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« Pretend Races | Main | Shared Path Etiquette »
Friday
Jun152012

Time to throw in the towel

In an interview with Men’s Journal just a month ago Lance Armstrong said he was through fighting doping allegations against him; he stated:

“In my mind, I’m truly done. You can interpret that however you want, but no matter what happens, I’m finished. I’m done fighting. I’ve moved on. If there are other things that arise, I’m not contesting anything. Case closed.”

Now that the United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA) has announced its intention to pursue the case against Armstrong I really hope he will stick to the statement he made above. It would be the best outcome for everyone. If he choses not to contest USADA's evidence, the agency could unilaterally impose sanctions.

The whole cycling community is split; indeed the whole country is split. Anyone who knows who Lance Armstrong is will take one side or the other, for or against. If he just throws in the towel and says “I’m through fighting,” people can take it as an omission of guilt or not.

Those who believe Lance is innocent will continue to believe so; pointing to the 500 or so dope tests he passed. Those who believe he doped will see it in any way they want to see it; because let’s face this can drag on for years,( and it will if Armstrong fights it,) and in the end those who believe strongly one way or the other will still be of the same opinion.

There was a time when I tried to be neutral; to give LA the benefit of the doubt. But the evidence is piling up like dog shit on your living room carpet. Lance Armstrong is no different than your new puppy that looks you in the eye and says “I didn’t do it,” when this mound of poop is the strong circumstantial evidence that says, “Oh yes you did.”

Just this morning I read an article in the WSJ that says the USADA has 10 or more witnesses that will give evidence that they saw Armstrong dope. This constant denial from LA that he didn’t dope insults my intelligence. To believe that I have to believe that he is telling the truth and everyone else is lying. And the longer the denial continues the less I care about Lance Armstrong as a person.

There can be no good outcome to this saga, and least of all for the sport of cycling; especially if it drags on for years. It is a farce, the USADA and the WADA will take away Armstrong’s TDF Titles and give them to the next in line; some of whom happen to be convicted dopers themselves.

Right now I am more pissed at the USADA for wasting the tax payer’s money. It served no useful purpose to convict Barry Bonds or Marion Jones, and it will be no different with LA. I believe we need to bury the past and move on; address doping now and continue to try to stamp it out. It serves no purpose to drag this out any longer than necessary. The past will never improve.

Which is why I say to Lance Armstrong, stick to what you said in your interview last month; walk away and let the USADA do whatever they will. Save the tax payer some money, save the sport and the rest of us who care about cycling any more grief.

 

                        

Reader Comments (31)

I highly doubt Lance will throw in the towel. Reading his press release and his attorney's on gets the feeling that he's p*ssed and going to take them on. Listen to Lance's wording about "believing me, who's passed all my doping test, or take the words of convicted dopers". And calling it a "conspiracy". It'll drag out and LA will try his strong-arm bullying tactics just like he did to LeMond, Hamilton, etc.

Intersting part is that Johan had been indicted as well. This will open up a whole new can of worms and make Floyd Landis sound less and less like a crazy person.

June 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJ.D. Kimple

OK. Look at Lances victorys! He was head and shoulders above the rest, WHY? IS, he a superior bean, from another planet, OR just a more talented person who has the natural gift for riding a bike, 100% dedicated and trains and rides more that everyone else? Look at al the athletes in other fields, that have excelled in there sports. Even concert pianist, violinst, singers,actors there are always some that are outstanding and head and shoulders above the rest. NOW, some do take advantage of aids stimulants etc. BUT Lance passed HOW MANY tests? Failed HOW many tests?. You have to draw the line somewhere, Enough already.Give it a rest, The man IS AND WAS SUPERIOR,What a waste of the tax payers money once again.When Dave and I raced there was ALWAYS one or two riders that stood out won more races etc, Did they take drugs? What the bloody heck are drugs? I did NOT in all the years (APART from the Continentals) ever hear ONE word about drugs. A WINNER IS JUST THAT A WINNER Train and ride harder if YOU want to be one

June 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGRUMPY Crump

Dave, I think lots of people in the US are missing the point. This is not about Lance anymore, that's just a red herring waved in the face of American public. Notice that he's the last one mentioned of the 6 names. It's about the systematic doping going on on the team level. It's about breaking the myth of riders acting alone. It's about getting rid of people behind the scenes who are still present in the current teams, like Bruyneel, or the doctors on the list. It has to be done.

