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Lance Armstrong ends his fight against the USADA
August 23, 2012 8:29 PM   Subscribe

"There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, "Enough is enough." For me, that time is now." Lance Armstrong ends his fight against the US Anti-Doping Agency. This will most likely lead to a lifetime ban from competitive sports and possibly the loss of his 7 Tour de France victories.
posted by Bluecoat93 (212 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Heh, just came here to post this. For non cyclists, the Guardian has an excellent piece on the background.
posted by jaduncan at 8:31 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wonder what consequences this will have for his foundations and his work against cancer.

Say what you will, but a sport that basically necessitates doping should get off its high horse of righteousness and face the endemic problems of the sport itself before crucifying every examplar the sport has produced.
posted by flippant at 8:31 PM on August 23, 2012 [27 favorites]


Throwing in the towel now is a good move on his part, strategically. Most people have made their minds up about his guilt or innocence, and this way he can cling to the "I was never busted!" fig leaf of legitimacy.
posted by "But who are the Chefs?" at 8:34 PM on August 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


.
posted by tzikeh at 8:34 PM on August 23, 2012


Apparently he's going to fight any stripping of his titles, money, etc. It's not at all clear that the USADA has the power to do that, especially when the UCI chose not to do another investigation.
posted by shivohum at 8:35 PM on August 23, 2012


"What is the point of all this testing if, in the end, USADA will not stand by it?" That's a great point.
posted by facetious at 8:36 PM on August 23, 2012 [12 favorites]


Excellent. Now they can reward those seven Tour de France's to whomever came in second in each one and the home countries of those cyclists can start aggressively working to harass investigate whether they doped or not until they can be eliminated as winners.

Once everyone who doped during those years has been investigated and eliminated, we can finally give the titles to the best non-doping cyclists, thus saving the sport forever and preventing anyone from ever doing anything like that again.
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:37 PM on August 23, 2012 [54 favorites]


Looks like they will strip him of his titles.
posted by that possible maker of pork sausages at 8:45 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


USADA has not produced a shred of evidence. Nor will it. The UCI requested the evidence, and the USADA denied them. The USADA has no evidence. It wants Lance in it's monkey court to parade out "evidence", not let Lance mount any sort of defense, refute the evidence. Nothing.

Hardly a fair process at all. USADA basically gave Lance two choices, accept their "findings" and be stripped of titles and banned, or go through their "arbitration". Lance chose the third choice, and gave them the middle finger and told them that they don't matter.

Good call Lance. I suspect the UCI will have a statement shortly about this, and the whole thing will end with the USADA being dissolved.
posted by ericdano at 8:47 PM on August 23, 2012 [17 favorites]


I've always said we should go the other way with these sorts of things. Let it be a contest of human will, strength, and science. Make the swimtube suits and pump them with painkillers and extra red blood cells and growth hormones. Make the bikes out of air and imagination and all that is light or faster than. Make the bats that are heavy and have a core of vibrainium. See if our scientists can make a man smarter and faster and more powerful than the other country. Biologically engineer children to lift busses while doing sudoku.

These may be events I'd tune into see.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:47 PM on August 23, 2012 [44 favorites]


The USADA very much does have the power to pry his titles free from his unnaturally strong fingers. Possibly a silly question here, but who will the titles go to?
posted by item at 8:47 PM on August 23, 2012


Looks like they will strip him of his titles.

That's what the NY Times is reporting, too.

That whole sport is so dirty that I almost feel bad for him -- "but everyone else is doing it!" must be pretty compelling sometimes.
posted by Forktine at 8:48 PM on August 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure if the USADA has the authority to strip him of international titles, but he was paid by US-based organizations for over 10 years (USPS and RadioShack), and they might now have a case.
posted by pjenks at 8:48 PM on August 23, 2012


Once everyone who doped during those years has been investigated and eliminated, we can finally give the titles to the best non-doping cyclists, thus saving the sport forever and preventing anyone from ever doing anything like that again.
I know! Remember when the US had a drug problem, and then we declared a War on Drugs and now you can't buy drugs anymore? It'll be just like that! -- GYWO, Week 1
 
posted by Herodios at 8:48 PM on August 23, 2012 [29 favorites]


Thank god another years-long investigation costing thousands, if not millions, of dollars has resulted in wearing down a great athlete to the point of quitting, all so...well, I'm not clear what exactly they accomplished, but surely this proves something or other.

At least it wasn't a pointless federal case like Bonds or Clemens.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:50 PM on August 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


Fuck them all.
I like Lance.
posted by SLC Mom at 8:51 PM on August 23, 2012 [16 favorites]


The USADA very much does have the power to pry his titles free from his unnaturally strong fingers. Possibly a silly question here, but who will the titles go to?

They're going to strip Armstrong's titles in a race governed by a different body (UCI) that took place in a different country (France) upon anonymous testimony without any physical evidence?

Right.
posted by clearly at 8:52 PM on August 23, 2012 [29 favorites]


He's made his money and sees no real benefit in spending that paying for lawyers on a losing battle when the potential upside of being vindicated is probably smaller than the potential loss of money in contesting the case and losing anyway.

I think it's pretty obvious that the entire sport during that period of time was basically completely full of PEDs the fact that most of the top ten during the period in which Lance won his tours have since been confirmed as doping. He's obviously a great athlete with or without the PEDs but it seems quite likely that PEDs and a whole team full of fellow riders on PEDs provided a substantial advantage in races like the Tour. Just because the whole sport was dirty doesn't make Lance doping somehow right. I think it would be better if the whole sport could safely disarm but the competitive advantages and the potential for lucrative paydays as a result of cheating like this seems destined to keep the sport mired in the potential for cheating.

I think more than the impact on the sport the likelihood that Lance doped in order to be competitive will undermine confidence in his overall mythic storyline of being the guy that triumphed over cancer and still became the greatest cyclist ever. Considering most of his fans liked him primarily for those reasons and not because they were particularly enamored by cycling the likely result of this (losing titles, lifetime ban, etc) will probably see some renewed cynicism regarding these sorts of miracle stories.
posted by vuron at 8:52 PM on August 23, 2012 [6 favorites]


Is it true that all bike racers take PED?
posted by stbalbach at 8:54 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


The first widely used and successful gene therapy is going to be developed underground for (and tested by) athletes. And the day that it pushes its first user past the finish line is the day that athletic competition as we know it ends. After that, things are going to get interesting.
posted by dephlogisticated at 8:56 PM on August 23, 2012 [13 favorites]


Good for him. They can strip all the titles they want, I'll still respect his accomplishments.
posted by HuronBob at 8:58 PM on August 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't understand how a US doping agency can strip him of titles won in UCI-sanctioned events.

Personally I think most elite cyclists are doping, but I don't care. Punishing doping riders is like whack-a-mole. You strip one title and give it to the next guy in line, who was probably doping too but wasn't tested as aggressively because he didn't win. Absurd.

These witch hunts are going to destroy the sport -- not that I have any tenable suggestions for what the alternative might be.
posted by Sokka shot first at 8:58 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


After that, things are going to get interesting.

I'm looking forward to three-legged bicycles, myself.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:59 PM on August 23, 2012


I got to meet Lance once. Like for 4 seconds or less. I took his photo with a woman that gave me her camera to do so and he was nice and offered to then let her take mine. I said I was fine and thanks and there were a ton of people that wanted my place in that line.

He was extremely nice and gracious. I watched him stand there posing for photo after photo until the press of people died down. I was told not everyone got their photo taken, since I left before he did, but he tolerated a hell of a lot more people than I would have.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:59 PM on August 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


The problem with condoning PEDs and all the tech imaginable is that it's not even remotely a level playing field as the wealthy nations and teams would always have a massive advantage. Furthermore many of the treatments carry with them significant longterm consequences which many competitors would choose to ignore in the quest to be better or even competitive. Finally it creates a significant downward push on these sort of advantages into lower and lower ranks. Do we really want kids being pumped up with PEDs during their teenage and pre-teen years on the off chance that might be able to propel them to the level at which there is some sort of financial benefit to being doped to the gills?

I'd rather sports "waste money" on these sorts of things simply because it seems to raise the stakes and consequences of doping to the point where hopefully fewer and fewer athletes feel compelled to dope to win (or be competitive).
posted by vuron at 9:00 PM on August 23, 2012 [15 favorites]


The USADA very much does have the power to pry his titles free from his unnaturally strong fingers.

