other things other than the bike. And that's not going to change."

Still he was unable to bring himself to make a denial.  It is a fascinating phenomena, especially given his combative nature and boldness.  

Our rule remains the same:

If the subject is unwilling or unable to bring himself to say that he didn't do it, we are not permitted to say it for him. 

He sounded prophetic here:

 "I'm taking this one a little easier than some of the allegations over the years, because I am now retired. So, I don't have to worry about going back to France. I don't have to worry about going over there and racing again and dealing with these people. I don't have to worry about giving a urine sample that will be manipulated anymore. That stuff is done for me. So in that sense, I'm relieved."

Few understand the power of a lie, yet here, an entire industry has been founded upon deception.  

Note that he did not say his urine sample was manipulated.  Do not interpret.  Deceptive people are counting on you to interpret rather than listen. 

Greg LeMond said, ""Lance threatened me," he said. "He threatened my wife, my business, my life. His biggest threat consisted of saying that he (Armstrong) would find ten people to testify that I took EPO."

I recall reading many angry comments from Armstrong fans who vowed to never purchase a LeMond bicycle nor support his business.  

I am no longer a fan.  It just got too ugly and too deep for me to say "everyone doped; it was the only way to keep up with the peloton. "  As I go through his denials, year by year, I notice not only his failure to issue a reliable denial, but his quick ability to deceive, and his even quicker reflex to bring scorn upon anyone who dared touch him.  

He said that France's "entire industry" was founded upon deception.  The Lance Armstrong Industry is, itself, founded upon lying, cheating and destroying others. 

What is left to be a fan of?  His boldness and deceptive mannerism is more in line with narcissistic personality traits than just a cheat.  

 There were too many demands and eventually, the throat cutting of anyone who dared not agree with Lance was sickening.  He is not a hero.  He is not a conquering hero.  He is a bully and he is an unrepentant cheat.  To protect his lies, he has pummeled the reputation of many, including authors, and helped incite anti-French sentiment from his fans, especially after the L'equipe article from 2005.  He had no right to demand young kids put untested and potentially dangerous drugs into their systems.  Would he like others to do this to his children, now that he is a father of growing children?

According to another former team-mate, David Zabriskie, Lance's manager, Johann Bruyneel "always seemed to know" when drug testers would be coming, while another, Jonathan Vaughters, testified that Postal Service team members always appeared to have an hour's advance warning of tests – enough time to use saline to mask the effects of using EPO.
During the 2009 Tour de France, the French anti-doping agency – jointly responsible for testing with the UCI – claimed that Armstrong benefited from "privileged information or timing advantages during doping control tests". On one occasion, testers were delayed for 30 minutes by UCI officials, it is claimed in the report.
Armstrong's lawyer, Sean Breen, has called the Usada report a "one-sided hatchet job".  A "one-sided hatchet job" but not "untrue."  

In 2005, particularly, media reports defending Armstrong and chided the French magazine for reporting their findings into failed drug tests. 

 "Yet again, a European newspaper has reported that I have tested positive for performance enhancing drugs," said the seven-time Tour winner. "[Today's] L'Equipe, a French sports daily, is reporting that my 1999 samples were positive. Unfortunately, the witch hunt continues and [the] article is nothing short of tabloid journalism.
"The paper even admits in its own article that the science in question here is faulty and that I have no way to defend myself. They state: 'There will therefore be no counter-exam nor regulatory prosecutions, in a strict sense, since defendant's rights cannot be respected.'
"I will simply restate what I have said many times: I have never taken performance enhancing drugs."
Statement Analysis readers know that this is not a denial.  In fact, besides that "never" is not to be taken as "did not", we recognize that in the above statement, Armstrong did not deny anything: he only said what he had said previously.  It was not a denial.  He goes a long way to not deny by avoiding saying, "I did not use performance enhancing drugs in the 1999 Tour", instead he uses the technique to attack his accusers.  He did this consistently in the last few years, while consistently avoiding a reliable denial.

Armstrong humiliated his own teammates and put dangerous drugs into the bodies of young riders who were faced with losing their chance to compete at the sport's highest level.  They bear their own responsibility but to whom much is given, much is required.  Lance knew that when he was destroying and ridiculing the reputations of others, including Greg LeMond, he was doing so armed only with deception. 

Shame on Lance Armstrong.  