June 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterThe Tashkent Error

I THINK this is all about THE MONEY HONEY! Our whole world revoles around money! Take away the Professionals, Sponsors.Make ALL sporting events AMATEUR pay a fee to enter and give the winners a medal and expenses (FROM the enter fees). Then see all the dug use and bickering go away, WELL MAYBE! I guess most were born with a competitive spirit and I gues the LAZY one will find a way to cheat. The thing that concerns me Is that its getting worse, Take politics PLEASE! the money spent by both parties, Would solve all the hunger in the world, BUT NO Ego is so great that win at all costs, Lie cheat steal who cares WIN baby WIN.

June 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGRUMPY Crump

I have to agree that it is not about Lance - it is simply a horrific waste of government money and "power."

It reminds me of the McCarthy Hearings of the 1950's. My suggestion to Lance would be to send all trophies, medals, everything related to bicycling to the committee and tell them to shove them up their collective ass. I know he won't do that but at some point he must be sorely tempted.

To consider that leading a Grand Jury astray by giving an evasive answer (eight years earlier) makes one a felon heaps piles of manure on the entire justice system. Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and probably most of us. Did you know it is a felony to lie to a TSA agent during an airport security inspection?

To the Anti-doping Agency (aptly named) and all those prosecutorial misfits I can only say, "Sir, have you lost all sense of decency?"

June 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Thurber

I disagree that it's a waste of tax payer money. Good is always served whenever law breakers, liars or cheaters are held responsible for their bad deeds. There are many, many people who go through their lives without stealing from or hurting others. There should be no statute of limitations on punishing those who do.

June 15, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercathy

Cathy. Tell that to Obama! Send all the LAW breaking wet backs home! BUT I do agree that IF you break the law then you should be punished! BUT did Lance break the law? As I have said is it NOT possible that he WAS just a gifted rider who did NOT need drugs? How many 2nd and 3rd place and for that even the finishers take drugs just to end up second best? So you convict Lance, THEN what, all the 2nd are now FIRST so do they beat there chests and say "See I told you I was BETTER than Lance" OR do they blush with shame that they are now the winner and a TRUE athlete was kicked of the podium,KNOWING that they also took drugs just like the rest, ONLY did not get caught?

June 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGRUMPY Crump

At some point we need to pick a year and draw a line. I was never a big fan of armstrong but whatever happens he passed those tests. I always believed that it just didnt look right when he was at his peak.
God only knows how much this will cost the taxpayer.
Im just so glad that i have wiggins to look forward to seeing pretty soon in the tour.
I grew up watching cycling when doping was seen as being part of the sport, applying yourself.
We have moved on, i as a fan have moved on.
At what point do we keep stripping titles. I dont really know what else to say on the matter.
Im just glad that cycling has turned the corner that it desperatley needed to do.

June 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDarren h

I am with Darren. So when is the race (competition) over? When was the qualification phase closed?

June 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSJX426

Why does anybody think this will cost the US government anything? Just because USADA has "US" in their name doesn't mean they are a government agency. Near as I can tell from their website USADA and their international counterpart WADA are arms (severed, perhaps) of the Olympic Machine. Perhaps, by sending their lackeys to create a diversion the IOC is trying to impress us with their honesty and encourage us to forget their not so distant bribery scandals? Oh, but they have cleaned house, havent they?

June 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHal Faulkner

Pro cycling’s image is already ruined, guys…and only a bloodbath can have any effect on the future of the sport. Big guys need to go down big time, pay BIG fines, maybe jail. That is what will help the future of cycling, not sweeping lies and cheating under the rug. Maybe we can’t eliminate drugs, but we must try to keep the lid on doping. Lower doses of drugs=less riders who die. It's that simple.

June 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDoug P

Is anyone willing to accept the possibility that Lance did NOT use drugs? This guy was tested 500 times. Five Hundred Times. At some point this becomes utter lunacy. It won't be the Tour de France - it will be the Test de France.

As a former cop I've watched many people "taken down" by an aggressive District Attorney - spending all the state money they wanted to convict the defendant while the guy being charged with the crime only had whatever money was in his / her wallet to defend themselves. At least Lance has financial resources. Most people don't.

As I watch the sickening amounts of money we spend to convict folks who might have lied or given "evasive" answers I can only think of the tobacco executives who lied through their teeth to Congress back in the 1970's and nothing was done. Money talks.

Doom on the United States Anti Doping Agency - and their minions.

