Monday, October 22, 2012

Lance Armstrong: It's Official: Stripped of All Titles

The organization to whom Lance Armstrong "donated" $150,000 and who may have turned a blind eye to his failed drug tests has officially stripped him of all Tour De France victories.

There was an Armstrong who walked on the moon and another, Louis, who sang sweet jazz. But Lance Armstrong, seven-time Tour de France winner?
That never happened.
"He deserves to be forgotten in cycling," the sport's boss, Pat McQuaid, said Monday as he erased Armstrong's victories from the record books of the race that made him a global celebrity.
It felt — and was — truly momentous. The crash-landing in a spectacular plunge from grace. The moment of impact between the truth and years of lies. Official acceptance — first from the head of cycling's governing body, then from the boss of the Tour — that the fairytale of a cancer survivor who won the world's most storied bicycle race was, in fact, the biggest fraud in the history of sport.
"A landmark day for cycling," McQuaid, president of the International Cycling Union, said at a news conference in Geneva. "Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling."
In Paris, at another press call, Tour director Christian Prudhomme added: "Lance Armstrong is no longer the winner of the Tour de France from 1999-2005."
Sports stars have imploded before. There were Marion Jones' tears outside a U.S. District Court in 2007 after the three-time Olympic champion pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about her use of performance-enhancing drugs. There are dark stains of doping on plenty of other big names, past and present, in other sports, too. Sports and doping have long gone together, because as long as people are trying to win, there'll always be some who will do that by cheating.
UCI Armstrong Cycling.JPEG
FILE - This July 23, 2000 file photo shows... View Full Caption
But no sporting icon peddled a tale quite like Armstrong's: the Texan from a broken home who became a world champion, then was struck down by testicular cancer that spread to his lungs and brain, but who still rolled up in 1999 at the Tour, a three-week test so tough that it has defeated many men who didn't endure gut-wrenching chemotherapy and carry the scars of tumor-removing surgery.
The previous year, 1998, had been a disaster for the Tour — with a major drug bust and police raids at the race. Armstrong — bold, brash and, as it turned out, unbeatable — seemed a year later like a fresh start. His back-from-the-dead story brought new interest and life for cycling, and the Tour that had been sickened by riders' rampant use of a banned blood-booster, EPO, then undetectable. For other people affected by the disease he survived, Armstrong became the living embodiment of the idea that willpower can overcome any obstacle — be it cancer or the Alps.
"I hope this sends out a fantastic message to all the cancer patients and survivors around the world," Armstrong said on winning his first Tour, setting the tone and framing his story for the years to come. "We can return to what we were before — and be even better."
Armstrong was, in short, a survivor and a winner. That combination made him appear like a monument to many, both in and outside cycling. It made him rich, friendly with presidents and pop stars, and enabled his Livestrong cancer-fighting foundation to raise hundreds of millions of dollars. It also gave him influence and a moral high ground he used to silence and belittle critics who dared to suggest he was doping, that his story was too good to be true.
"I've done too many good things for too many people," Armstrong said in own defense in 2010.

The doping doubts were always there from 1999, even if too few sports administrators, sponsors, journalists and other riders paid sufficient attention to them. A positive urine test for banned corticosteroids at the 1999 Tour was explained away and covered up by one of Armstrong's doctors, a former team masseuse testified years later. A book in 2004 where the same masseuse said she gave Armstrong makeup to hide needle marks on his arm was met with writs from Armstrong's lawyers and furious denials from him. In 2005, a French newspaper reported that laboratory researchers in Paris found EPO in Armstrong's urine samples from the 1999 Tour, test results that raised yet more suspicions but couldn't be used to sanction him.
"Witch hunt," Armstrong said.
That became one of his favored phrases.
It was the same one he used in 2010, when federal investigator Jeff Novitzky dug into doping in cycling and Armstrong's role in it.
It was the phrase Armstrong directed at the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency — the organization that eventually nailed him, succeeding where everyone else and hundreds of drug tests failed.
USADA did that by getting former teammates to talk. Novitzky's investigation, abruptly shut down by U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. with no explanation this February, at least seems to have had the merit of helping to loosen tongues.
UCi Armstrong Cycling.JPEG
FILE - This July 28, 2002 file photo shows... View Full Caption
The Feds "placed a gun and a badge on the table," said McQuaid, and the Great Wall of Silence that teammates had maintained around Armstrong and their shared secrets crumbled.
USADA's 1,000-page dossier, published Oct. 10, was damning because it included affidavits from 11 of Armstrong's former teammates — page after page of testimony about injections with EPO and banned blood transfusions, of being supplied with EPO by Armstrong and seeing him inject, of being pressured to dope and bullied by Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel, the team manager and brains behind Armstrong's Tour wins.
The weight, the detail, the precision of the testimonies was together so much more compelling than the fact that Armstrong, as he so liked to remind everyone, never failed a drug test. In fact, it helped elucidate how that could be.
Former teammates explained how they used subterfuge to beat testers. Tyler Hamilton said they simply hid, not answering the door if a sample collector showed up. Doctors helped with dosages and injection methods so drugs would flush quickly out of their systems. There was no test, and still isn't, to show that riders were re-injecting themselves with bags of their own blood. Bruyneel seemed to know in advance when testers were coming, Jonathan Vaughters and David Zabriskie testified.
USADA's report looked so complete that for McQuaid and his federation to ignore the evidence would have been almost unthinkable. There was speculation before his Monday press call about what McQuaid would say. In hindsight, however, it was clear he had little choice but to rubber-stamp USADA's conclusions, ban Armstrong and take away his Tour wins, white-out all that yellow — the color of the Tour leader's maillot jaune jersey — that he had expropriated as his color and that of Livestrong.
"I was sickened by what I read in the USADA report," McQuaid said.