Below is Lance Armstrong's Open Letter against Dick Pound.  I added the emphasis for knowledgable readers with underlining.  

Question:  What is missing from the letter?   Next, if you wish to know how he was fearless in attacking others, read this letter and wonder if LeMond was just exaggerating. 


Lance Armstrong's open letter against Dick Pound

To: Those Interested in International Sports:
On August 23, 2005 the French tabloid L'Equipe published an article alleging that I used performance enhancing drugs, based on a research report leaked out of a French laboratory. I knew that was just another attempt by individuals in France to try to discredit me and my accomplishments in France's Tour de France. After the article was published, many in the Olympic movement called for an investigation into the facts alleged in the article. The IOC Athletes Commission and the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations publicly criticized the French laboratory for its conduct and called for disciplinary proceedings against the laboratory, but the President of the World Anti-Doping Agency, Dick Pound, blocked those efforts.

For eight months I cooperated with the independent investigation and waited patiently for the conclusions of the investigation to be issued. While the UCI, the international federation for cycling, and I cooperated completely with the independent investigation, the French laboratory, the French Ministry (the French government agency that owns the laboratory), and the World Anti-Doping Agency ("WADA") claimed to be cooperating but refused to produce any of the documents related to the alleged research.

Despite the efforts by WADA and the French laboratory to conceal the facts, the Independent Investigator was able to prove that everything that occurred was completely improper. The research was fundamentally flawed, the laboratory did not follow proper procedures and violated French and international law in how the research was conducted, and prepared a report that the investigator concluded was evidence of nothing and was prepared to target me and other riders of the 1999 Tour de France. Among the findings of the independent investigator were the fact that urine samples in the research study had been spiked by the lab with performance enhancing drugs, the research was conducted in ways that did not meet minimum standards for testing, that there was substantial risk of contamination of samples, there was no effort to maintain a chain of custody, and there were so many other departures from proper procedures that the research results could not be relied upon for any purpose.
The most shocking revelations of the independent investigator's report were that the representatives of the French laboratory told the investigator that they knew the research testing did not meet any standards for drug testing, that their preparation of the reports that were leaked to the tabloid was completely improper, and they had only prepared the improper reports because they were pressured to do so by WADA. The Director of the French laboratory told the investigator the lab had engaged in what they knew was improper conduct because of fear of retribution from WADA, including possible decertification as a WADA-approved laboratory, if they did not do exactly what WADA was ordering them to do.

The report established that WADA had forced the laboratory to prepare an improper report, and had promised the laboratory that the report would be kept confidential and would not be used against any athlete. However, as soon as the report was leaked to the French tabloid, WADA President Dick Pound went to the media and claimed, contrary to what he knew to be true, that the research was reliable and showed that I had cheated. The investigator concluded that Dick Pound's conduct against me was motivated by a desire to discredit me because I had publicly challenged his improper conduct in the past and that WADA made false statements to the investigator in an effort to conceal its wrongdoing. The report concludes that WADA, the French Ministry, and the French laboratory must be required to produce all documents related to this unfortunate incident, to answer all questions posed by the investigator, and then to stand before a disciplinary tribunal to answer for their transgressions.
Not surprisingly, WADA has attacked the investigator, but has not produced any statement or evidence that anything in the investigator's report is not 100% correct. The French Ministry and the French laboratory have also stood mute since the issuance of the investigator's report, hoping that nothing will be done to implement the investigator's conclusions.

The conduct that occurred in this case, and what I endured, should never have happened and steps must be taken to ensure that it never happens again and that there are meaningful protections of athletes rights. I have been vindicated, but unless something is done other athletes will be victimized in the future. Therefore, on June 9, 2006, I sent the attached letter to IOC President Jacques Rogge and the IOC Executive Committee, requesting that they take the steps necessary to protect athletes and the international Olympic movement. If the rules of the Olympic movement are to have any meaning at all, they must be enforced, not just against athletes, but against sports officials and anti-doping officials when they violate the rules. The facts revealed in the independent investigator's report show a pattern of intentional misconduct by WADA officials designed to attack anyone who challenges them, followed by a cover-up to conceal their wrongdoing. This conduct by Pound is just the latest in a long history of ethical transgressions and violations of athletes' rights by Mr. Pound.