June 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Thurber

"As I have said is it NOT possible that he WAS just a gifted rider who did NOT need drugs? "
No, it is not possible. Case in point, ain't no way in hell a non-doped Lance could completely blow away a doped Pantani on the Hautacam the way he did. Lance is/was a very good climber and without doubt a much stronger all-around cyclist than Pantani (R.I.P.) was, but certainly not in Pantani's class as a true climber. Again for clarification, clean Lance, plus doped Pantani, divided by "ta-ta Marco", equals bullshit!
"Is anyone willing to accept the possibility that Lance did NOT use drugs? This guy was tested 500 times. Five Hundred Times. At some point this becomes utter lunacy."
Is anyone else sick to death of this tired old argument? Let's blow a hole in it, shall we? How many hundreds of times do you think Floyd Landis was tested before he got busted? Or Tyler/Jan/Alberto etc. for that matter? Oh wait, Ullrich was busted because of his involvment with the whole Operacion Puerto business, not for a failed drug test. I guess simply passing hundreds of drug tests doesn't mean you didn't dope after all.
Now, do I think this whole deal is going to be a waste of taxpayers money? Yes, I really do. I also don't feel that Lance cheated his way into his tour victorys, and I don't think his wins being taken off the record books is the right thing to do either. The way I look at it is this, IF from 1999 to 2005 Lance, AND every other rider in the Tour de France had been clean, Lance would have still won all seven times. But yeah...he was totally fuckin' doped up, just like the rest of 'em, and no amount completely unrelated political rants will change that.

June 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPhil Strong

I want you all to imagine the scene........"Hey .All you guys,all of you get in here and watch Lance ride the needle with a little IV chaser"
" No ,its not a secret. He trusts you all."
" And when you dope you know what to do so you wont get caught"
"Gee thanks Mr Armstrong you really do want us all to do good without really having as much talent and drive as you"
"Of course your secret is safe with us"
Sounds like the truth to me!!!!!!!!
The other point which few acknowledge is that his TDF wins are not that special.I mean it.He is one of 5 who won five times. His remaining 2 and maybe some of 5 are due to him concentrating on the TDF to the exclusion of nearly everything else.
All, and I mean all, of the drug agencies are bent. The Diane Modahl case from 1994 has all the proof any ever needs of corruption and altering samples in the testing labs.
I hope Lance ruins them. JIM

June 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjimmy

Dave,

You are spot in your comments. Why bring it up now? There is something that bothers me if my understanding of the situation is correct, and that is the eyewitnesses were given immunity for their testimonies. (My understanding may be incorrect.) If that is case, how truthful are their testimonies? There are two other thing that I find interesting. Dopers typically have tremendous improvements in their performance. Ulrich would often have pretty bad early season form, and them ride amazing well in the Tour de France. Armstrong was pretty consistent during his early season training races. The pattern of immense improvement does not exist. Most interesting, how did he get away with it for some many years, including the years where he was scrutinized and suspected of doping (maybe after this 3rd win?)? At some point, you think he, or someone on one of his many teams would have made a mistake. Jay

June 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJay

What about his trainer and mentor Chris Carmichael in Colorado Springs Co. Wouldnt he have had knowledge of any doping that Lance did? I have never heard his name as involved in any doping probe? maybe he is the one that they? (who ever THEY is )have lined up to nail Lance once and for all.The comment about Lance vs Pantini is valid I think, But then you dont know for sure as Pantini is no longer with us, Why has Lance not also died from an overdose? or had any othre problems with drug use? I also think at this point in time EVEN IF they find him guilty and take away his victories,Lance has made enough that he has stashed away it will not make any differnce to him, In fact I never hear anything of him anymore, 0nly in a beer commercial or some such,So whats the point? I do think that a youger rider like Contador who had been busted before is more affected. Do you think Contador IS guilty?

June 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGRUMPY Crump

Meh. I don't care, one way or the other. You're correct, Dave, people's opinions are hardened at this point. Everyone has a preferred take, and a preferred set of arguments to back up their take. You might get some "official" resolution, but it will amount to a decree by bureaucrat.

I've given up on professional sports. Any sport or sport venue that carries the possibility of lucrative endorsements for participants, and/or advantageous advertising exposure for corporations is going to attract people willing and able to grab an "edge." You cannot deny the incentives and they're guaranteed to corrupt any notion of "pure sport."

The whole anti-doping gestalt just seems like a huge waste of time, energy, and money to me. Synthetic drug manufacturers will *always* be two steps ahead of detection. The "thing" has to exist before you can test for it. So, it becomes an endless game of chase. Lots of job security for all the parties involved in running on that hamster wheel, I suppose. And, as you and others have pointed out, this backtracking means no competition ever ends. I'm at the point where my feeling is, if you can't remove the incentives to cheat - the largest being the $$$ for all involved - then declare it open season. Surely, the "Darwin Effect" will bring it all into some kind of balance.