Could you expand on that? In particular the Tour de France seems very remotely connected to the USADA....
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:00 PM on August 23, 2012


Oh, and I did shake his hand, but that's because I am mostly polite.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:00 PM on August 23, 2012


Is it true that all bike racers take PED?

PEZ, actually.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:01 PM on August 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


Here's the list of the other top finishers in the Tour de France for the years Armstrong won, and their doping status. So I'm not sure who would be eligible for the victories if they give them to someone else.
posted by cushie at 9:03 PM on August 23, 2012 [21 favorites]


Quitting?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:03 PM on August 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've always said we should go the other way with these sorts of things. Let it be a contest of human will, strength, and science.

One problem with allowing doping and such is that the athletes who push this to the point of death or permanent damage, and some will overshoot that mark.
posted by aubilenon at 9:04 PM on August 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


I want two leagues for every sport: doping league and regular league. I want a trading cards for the doping league profiling the contender's regimens and body modifications.

I want to see a bicyclist with six hearts and an addiction to some type of cryptoamphetamine no one has invented yet and who sleeps in a vat of some sort of goo.
posted by Matt Oneiros at 9:04 PM on August 23, 2012 [53 favorites]


One problem with allowing doping and such is that the athletes who push this to the point of death or permanent damage, and some will overshoot that mark.

How do you overshoot death? That's got to be, like, the awesomest drug, ever.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:08 PM on August 23, 2012 [15 favorites]


How do you overshoot death? That's got to be, like, the awesomest drug, ever.

I bet there's an unpublished Philip K. Dick story about it somewhere.
posted by dialetheia at 9:12 PM on August 23, 2012 [23 favorites]


If Jesus had wanted grown men to race on bicycles he wouldn't have invented NASCAR.
posted by bardic at 9:12 PM on August 23, 2012 [17 favorites]


How do you overshoot death?

Well, DMT maybe, but I'm not sure that's "performance enhancing" as much as "SELF TRANSFORMING MACHINE ELVES EVERYWHERE"
posted by en forme de poire at 9:14 PM on August 23, 2012 [12 favorites]


He's no Eddy Merckx.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:14 PM on August 23, 2012 [12 favorites]


Admission of guilt. No question about it.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:14 PM on August 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


three-legged bicycles

NSFW
posted by Burhanistan at 9:15 PM on August 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Maybe it's just me, but I find the idea of "stripping titles" to be a silly fiction. More than a decade later, no less? It seems to be pure theater, and I don't see for whose benefit or what's accomplished.
posted by cribcage at 9:16 PM on August 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


en forme de poire: "Well, DMT maybe, but I'm not sure that's "performance enhancing" as much as "SELF TRANSFORMING MACHINE ELVES EVERYWHERE""

If the self transforming machines elves are pedal-powered, Lance will make them go.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 9:17 PM on August 23, 2012


Maybe it's just me, but I find the idea of "stripping titles" to be a silly fiction.

Yup. While we're at it, Gore had more votes, so we should strip Bush of the presidency.
posted by anonymisc at 9:19 PM on August 23, 2012 [5 favorites]




I want two leagues for every sport: doping league and regular league.

Problem is that people will still surreptitiously dope and try to participate in the regular league.
posted by grouse at 9:22 PM on August 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


My take away, reading between the lines: "Everyone knows that everyone in cycling is doping and gaming the system, and I still won...so what?
posted by littlejohnnyjewel at 9:25 PM on August 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Here's a link to Outside magazine's fascinating article on Lance in January:
If Lance Armstrong went to jail and Livestrong went away, that would be a huge setback in our war against cancer, right? Not exactly, because the famous nonprofit donates almost ­nothing to scientific research. Bill Gifford looks at where the money goes and finds a mix of fine ideas, millions of dollars aimed at “awareness,” and a few very blurry lines.
Since the beginning, it's always seemed like Livestrong has far too many echoes of Komen/Avon/etc., just with yellow-washing instead of pink-, plus the hero worship and BRACELETS BRACELETS BRACELETS.
posted by argonauta at 9:26 PM on August 23, 2012 [33 favorites]


Years from now when Lance's obituary is posted in the Mars Bradbury Landing Tribune, it shall read, "Lance Armstrong, cyclist, died at the age of 129, having failed to ever achieve his goal of winning the Tour de France."
posted by yeti at 9:26 PM on August 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


Good for you, Lance. I would have gone insane by now.
posted by two lights above the sea at 9:30 PM on August 23, 2012


As I understand it ultimate authority in the case of doping stems from the World Anti Doping Agency indicating that as the anti-doping agency finding evidence of doping activity USADA is the result management authority responsible for the Lance Armstrong case not UCI. As the UCI is a WADA signatory presumably they should recognize this but they've indicated that the Armstrong case should be handled by UCI and not USADA. In theory they could take this squabble to the CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport) but is seems likely that UCI would lose that argument which is why Armstrong is basically giving up.

As the presumptive results management authority in this case USADA apparently does have the power to strip Armstrong of his titles and ban him permanently from the sport.
posted by vuron at 9:31 PM on August 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


Here's the list of the other top finishers in the Tour de France for the years Armstrong won, and their doping status. So I'm not sure who would be eligible for the victories if they give them to someone else.

Wow. That's really something.
posted by two lights above the sea at 9:32 PM on August 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Forget racing people. See where it leads?

Let's face facts and start racing doping regimes. Lance is right, enough is enough.
posted by telstar at 9:32 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


At least it wasn't a pointless federal case like Bonds or Clemens.

No, there was one of those, too, it just didn't go anywhere.
posted by mstokes650 at 9:33 PM on August 23, 2012


Here's the list of the other top finishers in the Tour de France for the years Armstrong won, and their doping status. So I'm not sure who would be eligible for the victories if they give them to someone else.

Wow. That's really something.


Given that those that participate are apparently ineligible, I'll accept all those Tour de France victories. Thanks!

Wow, this is going to look great on my resume!
posted by anonymisc at 9:38 PM on August 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


The sad thing is to imagine (though even I don't think it really all that likely) what it would be like to be Lance Armstrong and know, know that you weren't doping and you still managed to beat a dozen guys who were on the most sophisticated doping regimes science and money could create. I mean, shit, that's John Henry beating the steam-powered steel-driving machine seven times and walking away from it -- and finding out that nobody actually believed he could do it, and even afterwards they still didn't.
posted by mstokes650 at 9:39 PM on August 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


I haven't followed this much. Not a big cycling fan. But my brother is, and he was talking about it a few weeks back, and one thing he said really stuck with me. Which is, why has this stuck so hard, for so long? Why has the USADA been so unrelenting on this? Apparently because Armstrong and his entourage have really treated people badly (made threats against them if they ever testified etc). Now, this is all anecdotal. My brother was just reporting what he'd read in other places, not providing sources. But it did lead him to an interesting conclusion, which is a timeline that goes something like this.

Top cyclist gets a bad cancer.
He fights it hard, uses any means necessary.
These means include some intense personal sacrifices and discipline, some pretty serious chemical concoctions.
Whatever it takes. Pure life or death.
He succeeds. He beats the cancer.
He gets back into cycling, pursuing the same means as before.
Whatever it takes. Pure life or death.
He conquers the world.
He loses his soul.

The whole thing feels Shakespearean, epic and tragic.
I feel for they guy. I hope he eventually finds the perspective to really come clean on the whole thing. Now that would be a story worth hearing.
posted by philip-random at 9:39 PM on August 23, 2012 [9 favorites]


It is awesome how so many of you are privileged to secret information categorically proving that Lance is 100% completely innocent (or, somewhat less frequently and much less vocally, 100% guilty).

We don't know anything about the reality of this. You get a story mediated by so many different layers. Do you even know who Michele Ferrari is? And yet! So sure you're right. Why are you so certain. Because someone sold you a story.

Why is our media literacy so awful.
posted by samofidelis at 9:44 PM on August 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


The genetic effects of steroids: testicular cancer. Increased risk
posted by stbalbach at 9:48 PM on August 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


The general reaction to Lance Armstrong's doping compared to that of every ballplayer that's been pinched is really interesting.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 9:48 PM on August 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


Look, either he didn't use PEDs, and is thus the greatest at cycle racing, or he's the only guy who managed to not get caught, and is thus the greatest at cycle racing.

Either way, he's clearly the champ. :)
posted by anonymisc at 9:49 PM on August 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'm going to post this again because of a lingering misconception voiced by argonauta above.

The Lance Armstrong Foundation, aka Livestrong, does not exist to fund cancer research. Lots of other organizations, governmental and non-governmental, do that. They work to directly assist people affected by cancer by providing information, advice and tools for organizing very complicated treatment regimes, and support in general. They also work to influence relevant public policy, such as non-smoking ordnances.