Dick Pound is an IOC member and a high-ranking IOC official. He holds his position with WADA because he was placed in that position by the IOC. WADA receives its authority because the IOC requires all international federations to adopt the WADA Code. WADA receives a substantial portion of its funding from the IOC. IOC President Jacques Rogge called for the independent investigation that revealed Pound's misconduct. It is now time for the IOC to enforce the rules, to bring closure, and to take action against all of those who were responsible for this unfortunate incident. Athletes and fans of sport should not support a system that does not apply the rules in the same manner to high-ranking officials as those rules are applied to athletes and everyone else involved in the Olympic movement.
I had no intention of releasing my letter to the media, but someone released it to the Los Angeles Times. Now that there has been media coverage I concluded that I should release the entire letter so all the people who have stood behind me in this ordeal will have a full understanding of my position. The independent investigator has concluded, correctly, that there should be full disclosure of all documents related to this matter and in that spirit I have decided to release my letter in its entirety.
Dick Pound has already told the media that he does not acknowledge the authority of the IOC in this matter. That is the fundamental problem here. Until the IOC steps up and makes it clear that they are responsible for misconduct by IOC officials and all misconduct by sports officials, no athlete will be able to take seriously the rules and protections of athlete rights in the rules of sport. It is in that spirit that I ask you to read my letter.
Lance Armstrong


Anonymous said...

OT: Michael Vick owns a dog. He makes a very interesting quote. I would insert it here if I knew how.

I would love to see some of you here do SA on it, or Peter.

Anonymous said...

"I understand the strong emotions by some people about our family's decision to care for a pet," Vick said. "As a father, it is important to make sure my children develop a healthy relationship with animals. I want to ensure that my children establish a loving bond and treat all of God's creatures with kindness and respect. Our pet is well cared for and loved as a member of our family. This is an opportunity to break the cycle. To that end, I will continue to honor my commitment to animal welfare and be an instrument of positive change.

Jazzie said...

"Tygart insisted USADA handled this case under the same rules as any other.
"We focused solely on finding the truth without being influenced by celebrity or non-celebrity, threats, personal attacks or political pressure because that is what clean athletes deserve and demand," he said."

"Finding the truth without being influenced... what clean athletes deserve and demand."

I love this statement. Seeking truth without influence.
I often wondered why someone would cheat. Wouldn't the victory be so much the sweeter knowing you won because you tried your best/pushed yourself/rode your natural talent to the edge to overcome the mortal/physical boundaries?

This whole cycling doping story is like a modern Greek tragedy.

Just wondering. I always admired athletes because I'm not one.

Lis said...

Wow, Peter. Who knew how deep this went. It makes me think of the verse from Psalms, "Men of low degree are only vanity, and men of rank are a lie." Armstrong was a lie. It makes me wonder how many other "heroes" are only images with no substance.

Tania Cadogan said...

Hi Jazzie

Once huge amounts of money became available both as wages and via sponsorship, it ceased being who was fastest, strongest, best at the sport for the cudos, it became winning at al costs to get the money and the fame.

If we took away all the stupid money, all the endorsements then doping may well decline as well.
it would become who was the fittest, it would be about beating the next person through effort.
There would be no money involved.

There would still be those who would cheat simply becaus they want to be the best, they want to beat everyone else.

Everyone involced in sport should and must be tested be they amateur or professional, any illegal drug found in their body would mean instnt disqualification and a lifetime ban.
The same goes for any type of cheating such as transfusions, altered equipment etc.
Make the penalty so severe that they would think twice about cheating.

The other option is seperate the cheaters from the clean.
Anyone can enter a race of dopers etc.
Dopers however are lifetime banned from competing in any clean event.
Those doping must declare every drug or cheating method and they are lifetime bnned from competing in any clean event.
Non dopers can compete in both clean and doped events, if they are found to have doped in a clean race they forfeit all wins and face a ban of say 5 yrs before being allowed to compete in doped events only.

it will then be interesting to see how times would change between the two sides.

Lis said...

I had a go at Michael Vick's statement. I don't have a conclusion as to why he worded it this way, I can see different possibilities of why he would, but just flagging the statement analysis principles that I found, here are my notes:

"'I understand the strong emotions by some people about our family's decision to care for a pet,' Vick said."

He understands
He distances himself from or shares responsibility for the decision ("our family's decision")
The decision was not to 'get' 'own' or 'have' a pet but to "care for" a pet (persuading?)

"As a father, it is important to make sure my children develop a healthy relationship with animals."

