Ever scheming, ever deceptive, even while alleging to confess in the softball interview, Armstrong was deceptive. This, from the DailyMail, comes as no surprise.
Lance Armstrong blames cycling’s governing body for the spread of the cancer that nearly killed him and told a team-mate that it was his ‘card to play’ if he ever faced any ‘doping problem.’
The startling allegation is made in former U.S Postal Service team-mate Jonathan Vaughters’s sworn affidavit to the United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA).
According to Vaughters, 39, Armstrong told him that tests carried out by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) should have detected a high level of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) but failed to do so.
Teammates: Armstrong told US Postal cyclist Jonathan Vaughters, pictured together 1999, that his cancer was a 'card to play' if he ever had a 'doping problem'
Vaughters stated: ‘Early on at a Postal Service training camp I had a conversation with Lance in which he told me that the UCI should have detected a high level of HCG in his doping controls when he had cancer but had failed to do so.
‘Thus, in Lance’s eyes the UCI was somewhat at fault for the extent of his cancer…Lance said, “if I ever have a doping problem, I have this card to play.”’
It is a disturbing insight into the calculating character of the man and raises troubling questions that strike at the heart of the UCI’s doping programme.
Elevated levels of HCG are not only indicators of the doping for which Armstrong and his team-mates were regularly tested. They are also a sign of some cancers – including testicular cancer with which Lance was diagnosed on 2 October 1996, at the age of 25.
Suspect: The disgraced cyclist told Oprah that when he dealt with the UCI 'there were things that were a little shady'
By the time he was diagnosed the cancer had spread to his abdomen, liver and brain. Doctors gave him a 50/50 chance of survival – odds they later admitted were far greater than those he truly faced.
HCG is a naturally occurring hormone but only at low levels in men. There are rules regarding the levels allowed in athletes because it produces testosterone giving a competitive advantage.
In the prelude to his diagnosis Armstrong was having one of the best years of his career.
Normal male levels are between zero and 5 milli-International Units per millilitre of blood (mIU/mL). Athletes are considered to have failed a drug test if the urinary Testosterone/Epitestosterone ratio is greater than six.
On his diagnosis Armstrong’s levels had rocketed to around 110,000 mIU/mL.
Armstrong, 41, has described himself as the most tested athlete on the planet. He has frequently boasted that he never once failed a drugs test and often wheeled out this fact to rubbish detractors who spoke out against him.
Yet though he was tested several times by the UCI during the year of his diagnosis, and though his blood levels would have undoubtedly been enormously elevated by his cancer, not one test came back positive for HCG
Spotlight: Sheryl Crow's interview in which she speaks about her former fiance Lance Armstrong's doping confession will air on Tuesday night
Armstrong has consistently denied paying the UCI for the clean test results which allowed him to dope and compete for more than a decade. He made two donations to the UCI – highly unusual practice for an athlete – one of $25,000 in 2002 and a later one of $100,000.
When asked about these donations during his interview with Oprah Winfrey, Armstrong claimed that the UCI had approached him and solicited a donation. He said, ‘they didn’t have a lot of money,’ adding ‘There were things that were a little shady, this was not one.’
If Armstrong hoped to scotch some of the speculation and controversy surrounding his doping by giving the Winfrey interview he has been sadly disappointed.
His ex-fiancee Sheryl Crow, 50, is now under increasing pressure as she herself will face the cameras with a television interview on Entertainment Tonight on Tuesday night.
She dated Armstrong between 2003 and 2006 – a time span that straddles two of his tainted Tour de France titles. Many find it inconceivable that the singer could have been so close to Armstrong and remained oblivious to his drug use or the culture of doping which the USADA investigation has exposed.
Armstrong’s former team-mate and one time closest friend, Frankie Andreu, has provided an affidavit which places Crow in the room when Armstrong raged against Greg Le Mond’s decision to speak out against doping.
Tyler Hamilton has revealed that Crow was subpoenaed in 2011 just weeks before a grand jury closed their investigation into the cyclist