If you find out you have cancer, you can go to their web site for information or call them at 1-855-220-7777 (in the US) to speak to a person dedicated to helping you win your fight. You will not be charged for this help.

I know many of these people personally and, for whatever it might be worth, I find them to be incredibly generous and good people. I donate to the organization regularly.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 9:51 PM on August 23, 2012 [35 favorites]


ericdano: “Good call Lance. I suspect the UCI will have a statement shortly about this, and the whole thing will end with the USADA being dissolved.”

Really?
posted by koeselitz at 9:54 PM on August 23, 2012


anonymisc: Look, either he didn't use PEDs, and is thus the greatest at cycle racing, or he's the only guy who managed to not get caught, and is thus the greatest at cycle racing.

Either way, he's clearly the champ. :)


I disagree. If he was doping, then the best cycle racer was the person who was the fastest of the non-doping racers. Armstrong's achievements devolve into a stupid human trick, the same as if he'd ridden a motorbike - yeah, he went fast, but who cares.
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:59 PM on August 23, 2012


The Lance Armstrong Foundation, aka Livestrong, does not exist to fund cancer research.

They funded cancer research until 2010, at least.
posted by grouse at 10:04 PM on August 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Phase II will be USADA suspending Vaughters, Zabriskie and a few other former Postal riders for short periods in exchange for their testimony. Then things will get a little crazy.

Also, I bet Floyd and Tyler are so fucking drunk tonight.
posted by thomsplace at 10:06 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


It is awesome how so many of you are privileged to secret information categorically proving that Lance is 100% completely innocent (or, somewhat less frequently and much less vocally, 100% guilty).

Its not about that at all. Its about how going after cyclists for doping is akin to going after wrestlers for following a script.

I have no idea if he's used or not. I do know that, by stripping him of the Tour de France titles, they're essentially saying "there were no winners in those years," even if the title falls to some other equally innocent or guilty person.

Also, I find reversing sports results years after the fact to be illogical and Pyrrhic.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:13 PM on August 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Here's the list of the other top finishers in the Tour de France for the years Armstrong won, and their doping status.

You know, I really like Lance Armstrong and I think he's made all the right PR moves. I want to believe him. But you're telling me that in every Tour de France that he won, the top 4 riders behind him have pretty much all been implicated or suspended in a doping scandal? Man, that is just hard to believe.

I'm curious if anyone knows how Lance feels about the fact that so many of his competitors have been busted for doping. Doesn't he have any interest in making the sport cleaner? He doesn't seem to be particularly active in that conversation and I have to admit this leaves me suspicious. By now someone of his stature should be running the USADA.
posted by phaedon at 10:14 PM on August 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


The NYT is not the only press outlet reporting that he will be stripped of his Tour de France titles. Can someone more knowledgeable comment with citations as to whether the Tour has a history of [dis]respecting the USADA's decisions? I've tried to poke around but am still unclear on whether the Amaury Sport Organization looks to them to arbitrate doping charges or not.

They have an agreement with the UCI, and I've found a rather scathing press release by them, but nothing in black and white. I think we'll have to wait and see whether UCI/ASO is going to follow USADA on this and strip titles or not - speaking as an outsider, it certainly doesn't look like a foregone conclusion either way.
posted by pahalial at 10:14 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]




I'm curious if anyone knows how Lance feels about the fact that so many of his competitors have been busted for doping. Doesn't he have any interest in making the sport cleaner?

If you think Lance Armstrong was clean, I have a bridge in Roubaix to sell...
posted by MartinWisse at 10:37 PM on August 23, 2012 [2 favorites]




I didn't know anything about the USADA until today, but Tygart's ramblings are borderline unhinged. As an observer that doesn't give a shit, their conduct strikes me as... less than professional.
posted by mek at 10:42 PM on August 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


I want to see a bicyclist with six hearts and an addiction to some type of cryptoamphetamine no one has invented yet and who sleeps in a vat of some sort of goo.

Oh god, Space Marine bicycle races.

"IT IS BETTER TO PEDAL FOR THE EMPEROR THAN COAST FOR YOURSELF!"
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:47 PM on August 23, 2012 [19 favorites]


Cheaters never win.
posted by ReeMonster at 10:48 PM on August 23, 2012


I disagree. If he was doping, then the best cycle racer was the person who was the fastest of the non-doping racers.

If there was such a person. /hypercynical
posted by LionIndex at 10:52 PM on August 23, 2012


Pope Guilty : In the Grim Darkness of the Future, There are only mountain stages.

Race officials might question the giant, smoke belching engine on the Ork's "bicycle", just as they might question why the Eldar bike is hovering, or the Necron rider appears fused into his. They would of course question silently to avoid being blasted into slimy wet chunks by a hail of gunfire.

The Imperial Guard would enter a 100 man strong team. None of them would survive.
posted by Grimgrin at 10:55 PM on August 23, 2012 [30 favorites]


Seriously, everyone knows that Lance Armstrong did drugs, right? Is this a theatre piece?
posted by Catchfire at 10:57 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


The eaten and danced, nobody will taken it away from him!
posted by CRESTA at 11:00 PM on August 23, 2012


Seriously, everyone knows that Lance Armstrong did drugs, right? Is this a theatre piece?

No more or no less than any piece of this nature. I was in Crested Butte, Colorado last summer during a big mountain biking race in which Lance competed. Crested Butte is a renowned biking town.. and there were MANY people screaming "Cheater!" from the sidelines. It seemed to me that real bike junkies saw through his crap. I think the strength of his survivor story and his awe-inspiring achievements helped him in a big way. But that doesn't matter to me, or to anyone serious about the sport. I feel like I knew the guy was full of shit for years. Like Bush with WMDs.. sure it's a different scale and a different subject but it's the same as far as... there were millions of us who weren't buying the bullshit. Now we know we were right all along. Hahahah!! See ya Lance! Fuck you!
posted by ReeMonster at 11:03 PM on August 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think the USADA just wanted to spruce up its offices with new plaques and memento displays.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:06 PM on August 23, 2012


Cheaters never win.

Cheaters often win, it's just that it's getting harder not to get caught.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:09 PM on August 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I agree that it's a lingering misconception... largely because when the bracelet campaign propelled LAF into the spotlight in 2004, turbo-charged their fundraising, the organization DID exist to fund cancer research (along with providing resources, support, awareness, advocacy etc., all of which are clearly commendable). Still, research was a central part of the LAF mission that all of the bracelet wearers understood that their money would fund.

From LAF's May 2004 press release:
The LAF focuses its activities on community survivorship programs, national advocacy initiatives, scientific and clinical research grants, and survivorship education and resources
And media talking points:
The yellow bands are a far-beyond-anticipated success for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which launched its "Wear Yellow, Live Strong" campaign in May to raise funds for cancer research, education and advocacy
And LAF's 2004 annual report:
We started (LAF) nine years ago and since then I’ve learned more than I ever imagined. I’ve learned that every single person really can make a difference in the battle with cancer—whether it’s by providing support services to survivors, leading research that may lead to new cancer treatments or cures, by shaping the way our country meets the needs of the cancer community, or by simply wearing a yellow wristband as a show of support.
The lion's share of LAF's program spending (40%) in 2004 was for research. I understand that its mission has changed in the past decade... but I think they've still been riding the tide of positive public opinion from the earlier "glory days" that may not align 100% with the organization's primary activities now. I'm not saying that those activities aren't valuable, there's just something more hollow about the branding now, at least to me.
posted by argonauta at 11:10 PM on August 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


> The Lance Armstrong Foundation, aka Livestrong, does not exist to fund cancer research. They funded cancer research until 2010, at least.

They do fund research. But they're an operating foundation and research funding is not their sole mission.
posted by desuetude at 11:24 PM on August 23, 2012


Does this mean we get to resume lobbing accusations of doping at Ye Shiwen without being labeled as xenophobic Americans?
posted by ShutterBun at 11:37 PM on August 23, 2012


I'm somewhat confused. Armstrong says he never failed a drugs test but the USDA have results "consistent with doping".
What exactly is going on here? I mean, there a lot of things that are consistent with doping that don't offer any evidence of doping, but I imagine the USDA doesn't mean anything like that (I say optimistically perhaps). Has he passed or failed these tests, or come in at a point considered technically within the bounds of normal but very high or what?
posted by edd at 12:26 AM on August 24, 2012


If Lance Armstrong didn't dope then he's been very hard done by because he is a once-in-a-generation physiological freak.