"It is important to" is passive as opposed to "I want to" or "I'm going to"

"I want to ensure that my children establish a loving bond and treat all of God's creatures with kindness and respect."

He "wants" to ensure
Deity mentioned

"Our pet is well cared for and loved as a member of our family."

He shares ownership of "our" pet; he does not state that he takes care of or loves the pet.

"This is an opportunity to break the cycle."

He admits to there being a cycle- "the" cycle. This is "an opportunity" to break it, not that it has been broken.

"To that end, I will continue to honor my commitment to animal welfare and be an instrument of positive change.

"That end" is distancing
He "will continue" "to honor" his commitment to animal welfare.

CanadianGirl said...

Lis, Vics statement was probably not written by him. It also sounds as if getting a dog was a family decision. He is a father and his children shouldn't be denied the joy of a family pet.
Breaking the cycle; well... dog fighting is a part of southern culture; it's not an activity exclusive to Vic and his friends.

Lis said...

CanadianGirl, this is why I say that I can see different possibilities for why he worded things the way he did and do not draw conclusions. Possibly he was not part of the decision to have a pet, possibly this is not his pet and he isn't personally involved with its care, possibly his sensitivity over what the public thinks of him plays into it (I could see that leading to trying to persuade in a statement). I don't know the reasons behind the words, that's why I just looked at the words. It would take further statements from him to discover.

I don't know about dog fighting being a part of southern culture, he doesn't state that. I only know he spoke of "the" cycle, so I assume it is a cycle he has or does experience.

Thanks- I like to practice on the statements and I value feedback.

S + K Mum said...

I really enjoyed this article Peter. It's a shame too, as you clearly feel so let down by Armstrong, as will many others be.

I almost laughed when Armstrong is telling us how protocol wasn't followed......which is true, he knows that very well!

Any ideas when the McCann Analysis will go up? I'm very much looking forward to everyone analysing their statements :)

Anonymous said...

S & K, I too understand how Peter's disappointment and frustration over Lance's manipulated drug usage, cheating and vastly conspired hidden threats and lies affected him over the years as he went on trying to believe in Lance, many times against all odds; then in time there it is slapping you in the face.

In the end, it's like having your teeth kicked in when you realize you HAVE to accept that which is right before your very eyes. Lance turned out to be a pro manipulator, an ugly and dirty liar; as Peter subsequently realized, ruthless in every way in hurting all those around him. Now we know, Lance is despicable. He even had his former wife selling and delivering drugs for him while he lied, denied, and made fools out of everyone else he came in contact with! Not just one or two, but EVERYONE, AND EVERY organization he was affiliated with.

Peter was a great admirer of Lance's, as so many others were, never dreaming how Lance was destroying everyone in his path, including fostering illicit drugs onto children, even going so far as to hide behind his great insideous cancer cause and empire, all to achieve his goals; only to discover how the REAL Lance had used, brow beaten, threatened and manipulated everyone who loved his sport and had believed in him. Lance had them all exactly where he wanted them; at his mercy.

It hurts us to the core to discover how we have been manipulated, cheated and lied too by someone and their cause that we had deeply cared for, trusted, admired and respected. It becomes personal with us. We WANT to believe in them. We will go to great lengths to defend and stand up for that person only to be shattered by them in the gray light of dawn.

To me, there has been no greater disappointment in my life than those who have manipulated and deceived me while I trusted, supported and cared deeply for them. How could this have happened and I didn't see it earlier? How could I have been so wrong? I almost never am able to totally let go of it in my mind. It comes back to haunt me.

I will leave with you this thought that a very elderly and wise gentleman once said to me many years ago:

"There is no greater void than a disappearing infinity." It's all spoken in those few words.

Anonymous said...

"I don't have to worry about giving a urine sample that will be manipulated anymore." Innocent people would not worry about giving a urine sample, and they certainly wouldn't have to manipulate the sample the provided.

Anonymous said...

Lis & Canadian Girl, I agree, Vic's statement probably was not written by him but it would have been approved by him before it was made public. This is the same as if he wrote it himself.

Breaking the cycle normally means that it is something that goes far back into ones family history and not so much a 'southern tradition'. You rarely hear of a dog fighting ring in the south anymore, every now and then in some Tobacco Road setting far out in the boonies, but these would be hidden deeply in an isolated wooded area like a hunting & fishing lodge setting of vast acreage.