Now, on the wreckage of the demolition of the Armstrong myth, cycling has to rebuild its credibility. There's a mountain of still unanswered questions about who else may have facilitated doping in the Armstrong years, who else was involved, whether they should be encouraged to confess and how that might be done. Can McQuaid's federation, long suspected of being cozy with Armstrong, be trusted to clean up? Should top riders be chaperoned 24/7 at the next Tour to ensure they're not still trying to beat what McQuaid said is now an improved anti-doping system?
Pat McQuaid,presidente de la Unión... View Full Caption
"Cycling has a future," McQuaid said. Quoting John Kennedy, he said cycling's biggest crisis is also "an opportunity."
But this didn't feel like the time or place for that — not when the frightening enormity of the past is still sinking in.
Armstrong — a pariah in the sport that turned him from a nobody into a somebody and, now, back into a nobody again.
"This is the story of a real talent who lost his way," said Prudhomme, the Tour director.
That downfall cannot, should not, be forgotten.


Anonymous said...

The Tour De France should be dismantled and banned since 99% of the participants dope up

Singling out Armstrong for doping up while ignoring the fact that 99% of the participants dope up makes the situation appear to be a witch hunt against Armstrong.

Skeptical said...

After reading about the Lance Armstrong doping scandal and the fact that no winners would be declared for the TDF in the years he competed, I wanted to see who some of his competitors were. I entered the name of Vinokourov, who won in London this year. This article was an eye opener. He sounds like the European version of Armstrong.

This one reported that there were rumors that Vinokourov was running for office in Kazakhstan after retiring from cycling. He and Lance would make excellent politicians. They both have the qualifications for a successful career in politics - lying, cheating, self-interest.

The following is an article from 8 years ago on how dangerous doping in cycling is and gives a list of riders who died possibly as a result of early attempts at doping. These unnecessary deaths probably helped tweak the system toward greater success in doping. It enabled the doctors to get the dosage right.

I was unaware of how far back doping goes in cycling. Fausto Coppi, who won the Tour in 1949 and 1952, was asked if he ever used amphetamines and replied, “Only when absolutely necessary.” When asked how often that was, he said, “Most of the time.” (From Geoffrey Wheatcroft’s Le Tour: A History of the Tour de France)

In the 1967 Tour, English rider Tom Simpson collapsed and died during the race with amphetamines found in his pocket.

Evidently cycling is not the only sport that uses performance enhancers. Boxers use pain killers to overcome their fear of being hit and archers and professional pistol shooters use beta blockers to keep their hands from shaking.

Lance made it impossible for clean athletes to compete. Perhaps with his criminality exposed, the situation can turn around and dirty ones will be denied the right to compete.

I think Willie Nelson needs to rewrite his song. Call it "Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Athletes" instead of Cowboya.

Anonymous said...

Breaking news in the Hailey Dunn case:

Anonymous said...

news on hailey dunn!!!!!!!!!! big country news...

BostonLady said...

The breaking news is really 4 months old on the Hailey Dunn case. LE has already followed up on the information and doesn't appear to have found anything. The woman in jail who wrote the letter wasn't exactly forthcoming with details. She said the girl was 15 yrs old. Never said it was Hailey Dunn. Only that it was a big story.

The letter was difficult to read (per KTab) because it's full of gibberish. The woman has a meth brain. Perhaps she was hallucinating?

Either way, Hailey has not been found and the case is still open.

Tania Cadogan said...

I wonder when the first lawsuits will arrive.
The millions he conned in sponsorship (obtaining money by deception) from his ex sponsors, the lawsuits he won on the basis he was clean when he wasn't, the libel lawsuits, the threats and harrassment.

I wonder if he thinks it was all worth it as his empire lies in ashes, a proven liar, any good he did do is smothered by all the bad.
Questions will be asked now regarding his cancer.
Did he ever have cancer? how severe was it, where was it?
If he lied about doping for so many years it is only logical people will ask what else did he lie about? Everything he touches or touched will be tainted.
Will livestrong survive with him on the board? I don't think so.
He will have to leave the board, they will have to distance themselves from him and they may well change the charity name to remove all ties from him or worse, close down completely.
Any mpney raised through him is tainted money.