June 16, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbystander

Bystander, Per my post above yours I agree about MONEY is the reason for all this doping etc. ANY time the $ is involved people will do what it takes to win and get the endorsements it brings. As I said make all events AMATEUR and most of the porblems will go away, Even College sports that I use to enjoy watching I no longer do. All seem to turn pro. where the big money is. Family waiting in the background waiting toif the kids is going to be a BIG money maker for them. I used to coach youth soccer untill the parents only thought was for THEIR kid to play all the time and win,win win. How about having some fun for a change!

June 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGRUMPY Crump

"...Pantini is no longer with us, Why has Lance not also died from an overdose? or had any othre problems with drug use?"
(my smart alec answer)
Might as well ask how Keith Richards is still alive.
(my real answer)
Because Lance never sat in a hotel room snorting a bunch of cocaine trying to deal with debilitating depression. That is how Pantani killed himself, the PED's didn't do it. Please don't think i'm suggesting he intended to do it, but whether it was accidental or intentional, he did kill himself, and I was truly sad when I heard the news of his passing.
"I do think that a youger rider like Contador who had been busted before is more affected. Do you think Contador IS guilty?"
Not anymore guilty than any of the rest of them.
"Dopers typically have tremendous improvements in their performance. Ulrich would often have pretty bad early season form, and them ride amazing well in the Tour de France. Armstrong was pretty consistent during his early season training races. The pattern of immense improvement does not exist."
Before he got sick he couldn't even finish the Tour, then comes back and wins seven straight? Seems like a pretty immense improvment to me. Also, I think Ullrich did things a little more in the old school way of using his early season racing as the bulk of his training, where as Lance did more of his training out of competition and not racing until he was closer to being in tip-top form. Speculation on my part of course, but seems reasonable to me.
"Most interesting, how did he get away with it for some many years, including the years where he was scrutinized and suspected of doping (maybe after this 3rd win?)? At some point, you think he, or someone on one of his many teams would have made a mistake."
Really, from 1999 on Lance rode for the same "team". Although the money came from different places, the people actually running the show were pretty much the same. If things are done carefully and systematically, mistakes can be avoided for who knows how long? Hamilton, Heras, Landis and Contador didn't test positive until after they had joined other teams, ones not ran by Johan Bruyneel. Not long after either.

June 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPhil Strong

"I'm at the point where my feeling is, if you can't remove the incentives to cheat - the largest being the $$$ for all involved - then declare it open season. Surely, the "Darwin Effect" will bring it all into some kind of balance."
I have to say, I sort of agree with you. Reminds me of the Saturday Night Live skit about the "All Drug Olympics".
"How about having some fun for a change!"
Totally agree with Grumpy Crump's last post.

June 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPhil Strong

Fallout continues (others who now have thrown in the towel): Leipheimer, Hincapie, Vande Velde and Zabriskie asked that they be taken out of the running for places on the road-cycling team for the Summer Olympic Games.

The ire of the public and anti-cycling rhetoric will only get worse. Another sport writer types "Cycling now makes pro wrestling look serious",

Another explains "If everyone else is cheating, I need to cheat, too. That logic, now pervasive throughout all levels of sport, has turned our athletic endeavors into fraudulent clown shows."

All very unfortunate. Happy Fathers' Day everyone.

June 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJack

Happy Fathers DAY LANCE! How would YOU like to have this burden on your shoulders TRUE or NOT to explain to your kids. I also read that he now has been banned from Ti comp. But as usual MONEY is the key, I expect that he is far from bankrupt

June 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGRUMPY Crump

Phil:

As I wrote, earlier, Dave's commentary was spot on. You have made some good points, and mine were sufficiently substantial to warrant your response to them. The two camps (doped vs. clean) have decided already. Without the positive test or slip up (bag of blood with "Son of Rudy or Basso's Dog's Name on it (Brierillo was is?), it will be a case of circumstantial evidence. One at this point does not really matter.

Jay

June 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJay

He won't throw in the towel. He's too much of an egomaniac. There has been a lot of evidence for a long time that he doped. People are easily manipulated. Would love to see him stripped of his titles, largely because of the lies. I realize most of his opponents were doping, too, but that doesn't change the fact that he continues to misrepresent himself.

June 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCRD

CRD,

re: I realize most of his opponents were doping

Then, those opponents are misrepresenting themselves, too, right? Regardless of whether they've been caught or challenged, and escaped detection or lied about their usage, or not, they, too, are misrepresenting themselves.

I'm speculating here, but why should Armstrong's higher profile and/or "better ability" to optimize the drugs he allegedly put in his system (as compared to his opponents) make his crime greater? Or, more deserving of sanction?