I would imagine however, that this could be a big sport with many squatter/drug addicts who hide out in distant delapidated country settings as well. It is a very horrible thing, too sickening to describe. It takes a lot of LE investigating before they are uncovered and prosecuted.

However, in typical populated country settings, even sparsely, if barking & fighting dogs are heard for more than a few minutes, 911 is called; unless the owner of the land is so deeply hidden miles away that the dogs would be difficult to hear, or unless they are all muzzled. There are laws and ordinances against barking dogs. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying they don't exist but I think they also exist in other areas of the country and not just down south. It's not really a southern thing per se'; it could be more predominate in the south, but can exist in any area of the country where isolation exists.

IMO, Vic and his family should be allowed to own a dog without having to make excuses for it even though he did a very horrible thing. I'm in no way excusing him for what he participated in, but he paid his dues, served his time, appears to be trying to rectify what he did, and should be allowed to own a family pet without justifying himself. To forbid him would be like forbidding Pete Rose from going into his backyard to hit a few balls.

LC said...

I am still having a difficult time trying to grasp how anyone would have the foresight to be able to counteract any future testing methods to ensure a clean result. It reminds me of trying to duplicate the image on the Shroud of Turin so many centuries after it supposedly was found.

Lis said...

I caught that, too. "I won't have to worry about giving a urine sample ANYMORE" means he worried about giving urine samples, and why would he if he had nothing to hide?

Also, "When I peed in that bottle, there wasn't EPO in it. No way" - He does not say that he didn't use, just that "when he peed in that bottle" there wouldn't be any EPO in it. I guess when you have advance notice and know what to do to hide it, you can say that.

Tania Cadogan said...

Eleven of Lance Armstrong's former team-mates have told their stories of doping with the US Postal Service cycling team, but none in such detail as Tyler Hamilton.

His book, The Secret Race, published in September, provides minute detail on how the drugs were obtained, how they were stored, delivered to the riders and injected, and how the syringes were carried away in a Coke can.

Most astonishingly, he explains how easy it was to beat the testers.

Lance Armstrong has rejected Hamilton's allegations, while his lawyer described the latest condemnation from the US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) as a "one-sided hatchet job".

Hamilton started off on testosterone, a "red egg" as the cyclists referred to the pill, but soon graduated on to the more powerful EPO - erythropoietin - which he and his US Postal Service team-mates dubbed Edgar, after Edgar Allen Poe.

This stimulates the creation of red blood cells, boosting performance by about 5%, or, as Hamilton puts it "roughly the difference between first place in the Tour de France and the middle of the pack".

EPO can be detected in the body for a number of hours after it has been taken - the "glowtime". During this time, the cyclist needs to avoid a meeting with the dope tester.

So, during the months of training, they kept track of when they had taken the drug, and tipped each other off by phone whenever a tester appeared in Girona, the town in northern Spain where the cyclists were based. In The Secret Race, co-authored by journalist Daniel Coyle, Hamilton lists three tips:

"Tip one: Wear a watch. Tip Two: Keep your cellphone handy. Tip three: Know your glowtime, how long you'll test positive after you take the substance. What you'll notice is that none of these things is particularly difficult to do."

They were more like "discipline tests, IQ tests" than drug tests, he says.

"If you were careful and paid attention, you could dope and be 99% certain that you would not get caught."

On one occasion Hamilton heard a knock on the door when he was glowing, and simply hid inside the house in silence until the tester gave up and went away.

They never came during the night, making late evening the best time for doping. One elderly tester even called in advance to let the cyclists know when he was coming

Tania Cadogan said...

"The most conventional way that the US Postal riders beat what little out-of-competition testing there was, was simply to use their wits to avoid the testers," says the Usada report published on Wednesday.

It adds that Armstrong sometimes stayed at an out-of-the-way hotel where he was "virtually certain not to be tested".

Armstrong is described in the report as the enforcer of US Postal's "massive and pervasive" doping programme.

"It was not enough that his team-mates give maximum effort on the bike," Usada says. "He also required that they adhere to the doping programme outlined for them or be replaced."

But it wasn't only US Postal that was doping, of course. More than half the Tour de France winners since 1980 have either tested positive, been sanctioned for doping, or admitted it

Talking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Hamilton said this week that it was "a dark period of cycling that we all went through".