But consider this:

- Almost every leading cyclist in the TdF of that era has been caught doping or implicated in doping
- His teammates have, apparently, implicated him directly in doping
- Current TdF riders have a power output of about 10% less than those in the late nineties/early 2000s, when Armstrong was at his peak

If you want more nuance around "never been caught doping" and "results consistent with doping" this Sports Illustrated article is a good read. TL:DR: Armstrong had test results consistent with doping, had test results analysed by a French lab indicating EPO use, has had accusations levelled at him by several non-cycling members of his entourage, retained an EPO-doping doctor for several years and also retained an anti-doping expert through this career, ostensibly to show he was not doping.

It's also worth noting that for years, the doping allegations were pitched as bitter French hacks attacking an all American hero. The moves against Armstrong now are from the US Anti-Doping Agency and it is hard to see them as a partisan witchunt.

As for accusations against Ye Shiwen: accuse away, but make sure you have the same level of scrutiny for Katie Ledecky.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:42 AM on August 24, 2012 [13 favorites]


It's the most canny move he could make - had he persisted in fighting, the next step would have seen all the witness testimony and other evidence against him aired publicly in arbitration, which would have put things beyond the doubt of all but the most blinkered acolytes.
At least this way he walks away, albeit without his titles, but with a significant section of the (American) public still thinking he was the victim of a with-hunt.
posted by anagrama at 12:49 AM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


*witch
posted by anagrama at 12:49 AM on August 24, 2012


I'm somewhat confused. Armstrong says he never failed a drugs test but the USDA have results "consistent with doping".
What exactly is going on here? I mean, there a lot of things that are consistent with doping that don't offer any evidence of doping, but I imagine the USDA doesn't mean anything like that (I say optimistically perhaps). Has he passed or failed these tests, or come in at a point considered technically within the bounds of normal but very high or what?
posted by edd at 12:26 AM on August 24 [+] [!]


Possibly they have newer techniques or analytical frameworks that are more accurate/sensitive. It's hard to know because as far as I understand they have yet to make their evidence public, and have refused to share it with the UCI. I've no particular position on whether or not he doped (and as people note there is a lot of circumstantial evidence, such as most of the rest of the leading cyclists at the time being drug cheats) but it does seem rather strange that USDA is keeping their cards close to their chest, particularly after criminal investigations over the same issue were dropped.
posted by Hello, I'm David McGahan at 12:54 AM on August 24, 2012


Also, here's a very good recent article from Jonathan Vaughters that, amongst other things, discusses how the professional peleton is tending towards being a lot cleaner these days.
posted by anagrama at 12:57 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really, really hope that Wiggins is clean.
posted by milkb0at at 1:11 AM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Biological Passports are helping to make the sport a lot cleaner nowadays.
At least this way he walks away, albeit without his titles, but with a significant section of the (American) public still thinking he was the victim of a with-hunt
A significant section of the American public would still consider him victim of a witch hunt even if he actually admitted doping.
posted by fullerine at 1:28 AM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields where glory does not stay
posted by Jeff Mangum's Penny-farthing at 1:42 AM on August 24, 2012 [6 favorites]


Those of you guys calling for a doping league or doping in all sports realize that what you are asking for would be a horrific spectacle of death, dismemberment, and disability right? The moment we make profoundly unethical misapplications of medical infrastructure a necessity for competition with no restrictions of any kind only the athletes willing to most thoroughly destroy themselves will win. Cycling should be a celebration of health, hard work, and exercise; not one more thing to add to this list.

Torque is the Emperor's currency, spend it well
posted by Blasdelb at 1:50 AM on August 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


Those of you guys calling for a doping league or doping in all sports realize that what you are asking for would be a horrific spectacle of death, dismemberment, and disability right?

We usually just call it the NFL.
posted by Justinian at 1:58 AM on August 24, 2012 [11 favorites]


I really, really hope that Wiggins is clean.

Wiggins, "doping".
posted by MuffinMan at 1:59 AM on August 24, 2012


Can someone explain how it's possible to dope and yet come up clean on all the doping tests? What forms of doping were undetectable in the Armstrong era? Are they still undetectable? Are there obvious flaws in the current testing regime?
posted by beniamino at 2:00 AM on August 24, 2012


Does anyone know of any good jokes around this seed of an idea for a joke I have regarding tiny lances being stuck into arms to make them strong?
posted by panaceanot at 2:20 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


beniamino - some info here on how cyclists passed doping tests for EPO.
posted by MuffinMan at 2:33 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's a biological passport? It sounds cool.
posted by harriet vane at 3:02 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


The short answer is that the EPO test is pretty weak, and tests for human growth hormone and other PED's weaker still.

Interestingly, while pro-cycling is infamous for drug-use, there are far more tests & measures in place these days to detect & prevent it than there are for other sports - long-distance running, for example, still relies on a haemocrit threshold level, like cycling did in the 90's, which is notoriously easy to manipulate.
posted by anagrama at 3:03 AM on August 24, 2012


Gotta say I didn't see this coming. I really thought he'd fight forever, with battalions of lawyers. Now you'll have to excuse me, I have to go look in my mailbox. I'm expecting a refund check from the Floyd Landis defense fund.
posted by fixedgear at 3:25 AM on August 24, 2012


What forms of doping were undetectable in the Armstrong era?

The one that comes to mind is autologous blood transfusion: drawing your own blood and reinjecting it later. As part of that step you can theoretically spin down your blood to fractionate the red blood cells and reinject those, effectively raising your hematocrit level without the need for any hormones. There currently exists no specific test for autologous blood transfusions, although the wikipedia article states that one is currently under development.
posted by the painkiller at 3:27 AM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


he never failed a drugs test but the USDA have results "consistent with doping".

Well, for one thing, not all doping involves actual drugs. Blood doping can be accomplished by transfusion of red blood cells. "All natural," as it were, making it difficult to detect. There's been a test to detect transfusions from third-party donors for a few years now, but they're still working on a test to detect "augologous" transfusions, as the painkiller suggests.

So saying "I never used drugs! I never failed a drug test!" is not technically the same thing as never having doped.
posted by valkyryn at 3:38 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Good call Lance. I suspect the UCI will have a statement shortly about this, and the whole thing will end with the USADA being dissolved.

Since there's no HAMBURGER tag I'm going to assume that you're not being sarcastic and say that 1. the UCI has no real jurisdiction over USADA and 2. the UCI doesn't appear to have any clear motivation or interest to bust dopers; as best their approach has been rather muddled, and that's putting it mildly.

Furthermore, the UCI's sudden interest in these proceedings is a bit odd, seeing as how as recently as August 9th they unambiguously stated an interest in staying out of this altogether.

IMO, to use an analogy, I see the UCI as acting a bit like Major League Baseball after the damage done 94-95 strike in that in order to (re)build their sport they turned a blind eye to the widespread doping/steroid cheating that was obvious to all but the rankest outsider. In professional cycling, that damaging event was the 1998 Festina Affair, and when Lance showed up on the scene in 1999, he must have seemed like manna from the cycling gods to the good people of the ASO and the UCI. Here was somebody who just *had* to be squeaky clean, and they could make him into the face of the new cycling, when all the time nothing ever really changed. It's not a perfect analogy, but that's how I see it.
posted by the painkiller at 4:00 AM on August 24, 2012


I have long argued for there being a doping/non-doping split in sport, and let the market decide their respective values.

Naysayers always claim that dopers will infiltrate the non-doping leagues, but there would be a huge incentive for non-doping athletes to blow the whistle on dopers.

It's really a question of culture more than anything.
posted by unSane at 4:10 AM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, he is not confessing anything, or even leaving open the question of guilt:

"The bottom line is I played by the rules that were put in place by the UCI, WADA and USADA when I raced."

It sounds like he'd rather submit himself to a jury of the public than to a tribunal he sees as a kangaroo court. Ok, so then USADA should make public its evidence and let us decide.
posted by TreeRooster at 4:33 AM on August 24, 2012


For anyone interested, David Millar's Racing Through the Dark is a very interesting look at the culture of doping/drugs within the sport and what it means to rise and fall.

Whether you believe that Millar is truly apologetic about his own doping scandal is another thing, but it's fascinating reading.
posted by Fizz at 4:44 AM on August 24, 2012


Whether he likes it or not, the USADA has jurisdiction here. He can't just take his (remaining) ball and go home without consequences.

Lance Armstrong is not exactly a noted quitter. The allegations against him go back twenty years, and the sad truth is that almost everyone who was successful in pro cycling during that period was doping. Just look at the PDF of TDF results since 2000 posted upthread.