Was it worth it lance?
You knew it would all come out, the rumors where out there, the statements of witnesses were public knowledge, threats couldn't undo what had been said.
You knew, in the end you couldn't hold back the tidal wave of doping claims.
It wasn't if it was when.
The only way you ever have any hope of redeeming yourself in the eyes of the public is to come clean.
Tell the whole truth, hide nothing, tell the public all, tell them cheating achieves nothing, doping causes medical problems perhaps even the cancers you got, explain what you have lost due to your cheating and your greed.

Only by admitting the truth can we the public think about giving you another chance.
Help the sport by explaining how you cheated, what you used and when, what efects and suide effects there were. Help them to stop cheating in sport, be the voice telling youngsters why doping is bad, what the costs are.
Be the example of don't do what i did, keep clean, win by your own efforts.
Then you know you are the best through physical and mental ability not through drugs, needles and threats.

Anonymous said...

Nice post Hobnob, well thought out.

But I don't believe Lance Armstrong will ever do any of those things. He'd first have to possess a conscience and I don't think he does.


BostonLady said...

Sheriff Toombs speaks out about the letter. It led them to nothing. No new information about Hailey Dunn's case.

Anonymous said...

a druggie sees Hailey? the druggie is not named "Billie" so it must be true? wow

Anonymous said...

I tell ya folks, in some ways it does my heart good when a master manipulating liar is finally exposed. In a way I feel sorry for them, that all they worked and strived for so long and so hard all comes to naught.

When you look at those they intimidated, hurt, threatened and in some cases, destroyed; it is not hard to lose any compassion for them that you might have had, which is the case with Lance Armstrong. It is only because I don't know him that I can do this, because if I knew and loved him I couldn't feel so harshly about him.

On the other hand, they have become so good at being practiced, successful liars, AND got away with it for so long, do they ever fully admit what they have done to themselves and to those around them? I question that. Has it become such a part of their soul that they ALWAYS cleverly project their own guilt onto someone else?

I am dealing with a similar situation right now, on a different scale, where the lying, manipulating and hiding the truth, always projecting their tormenting guilt onto another, thereby taking the focus off themself and what they are hiding, (which in this case wasn't even a crime in the first place); has very nearly cost this person his life, and definitely shortened it, with the damage to his already damaged heart so extensive now that he is in the cardiac care unit, and has been diagnosed to an early death.

Now he knows, and so do some he manipulated and lied too for so long, but does he fully understand all the damage he did? All the angry never-ending stress from all the rages while lying and all the guilty manipulating having caused MORE uncontrollable damage to his heart. None can say now how much or how little time he has left. In time, the meds will no longer work. Now he must quickly get his affairs in order. It is VERY heartbreaking as it is my own son.

Sadly, we are none infallible to the heartbreaking damage and destruction we cause others and to our ownselves when we think we are so clever and put our shame, lies, bullying and guilt on the backs of others.

Tania Cadogan said...

OSLO, Norway – Another former teammate of Lance Armstrong has admitted using banned performance-enhancing drugs.

Retired Norwegian rider Steffen Kjaergaard said Tuesday that he had used EPO and cortisone, and was immediately suspended from his job at the Norwegian Cycling Federation.

"I have long thought that it was best for cycling as a sport that I took this (secret) to the grave. But the last weeks have made me change course for my own sake and tell the truth," Kjaergaard said.

The 39-year-old Kjaergaard said he decided to come clean because of doping revelations in recent weeks involving the U.S. Postal Service team, and that he "couldn't bear the lie anymore."

Kjaergaard rode with Armstrong in the U.S. Postal Service team when the American won the Tour de France in 2000 and 2001. He said he wasn't aware of any of his teammates using banned substances, "but I assume there were others."

On Monday, Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles by the International Cycling Union after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency detailed evidence of drug use and trafficking by his Tour-winning teams.

"I have not directly witnessed anyone else dealing with this. That's why I do not want to expose anyone else," Kjaergaard said.

Kjaergaard won several Norwegian championships but no major international races before retiring in 2003.

His admission dented Norway's self-image as a "clean" nation on the forefront of the fight against doping in sports. Kjaergaard was instantly removed from his job as sports director for the Norwegian Cycling Federation.

"This is a sad day for Norwegian cycling, but we wanted to have this out in the light," said federation President Harald Tiedemann Hansen at the joint news conference with Kjaergaard.

"He has admitted to doping and he has nothing to do with the cycling world anymore," Tiedemann Hansen told The Associated Press later. "He has been suspended until his term ends on Dec. 31 and he will not continue in the job."

Read more:

Apple said...

if you cant beat them, join 'em!


Anonymous said...

"Lance Armstrong ... Cyclopath..."

Anonymous said...

I am from Norway, and the Steffen Kjærgaard doping is the biggest scandal ever in Norwegian history of sport.

This is so sad for my husband, because he (who loves cycling) believed in Armstrong for so long.

I don't believe that Lance Armstrong ever had cancer either.