The way I see it, if all of them are doping - and, likely (?) - to the same extent and the in the same way as Armstrong (allegedly) has, then all we're seeing are the effects of scaling.

IMO, the only problem is sorting out along which scale Armstrong is "better." For example, we might think about his base cycling ability, his base anatomy/physiology, and his base metabolism. If they're all doping, then the effect we see is just Armstrong's superior athleticism. Unless, somehow Armstrong's body is also better able to squeeze additional performance of the drugs he's accused of using, than his opponents' bodies are. In which case, he's still a superior physical specimen by comparison and ought to be allowed to keep his titles.

If they're all doping - to whatever extent they're individually comfortable - then no real advantage has been taken, has it?

June 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbystander

While we still have PRO sports any sports, The money IS the ONLY reason for competeing. All these pros are doing is trying to make it easier to compete. Pain threshold is the key. Who with OR without can endure the most pain WINS! A VERY SAD state of affairs, BUT theses people are making a living making money thats all it is. Just like working the night shift all your life in a factory, taking pills to keep you awake and do your job, then dying at a young age from overdose. Whats annoys me about sports is, that everyone knows about it and condones it, The team managers know about it, The sponsors know about it, Win baby Win SELL THE PRODUCT MAKE MONEY PLEASE THE STOCKHOLDERS. Thats all that matters. The athlete,(ROBOTS?) if you can call them that, goes away, who cares he made the sopnsor money, maybe made some for himself.

June 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGRUMPY Crump

I think it is important to truly publicly establish if LA (and others) took PEDs. Witch hunt no, but honest public "revelation" yes. Athletes like LA can be and are role models for kids and young people, and it is important for those to realize what is/was truly going on. I think it is not possible for the human body to endure TdF with consistently good results the way LA and some others have done, naturally. So I do believe he took PEDs and/or blood doping. What is sad about this is not his denial of it, but his hiding behind the charity; that is cowardice. We don't fully understand what doping does to the body, but one thing is certain - it cannot be good. If the authorities would give up on coming after the performers, it would send a wrong message to other athletes, especially the young ones; they may as well legalize doping.

June 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMicheal Blue

Any post on any blog which mentions LA will always bring on such a slew of comments as we see here. Proof enough that Armstrong was, and still is, one of the most polarizing figures in sport. The sad thing for me is that this investigation is the only time cycling has been mentioned on ESPN in at least a year. Same "sports" network that used to cover the Zinger/Coors Classic. I honestly don't care much whether LA doped or not. It does not tarnish the thrill I still get from watching some of the footage from the TDF during the Lance years.

June 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterskylab

Boy, I hate to disagree with so many readers / contributors but if somebody isn't actually convicted of doing something - they did NOT do it.

What's that phrase? Oh yes, it is Innocent until proven guilty. So, in my book Lance has not used any performance enhancing drugs, illegal or otherwise. Incidentally, this is the way our Constitutional justice system is supposed to work. If you're not actually convicted of something then you DID NOT do it.

Otherwise, ya would have been convicted, n'est ce pas?

June 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Thurber

My thanks to everyone who has contributed to this debate.

Public opinion never convicted or acquitted anyone; and I think most would agree that is a good thing. The “Innocent until proven guilty,” along with the “500 drug tests and not one positive,” is all Lance Armstrong and his supporters have.

O J Simpson was acquitted by a jury and so is “Legally” innocent; however, public opinion says he really did kill two people. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and that is all we have in the comments here.

Just yesterday (July 18th) baseball pitcher Roger Clemens was found not guilty of lying to congress that he took steroids, which is a crime. The Feds dropped their criminal case against LA, so he is not accused of any crime and will not face a jury.

Apparently there was only one witness to say that Roger Clemens took steroids and he proved to be unreliable, which is why Clemens was acquitted. So the Feds had a very weak case; a jury will say that the one and only witness could be lying and give the defendant the benefit of the doubt.

It is my understanding that in Armstrong’s case the USADA has ten or more witnesses who will testify that he doped, making it harder to argue that they are all lying. Then there is the $465,000 paid to Michele Ferrari, the infamous sports “doctor”. That is an awful lot of money for just health care.

It is my view that there is a lot of evidence stacking up against LA. That is just my opinion, which I am entitled, and you can subscribe to it or not as you are entitled.
Dave

June 19, 2012 | Registered CommenterDave Moulton

@ Dave Moulton
Thanks for the post.
"omission of guilt or not" "admission" of guilt?


@Grumpy Crump
While you're at it, why not send all employers of illegals to jail or at least give them considerable fines.
Dirty Cheats.
It's a two-way street. The prostitute and the john.

June 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRay

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