I think we all know in our hearts that he doped. In an odd way, that doesn't take away from the magnitude of his victories over both cancer and his fellow dopers.

The problem here is with the sport and its culture. I personally know people who quit pro cycling in their teens rather than submit to the drug regimes that were required for the top tier competitors.
posted by unSane at 4:44 AM on August 24, 2012


I am unsurprised by all of this. I would surprised, however, if the sport ever significantly changes.
posted by tommasz at 4:51 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


He's still a champion in my book!
posted by Renoroc at 4:52 AM on August 24, 2012


"The bottom line is I played by the rules that were put in place by the UCI, WADA and USADA when I raced."

For me, this was really the money quote in his statement. It's so...weaselly. In any case, for him to compete under the aegis of the rules he has so clearly parsed with such care and then to turn around and say "ZOMMG KANGAROO COURT YOU GUYZ" is way beyond disingenuous.
posted by the painkiller at 5:11 AM on August 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


One problem with allowing doping and such is that the athletes who push this to the point of death or permanent damage, and some will overshoot that mark.

And as we are seeing in the NFL, there are a lot of less-than-wise 22 year olds who will choose the money over the long term effects every time. Anti-doping rules are just like no-drowning-your-opponent rules in water polo, just on a different timescale.
posted by gjc at 5:24 AM on August 24, 2012


Interestingly, while pro-cycling is infamous for drug-use, there are far more tests & measures in place these days to detect & prevent it than there are for other sports - long-distance running, for example, still relies on a haemocrit threshold level, like cycling did in the 90's, which is notoriously easy to manipulate.

What's the time span on these non-detectible doping methods? Can they just sequester athletes for, say, 48 hours prior to a race?
posted by gjc at 5:26 AM on August 24, 2012


What's the time span on these non-detectible doping methods? Can they just sequester athletes for, say, 48 hours prior to a race?

Yep, pretty much - I think it was the Jonathan Vaughters interview I linked to earlier that describes how, once the EPO test was developed in 2000, EPO-users simply moved from subcutanous injections, which were detectable for a longer period, to intravenous injections which were undetectable within a couple of days.
posted by anagrama at 5:31 AM on August 24, 2012


...I played by the rules that were put in place by the UCI, WADA and USADA when I raced.

Well, not really. This ESPN story was linked in the June thread, and contains this series of events:

The vanishing test

Evidence that Armstrong donated large sums of money to the UCI, cycling's governing body, has been public for many years but came under increased scrutiny last year when deposed 2006 Tour de France winner Floyd Landis alleged that Armstrong told him he was able to quash a positive test for EPO during the 2001 Tour of Switzerland by negotiating a payment with the UCI.

Hamilton corroborated that story on "60 Minutes," saying a "relaxed" Armstrong told him the UCI had made the issue "go away." It is not clear whether the initial test, dubbed "suspicious" in Sunday's report, was ever backed up by a test on another sample. However, as World Anti-Doping Agency director general David Howman pointed out on camera, a clear ethical breach occurred when the director of the Swiss lab that conducted the test met with Armstrong and his team manager Johan Bruyneel at the behest of the UCI. That would constitute preferential treatment. Around the time of this alleged meeting, Armstrong donated $25,000 to the UCI. (He contributed $100,000 more to the governing body three years later.)

The show reported that the lab director said in an affidavit the meeting included a discussion of testing procedures that would have been useful for someone seeking to beat the test. If all the moving pieces in this story are connected, it will give credence to the theory that Armstrong and his organization were protected by the UCI in exchange for a quid pro quo. Bribing foreign officials is against U.S. law.

posted by mediareport at 5:36 AM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I've followed the doping case a lot. A few interesting points:

1) Read his press release. Amazingly, everything in it is true. He passed hundreds of tests, yes. The USADA is a bit overzealous, and was chided a bit in the recent Texas decision, yes. But here's the thing: in the press release, he does not claim that he did not dope!! That to me is the greatest admission (by omission). As far as I can tell, his argument is basically "look, you said that the tests were good enough to detect cheaters. I beat your tests, which means I beat YOU, and so you have to give up trying to catch me now. Hell yes, I cheated - and I did such a good job of it I won the tour AND the war against the war against doping."

2) This leads to he second point, which is that Lance has threatened to sue the USADA if they claim that he has admitted to doping. Besides being legally insane (a rejection of arbitration is an admission under USADA) it also underlines his effort here: to brand the whole thing as a witch hunt.

The crazy thing is that lance, despite his talent, seems to misunderstand the game. He was so good that he was able to play a meta-game for years, avoiding and undermining doing controls and staying three steps ahead. And he never got caught. He won. The mistake he made - and what I think makes him so damn bitter - is that he thinks that game should be over.

Anyway, fuck lance. He's half the reason that cat3 23yr olds are taking EPO, and a sanctimonious asshole to boot.

The most amazing thing about this for me was the unrestrained schadenfreude in the cycling community last night. The man is _hated_, and with good reason.
posted by metaculpa at 5:42 AM on August 24, 2012 [16 favorites]


What's a biological passport? It sounds cool.

It is a method where various physiological markers, mostly blood born, are monitored throughout the year at random intervals and the athlete is obligated to explain anomalies or face expulsion from the sport. I don't know the particular science behind it, but measures of hemocrit and testerone have narrow bands of variation, especially for an elite athlete, and marked changes are strong indicators of doping. No sport to my knowledge has taken such a proactive doping control measure like this.
posted by dgran at 5:42 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Guy on NPR just said that the USADA is associated with the world doping organization does have the authority to make these decisions about stripping titles.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 5:45 AM on August 24, 2012


It seems crazy they don't need to provide an actual report or evidence of it though.
posted by smackfu at 5:52 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is a profoundly sad day for professional cycling. I raced bicycles at the club level and was inspired by Armstrong. To some extent I still am inspired by him. I *want* to believe he did it fairly and I don't want another damn asterix in the record books, but gradually over the years the weight of testimony against him makes me feel pretty sure today that he doped. There is still a part of me that feels bad for thinking this way after being so damn inspired.

How many mountain climbs have I done imagining I was riding against/with him? (yeah, pretty silly but you do what you can to motivate) When I got Lyme Disease a few years ago and was bedridden I imagined in a small way my recovery to race-level cycling was like what he did. His story has been a part of my exercise regime for a decade.

Tonight I'll ride. I'm going to do some violence to the pedals and ride this attitude off my wheel because I think you have to be your own hero.
posted by dgran at 5:53 AM on August 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


Also, I bet Floyd and Tyler are so fucking drunk tonight.

If that's the case, I hope Filippo Simeoni is buying the drinks.
posted by the painkiller at 5:53 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


a sanctimonious asshole to boot

I fail to see how he's any more sanctimonious than the legions of people involved in the sport who spent years trying to nail him for cheating while their guys were just as dirty. I have no time for any of this lot.
posted by dry white toast at 5:55 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Has anyone voiced the theory that perhaps radiation treatment for his cancer caused Lance to mutate and become a cycling superman?

That would not only sidestep the doping allegations but open up a new line of tie-in comics, cartoons, and movies.
posted by alex.dudley at 5:57 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is it pronounced Laince or Laaance? That, to me, is the bigger issue.
posted by panaceanot at 6:11 AM on August 24, 2012


dgran: I don't want another damn asterix in the record books

Ils sont fous, ces cyclistes!
posted by alex.dudley at 6:13 AM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Say what you will, but a sport culture that basically necessitates doping should get off its high horse of righteousness and face the endemic problems of the sport culture itself before crucifying every examplar the sport culture has produced.

>FTFY

The problem with PEDs are not PEDs themselves, but the fact that our culture is thrilled to applaud the performance available only through PEDs one minute, only to chide 'cheaters' the next minute. This is an cultural issue and not to a sporting regulatory body issue.

You know how much I care if Lance or Floyd or Klokov or whoever takes PEDs? Not one goddamn bit -- why? Because, 1) so what 2) it's their choice 3) they all do. It's not cheating, it's just something that makes Mr and Mrs American a little bit uneasy.
posted by wrok at 6:16 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seriously, just embrace the drugs. At some point there's diminishing returns, right? It's not like the person with the most drugs is always going to win.

Just like immigration, when the law proves to be a hindrance rather than a benefit to society, changing the law is better public policy than continuing to mete out harsh punishment to the lawbreakers.
posted by moammargaret at 6:18 AM on August 24, 2012


The problem with PEDs are not PEDs themselves, but the fact that our culture is thrilled to applaud the performance available only through PEDs one minute, only to chide 'cheaters' the next minute.