"None of us when we were 15 or 16 years old were planning on doing that, but we all kind of rode our way up the ranks and came into this world. It was a world that already existed, when we got there. The doctors, the riders had been doing these things for years."

George Hincapie, US Postal team captain from 1999-2005, admitted doping for the first time on Wednesday, saying that early in his professional career it became clear to him "that given the widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs by cyclists at the top of the profession, it was not possible to compete at the highest level without them".

Hamilton writes in The Secret Race that he visited Armstrong at his home in Nice some time before the 1999 Tour de France, and finding himself without EPO, asked if he could use some of Armstrong's.

"Lance pointed casually to the fridge. I opened it and there, on the door, next to a carton of milk, was a carton of EPO, each stoppered vial standing upright, little soldiers in their cardboard cells."

In 1998, the team had distributed the EPO in white lunch bags. But this was the year the Festina and TVM teams were caught with large quantities of steroids, EPO and syringes. So in 1999 greater care was needed. According to Hamilton, Armstrong arranged for his gardener to follow the Tour on a motorbike, carrying a thermos flask full of EPO tubes.

"When we needed 'Edgar', Philippe would zip through the Tour's traffic and make a drop-off," he writes in The Secret Race.

By the following year, they had begun blood doping, flying to Spain to have their blood drawn by the team doctor, Hamilton says.

This blood, rich in red blood cells, was then delivered back to the tired riders, to help boost their red blood cell count during the race.

Riders found blood bags, still cold from the refrigerator, taped to the wall next to their beds in their hotel rooms. Hamilton describes the sensation of goosebumps as the chilled blood circulated around his body.

Tania Cadogan said...

One of the doctors used by US Postal, Michele Ferrari - nicknamed Doctor Death by reporters - found ways of helping to reduce the EPO glowtime by using small "microdoses" injected directly into the vein, Hamilton says.

The cyclists could also drink large amounts of water, or inject themselves with saline solution, in order to accelerate the fading of the glow.

"They've got their doctors, and we've got ours, and ours are better," writes Hamilton.

After Ferrari was convicted of sporting fraud by an Italian court in 2004, Armstrong issued a statement, in which he said: "I have always said that I have zero tolerance for anyone convicted of using or facilitating the use of performance-enhancing drugs. As a result of today's developments, the USPS team and I have suspended our professional affiliation with Dr Ferrari." Ferrari's conviction was overturned on appeal.

Armstrong contests that he took 500 drug tests worldwide and never failed one. This is disputed. Hamilton says he failed tests, but managed to explain it away, or hush it up.

The Usada report takes the same line. It says Armstrong was subjected to "considerably fewer" tests than he and his lawyers claim, and contends that a medical prescription Armstrong produced to explain a failed blood test in 1999 was bogus.

Hamilton himself kept a clear record for several years. He first tested positive just as he reached the peak of his career - a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics - when by mistake he was given another man's blood.

Blood transfusions are potentially risky. Badly stored blood can poison an athlete when transfused. Hamilton never had this problem, but he did suffer from one botched transfusion, which left him urinating a fluid "dark, dark red, almost black".

Anonymous said...

IMHO, in his mind it is very possible that he never really "doped." It could all be in his internal dictionary. He could have rationalized it as being "medicated" or as obtaining a "medical treatment." He wasn't getting drugs off the street, per say, he was, after all, being treated with doctor's supervision, right? Maybe he was thinking that he was getting EPO to boost his less than optimal (lets forget to mention less than optimal *for cycling*...) blood counts. Blood transfusions could have been rationalized for slight anemia (his hemoglobin might not have reached the very, very upper limit of the desired scale OR lots of water could have diluted his RBC's and made him think of it as being technically "anemic"). Saline infusions treat dehydration, and so on.... I can't know what was going on in his mind. These are just my personal opinions/observations on how he could have mentally done gymnastics to rationalize his behavior.

Anonymous said...

Hobnob, thank you for the enlightening posts of the massive drug usage, the lies and the coverups. Very interesting.

Anon @7:04, 10/12, I don't think there is any justification by Lance Armstrong in his mind or otherwise about his drug usage. It was deliberate and calculated. There is no complicated emotional or psychological masquerading going on in his mind. He knew what he was doing the entire time and expected that he would always get away with it. He was ruthless and just flat out lied to everyone. It's a simple as that.

Anonymous said...

To Anon Oct 13 1:44PM

Point well taken. :)