So it's impossible to win a contest against other non-PED users without using PEDs? We're not talking about achieving results that cannot be duplicated without enhancement, like climbing an perfectly smooth 90-degree wall by injecting yourself with housefly hormones.

Ask anyone what any of Lance Armstrong's finishing times in his seven Tour victories was. No one except hard-core cycling fans will have any idea. He wasn't competing against the course, he was competing against other cyclists. It could have taken him twice as long to do the route, and as long as it took everyone else twice as long, he would still have won.

The problem with PEDs is that a lot of athletes don't use them because they're against the rules, and then someone comes along with a slight advantage because of doping and beats those athletes.
posted by Etrigan at 6:23 AM on August 24, 2012


I really don't have any interest in bicycle racing, but am perplexed by the fact that this USADA is taxpayer-funded. I don't see a huge need for using my money to stop athletes from taking drugs. If the governing sports organizations cannot effectively do that by themselves, they risk achieving pro-wrestling levels of credibility (as it appears that pro cycle racing already has). Whether they can do it or not, it's not a national priority.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:24 AM on August 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


the UCI [has] indicated that the Armstrong case should be handled by UCI and not USADA.

Which, given the allegations that Armstrong bought off a "suspicious" test result in 2001 with a large donation to the UCI, is perhaps not surprising.
posted by mediareport at 6:37 AM on August 24, 2012


What I've learned from all of this is that taking performance-enhancing drugs keeps cancer in remission. Science is awesome.
posted by phong3d at 6:38 AM on August 24, 2012


If that's the case, I hope Filippo Simeoni is buying the drinks.

I actually saw this chasedown happen - here's a pic I took
posted by jontyjago at 6:42 AM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]




Metafilter: These may be events I'd tune into see.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 6:57 AM on August 24, 2012


Just realized if this sticks, Greg LeMonde is once again the only US rider to win the Tour.
posted by Sokka shot first at 7:01 AM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


He's still a champion* in my book!
posted by mazola at 7:04 AM on August 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


Just realized if this sticks, Greg LeMonde is once again the only US rider to win the Tour.

Let's not speak too soon. Once they get done tossing out all of the others who've been suspended for doping, who knows who'll end up having won those races?
posted by Copronymus at 7:05 AM on August 24, 2012


not one more thing to add to this listThose of you guys calling for a doping league or doping in all sports realize that what you are asking for would be a horrific spectacle of death, dismemberment, and disability right? ... Cycling should be a celebration of health, hard work, and exercise; not one more thing to add to this list.

Or this one.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:10 AM on August 24, 2012


As a cycling enthusiast, I've followed this for years.

First, it's clear to pretty much everyone that looks at this, that Armstrong did something outside the rules during the era of his wins. Whether is was specific drugs, autologous transfusions, hormone manipulation, or whatever is unclear. But something went on. It's hard to believe everything caught cyclists like Landis and Hamilton say, but it's just as hard to reject everything they say.

That said, the USADA efforts in this case are misguided, wrong, and don't help prevent doping in sport. Using the testimony gathered in secret Grand Jury courtrooms, 'leaked' to them via a Senate committee, they pre-determined the outcome.

To what end?

That races from 14 years ago can be revised? To give the medal to the first untainted rider, even if that puts the new clean 'winner' outside the top ten?

That justice is done? Will anyone be made whole by this? Any damage repaired?

That doping is now done? Go check your local sports page and see the huge effect on athletes that the fear of the USADA has put into them. What? People still getting popped weekly for doping in pro sports? But the the USADA has shown them they can nail Lance, all will be better!

No. Armstrong is right that this was a vendetta against him to settle scores from the past and take him down personally.

This wasn't about catching a murderer or finding the stolen painting, where the dedicated investigator is right to spend years in pursuit.

It wasn't about anything more than a clash of big egos and desire to settle scores by any means necessary.

We can't go back in time and rewrite baseball's decades of speed usage, or football's decades of steroid usage, or cycling's era of rampant doping abuse. The USADA should be looking forward and working with today's athletes.

Things like the biological passport and wherabouts are good attempts to find doping, yet confidence the anti-doping agencies are undermined by this kind of witch hunting. Worse, this kind of thing creates even more dysfunction between USADA, WADA, the UCI, USA Cycling, and pretty much every other group overseeing the sport.

A sad day in cycling in many ways.
posted by Argyle at 7:15 AM on August 24, 2012 [11 favorites]


I don't know if Lance doped or not, and I really don't care. However, if he took something that helped him beat a very bad testicular cancer and still come back as the greatest cyclist in the world, that substance should not be banned. They should be adding it to our water.
posted by COD at 7:18 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


What makes you think LeMond raced clean? We know he had teammates who were doping. We know he beat competitors who were doping. His time trial average speed from '89 (pdf) still stands as the fastest against all the dirty riders. As long as we're knocking people off the record books based on circumstantial evidence like that against Armstrong who's left that can stand up?
posted by IanMorr at 7:18 AM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Lance's attorneys make a big deal about the UCI having "exclusive authority for this matter", but it's common for administrative determinations (bans based on teammate testimony, police investigations, or doping rule infractions other than positive blood or urine tests) to be handled by either the national licensing authority or its ADA (for the US, that's USA Cycling and USADA.

Michael Rasmussen was kicked out of the 2007 Tour while leading for missed doping controls, then suspended for two years by the Monaco Cycling Federation.

Spain's Alejandro Valverde was sanctioned by the Italian federation when his blood was DNA-matched to bags stored in the refrigerator of a Spanish doctor, Eufemiano Fuentes.

Such findings are routinely appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.
posted by SubterraneanRedStateBlues at 7:20 AM on August 24, 2012


I don't want another damn asterix in the record books

Have they developed a test for druid potion?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:23 AM on August 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


If you fall in when you're a little boy, you're not consciously using it to gain an advantage.
posted by IanMorr at 7:27 AM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


The USADA is a bit overzealous, and was chided a bit in the recent Texas decision, yes.

It sounds like you have followed the story more closely than I have so maybe I'm wrong here, but this seems like an understatement.

In this country we have a couple of bedrock principles built into our criminal-justice system, particularly that (1) a person is innocent until proven guilty, (2) evidence must be presented openly, and (3) if a person is found not guilty at trial, he cannot be prosecuted again. These ideas are so foundational that we often extrapolate them from the legal context into the broader arena of "when someone is accused of wrong."

When those principles appear to be violated, a lot of people will immediately side with the accused. There are a lot of reasons for this, including the logic that if it could happen to the accused then it could happen to them too, but the bottom line is that the principles feel more important than any individual case. I think that is the general feeling about the Lance Armstrong "witch-hunt," and based on what I've read about the story it doesn't seem to be an unreasonable feeling.

Add the fact that many people, and here I'm including myself, don't understand the end being pursued. We are told, "Everybody in cycling was doping, so of course Lance Armstrong was." That muddies whether doping was unfair (cheating aside), which implicates the consequence: If you strip his titles, who gets them? Another cyclist, who we're told was probably also doping? Do we institute a fiction that nobody won those races? Do we never mention Armstrong's "victories" and now pretend that Cyclist #4 is "the champion," despite the fact that he becomes a nominal victor without any spoils?
posted by cribcage at 7:27 AM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Seriously, just embrace the drugs. At some point there's diminishing returns, right? It's not like the person with the most drugs is always going to win.

My father and I get into this discussion frequently. It's not the drugs that bothers him, it's the lying about it. These athletes should admit that they take drugs that enhance their performance. This doesn't negate the hard work or the many hours of training that they put into the sport. Just be up front about what you're doing instead of constantly redefining what is or is not considered a drug/enhancement/supplement/whatever.
posted by Fizz at 7:28 AM on August 24, 2012


Let's not speak too soon. Once they get done tossing out all of the others who've been suspended for doping, who knows who'll end up having won those races?

This is exactly the problem I have with the revising history thing. It's something we're already seeing in baseball, where the writers basically won't let any of the big sluggers from the 80s or 90s into the Hall of Fame, even if there's no proof they did anything, because of the "shadow of suspicion." So the Baseball Hall of Fame is just going to pretend the 90s didn't happen, but at the same time, it's full of people who gobbled speed like candy, drunks, and racists.

If someone like Craig Biggio can't get into the Hall of Fame because of steroids rumors, shouldn't noted amphetamine dealer Willy Mays be likewise excluded? Mickey Mantle the alcoholic? Racist shitheel Ty Cobb? Shouldn't we strike the entire segregation era since none of those guys were playing against black players?

Where does it end?
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:30 AM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


The problem with PEDs is that a lot of athletes don't use them because they're against the rules, and then someone comes along with a slight advantage because of doping and beats those athletes.

That is just not true at the highest levels of professional sport. And even if it is true, change the rules and the picture changes.

My father and I get into this discussion frequently. It's not the drugs that bothers him, it's the lying about it. These athletes should admit that they take drugs that enhance their performance. This doesn't negate the hard work or the many hours of training that they put into the sport. Just be up front about what you're doing instead of constantly redefining what is or is not considered a drug/enhancement/supplement/whatever.

Powerlifting handles PEDs quite well in my opinion. There are a variety of federations, none of them encourage PEDs -- it just happens that some of them do drug tests, and some don't. No one loses out to those willing to dedicate more money, health and risk to the sport than them -- and no one is accused of being a 'cheater' or winning by unfair means.
posted by wrok at 7:33 AM on August 24, 2012


edd: “I'm somewhat confused. Armstrong says he never failed a drugs test but the USDA have results 'consistent with doping'.”


Hello, I'm David McGahan: “... it does seem rather strange that USDA is keeping their cards close to their chest, particularly after criminal investigations over the same issue were dropped.”

Let's not drag the United States Department of Agriculture into this; I'm not sure they want to be in the middle of it, and it is a bit confusing because I guess I can imagine them being involved.

The agency in question is the United States Anti-Doping Agency – the USADA, not the USDA.
posted by koeselitz at 7:35 AM on August 24, 2012


"What is the point of all this testing if, in the end, USADA will not stand by it?" That's a great point.

It's actually not, for several reasons:
1. Tests can be beaten by dopers. Through Armstrong's time there have been many well-documented ways to beat the tests that were available at the time.
2. His statement doesn't stand up logically. If I pass a dope test today and then dope tomorrow, it doesn't mean that I shouldn't be penalized because hey, I passed a dope test.
3. Testing is just one of many ways that USADA and WADA and other bodies catch dopers. Others are testimony. And there's a shitload of testimony against Armstrong.

And, beside the point, but, Armstrong failed several dope tests.
posted by entropone at 7:42 AM on August 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


IanMorr, "doping" as a word is black and white. With the occasional exception of a rider who comes clean and gives details about his doping, like David Millar, we can't be black-and-white certain about any rider (and by extension, since cycling has probably the most extensive testing regimen of any sport, any athlete).

I think of riders and doping in terms of shades of gray. Armstrong is, at best, dark gray, while, for me at least, Vaughter's Garmin-Sharp squad are light gray. We can use circumstantial evidence, dirty teammates, anomalous times and the like to slide riders toward the light or the dark. I personally put blood boosting (autologous transfusions) in a different category than pharmaceutical doping, but that's a choice for individual fans to make.

Lemond is widely considered to have raced clean for a few reasons. He started beating adults when he was very young and very unlikely to have been doping, so his native talents were clearly extraordinary. He raced (and won the Tour and world championships) before the emergence of EPO, which is generally placed around 1988 or so, and a lot of people felt that his precipitous dropoff after the 1990 Tour may have resulted from increased doping in the peloton.

Finally, the '89 TT doesn't strike me as much in the way of evidence: It was an odd duck TT, only 25km long, and Lemond was obviously super-motivated to blow it out with the Tour on the line and no further racing.

So if not white, very light gray.
posted by SubterraneanRedStateBlues at 7:47 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nobody is coming out of this looking good. I live in Austin and our local twitterstream is lit up about this. Prevailing sentiment: "I can't believe I'm defending Lance Armstrong".

(Lance Armstrong is mostly in the paper these days for doping allegations and for using too much water during the drought. Sad.)
posted by immlass at 7:48 AM on August 24, 2012


For those who advocate two leagues, one with doping controls and another without, bear in mind that it takes a lot of organization and allotment of few available funds to pull of major cycling events. This isn't a wealthy sport and likely will never become one. There is one league, so to speak, and there is no feasible way to overnight create sponsorship and organization for a separate no-holds-barred group.
posted by dgran at 7:50 AM on August 24, 2012


Ghostride the Whip:

If someone like Craig Biggio can't get into the Hall of Fame because of steroids rumors

Biggio hasn't even gone up for a HOF vote yet
posted by leopard at 7:51 AM on August 24, 2012


anonymisc writes "Yup. While we're at it, Gore had more votes, so we should strip Bush of the presidency."

That would only be relevant if the presidency was decided by aggregate vote total.

Grimgrin writes "Race officials might question the giant, smoke belching engine on the Ork's 'bicycle',"

Would painting the bicycle red be legal or would it be an illegal performance enhancer?
posted by Mitheral at 7:51 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


The man is _hated_, and with good reason.

Don't follow the sport, but I did see the cable TV documentary series, called Addiction where they profile a self taught cyclist who was about to join Armstrong on the team. Apparently when he was introduced to Armstrong he (inadvisably) pinched Armstrong's gut and jokingly said, "getting a little pudgy there old man?"

Armstrong turned and walked away and had him instantly banned from the team, crushing his dreams, and sending him into a downward spiral of homeless crack addiction. Kind of a dick move on both of their parts, if true.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:56 AM on August 24, 2012


Everyone advocating doping leagues knows that there's a pretty good history of professional cyclists dropping dead due to massive heart attacks, right?

We're not talking about taking a year off your life.
posted by samofidelis at 7:59 AM on August 24, 2012


Biggio hasn't even gone up for a HOF vote yet

And may very well go in first ballot when he does. 3000 hits is pretty much a guarantee on its own, but being an obviously clean candidate in a class that includes Bonds, Sosa and Clemens should make it a lock
posted by IanMorr at 8:01 AM on August 24, 2012


You know who else was a doper? Yep, Captain America, that's who.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:15 AM on August 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


How do you overshoot death?

Mr. Poe?
posted by steambadger at 8:16 AM on August 24, 2012


As for myself, people can say what they want about it, but I can't really see this as anything but a complete admission of guilt from Lance. He can say the USADA proceeding would have been a "kangaroo court," and that's fine, but it seems blindingly obvious that mostly he just didn't want to see former teammates sit up there publicly and present the evidence that he has doped. It would ruin his brand.
posted by koeselitz at 8:17 AM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


Everyone advocating doping leagues knows that there's a pretty good history of professional cyclists dropping dead due to massive heart attacks, right?

So? No one is advocating forcingnpeople to dope, right?
posted by c13 at 8:18 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I mean, as far as I can tell, the problem with the USADA in Lance's eyes is they won't bribe. The UCI was easy, and in fact quite open to Lance's bribery; so that part was easy. He objects to the fact that he feels he already put his bribe in with the UCI, and now the USADA is taking authority and won't be bought. That's not to say that the USADA can be trusted – only that the UCI most definitively cannot.
posted by koeselitz at 8:26 AM on August 24, 2012


Has anyone voiced the theory that perhaps radiation treatment for his cancer caused Lance to mutate and become a cycling superman?

That would not only sidestep the doping allegations but open up a new line of tie-in comics, cartoons, and movies.


Given professional cycling is now left with about as much sporting credibility as professional wrestling, you may have just provided the UCI with a great new business plan.
posted by normy at 8:28 AM on August 24, 2012


This is exactly the problem I have with the revising history thing. It's something we're already seeing in baseball, where the writers basically won't let any of the big sluggers from the 80s or 90s into the Hall of Fame, even if there's no proof they did anything, because of the "shadow of suspicion." So the Baseball Hall of Fame is just going to pretend the 90s didn't happen, but at the same time, it's full of people who gobbled speed like candy, drunks, and racists.

Unfortunately, I agree. You could also make the argument that all records before 1947 (when Jackie Robinson crossed the color line) be expunged.
posted by phaedon at 8:33 AM on August 24, 2012


However, if he took something that helped him beat a very bad testicular cancer and still come back as the greatest cyclist in the world, that substance should not be banned. They should be adding it to our water.

What I've learned from all of this is that taking performance-enhancing drugs keeps cancer in remission.

Absolutely not. Two points: cis-platin, bleomycin, etoposide, vincristine, vinblastine....these are drugs that kill your fast-dividing cells (hair, tastebuds, skin of your fingertips, and germ cell tumors) somewhat faster than your slow-dividing cells. They are horrible. You will wind up with terrible anemia, your white blood cells may tank, and you will lose significant weight. Bleomycin in particular can cause irreversible lung damage, which is why Armstrong did not take it, but went with a more unpleasant cocktail.

That said, the reason these drugs are given is that they are effective. Testicular tumors are pretty much entirely made up of very fast-dividing cells (with the exception of teratoma), and so they have a very good track record (at least compared to other cancers) of being curable.
posted by Existential Dread at 8:35 AM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Biggio hasn't even gone up for a HOF vote yet

Jeff Bagwell has, though, and he explicitly lost votes based on a vauge sense that he must have used PEDs despite even less evidence than there is against Lance Armstrong.
posted by Copronymus at 8:39 AM on August 24, 2012


The entire idea of "fair competition" is completely absurd to begin with, in sports as well as in everything else.
posted by bookman117 at 8:45 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


accuse away, but make sure you have the same level of scrutiny for Katie Ledecky.

I missed that race, but just watched it. All I can say is yikes.
posted by phaedon at 8:47 AM on August 24, 2012


So? No one is advocating forcingnpeople to dope, right?

And yet, it's still wrong to incentivize things that are abjectly hazardous to somebody's health.

I mean, yeah, cycling can be dangerous. And other sports more so (shit, the point of boxing is to give the other guy a concussion).

But once you start offering a financial incentive for somebody to turn their blood into slurry, I would say that you have definitively crossed a line. Do you really want young people chasing a dream to die in their sleep, like they did in the 1990s?

"Hey, don't blame me, I didn't force them to dope. I just gave them prizes for doing it."
posted by entropone at 8:57 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


You know who else was a doper? Yep, Captain America, that's who.

The Nazis were doping, too.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:59 AM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Given professional cycling is now left with about as much sporting credibility as professional wrestling, you may have just provided the UCI with a great new business plan.


I hear this a lot but the view from inside the sport is that things are changing - mostly based on people power. Fans, journos, riders, and team managers are rallying behind clean sport, even if president of the UCI drags his feet on certain measures. A curtain of silence has fallen.

And best of all, race speeds are down. Climbing speeds are down. Hematocrits are down, and power-to-weight ratios are down - all to within the range of normal human physiology.

This is all extremely positive!

Yeah, icons are falling. But this is a very different time than the 1990s and early 2000s. It's better.
posted by entropone at 9:00 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Everyone advocating doping leagues knows that there's a pretty good history of professional cyclists dropping dead due to massive heart attacks, right?

Considering the widespread allegations, it seems like the biggest advocates of a doping league are the cyclists themselves.
posted by malocchio at 9:08 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


And yet, it's still wrong to incentivize things that are abjectly hazardous to somebody's health.

Skydiving is hazardous to your health. So is commercial fishing, mining or being on a military. So is being sedentary and participating in hit dog contests.
I'm not defending doping in any way, hell I don't care for "Sports" at all. It's just that, given our financial state, creating a government agency that regulates guys riding bicycles seems pretty damn stupid.

"Hey, don't blame me, I didn't force them to dope. I just gave them prizes for doing it."

Lance Armstrong received a prize from a US government for winning TdF?
posted by c13 at 9:14 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


HOT dog contests...
posted by c13 at 9:16 AM on August 24, 2012


Is there a page that summarizes, accurately and completely, the evidence against Armstrong?
posted by jsturgill at 9:38 AM on August 24, 2012


USADA hasn't released all the evidence they claim they have, so that would be impossible.
posted by grouse at 9:39 AM on August 24, 2012


The Nazis were doping, too.

Well, then the US should have tested Johann Schmidt (only arguably a Nazi; he was more on HYDRA's side than the Third Reich) and then pointed out that he'd doped, and so the WWII winnings and spoils were going to have to be reassigned to either the Axis or Allies.

Although given Enigma, the Nazis would probably have just claimed hax.
posted by jaduncan at 9:40 AM on August 24, 2012


Like myself and others upthread have mentioned there are lots of problems with going with the "Everyone is a big boy and they can choose to dope or not" viewpoint. Even if everyone in the top ranks was on a doping regime in the 90s and 00s (which is quite possible) that creates a massive amount of downward pressure on the lower ranks of riders to dope in order to be able to actually move up to the top ranks and actually be a professional rider.

When 18 year old (and younger) cyclists feel like they need to get an edge in order to meet the now inflated goalposts then yes you get people dropping dead because they don't really know how to dope effectively.

The same sort of pressures are pushing down from pro sports into the collegiate and high school leagues as the competition to get that college scholarship or make it as a pro means that you are willing to take a massive risk with your long term health in order get a potential short term payoff. Yeah you can say that they accept that risk when they embark on that journey but we regulate all sorts of risky behaviors because the net social cost is greater than the benefit. I don't see why sport should be any different.
posted by vuron at 9:48 AM on August 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


"What is the point of all this testing if, in the end, USADA will not stand by it?" That's a great point.

It's actually not, for several reasons:
1. Tests can be beaten by dopers. Through Armstrong's time there have been many well-documented ways to beat the tests that were available at the time.
2. His statement doesn't stand up logically. If I pass a dope test today and then dope tomorrow, it doesn't mean that I shouldn't be penalized because hey, I passed a dope test.
3. Testing is just one of many ways that USADA and WADA and other bodies catch dopers. Others are testimony. And there's a shitload of testimony against Armstrong.


i must insist.

1. the point he (or one of his clever lawyers) is making is that it's fundamentally unfair to find someone innocent and then circle back later and "re-try" them. the further into the past the original determination of "innocence" gets, the more difficult it becomes for an athlete to defend herself. it's not a perfect analogy to either criminal or civil law, but the finality of judgments is one of the most basic principles underpinning the rule of law, in any modern system. if you passed a breathalyzer, then 15 years later they came back and convicted you based on a newer, more sensitive test, would you think that was fair? that's the point. at some point you get to stop worrying, even if you did something wrong - pretty much every legal system has statutes of limitation and statutes of repose.

2. Yes, it is perfectly logical. He's not saying what you're saying he's saying.

3. Your point is valid, but it's not relevant.

The idea here is that there are competing values in play - finality and due process for the accused athlete, on the one hand, and fairness to other competitors and the pursuit of justice on the other. you might prefer the latter, and it might be better for many reasons, but that doesn't mean there aren't strong arguments to be made for the first.
posted by facetious at 9:51 AM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is there a page that summarizes, accurately and completely, the evidence against Armstrong?

USADA summarizes their evidence as they announce Armstrong's lifetime ban:

“The evidence against Lance Armstrong arose from disclosures made to USADA by more than a dozen witnesses who agreed to testify and provide evidence about their first-hand experience and/or knowledge of the doping activity of those involved in the USPS Conspiracy as well as analytical data. As part of the investigation Mr. Armstrong was invited to meet with USADA and be truthful about his time on the USPS team but he refused.”

“Numerous witnesses provided evidence to USADA based on personal knowledge acquired, either through direct observation of doping activity by Armstrong, or through Armstrong’s admissions of doping to them that Armstrong used EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone and cortisone during the period from before 1998 through 2005, and that he had previously used EPO, testosterone and hGH through 1996. Witnesses also provided evidence that Lance Armstrong gave to them, encouraged them to use and administered doping products or methods, including EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone and cortisone during the period from 1999 through 2005. Additionally, scientific data showed Mr. Armstrong’s use of blood manipulation including EPO or blood transfusions during Mr. Armstrong’s comeback to cycling in the 2009 Tour de France.”

posted by entropone at 10:02 AM on August 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


The idea here is that there are competing values in play - finality and due process for the accused athlete, on the one hand, and fairness to other competitors and the pursuit of justice on the other. you might prefer the latter, and it might be better for many reasons, but that doesn't mean there aren't strong arguments to be made for the first.


Well put.
posted by entropone at 10:04 AM on August 24, 2012


USADA, quoted by entropone: “Additionally, scientific data showed Mr. Armstrong’s use of blood manipulation including EPO or blood transfusions during Mr. Armstrong’s comeback to cycling in the 2009 Tour de France.”

This part is worth repeating and paying attention to. The oft-repeated claim that he's never been found to have been doping is not in fact correct. This whole "I'm not going to fight it" thing seems to be a way for him to move on without having that evidence shown to the world, since, even though it is known publicly, he's somehow managed to convince people that he's never been caught.
posted by koeselitz at 10:36 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


As part of the investigation Mr. Armstrong was invited to meet with USADA and be truthful about his time on the USPS team but he refused.

I have to say that as someone who thinks Armstrong did some performance enhancing whatever (drugs, blood exchange, etc.), that sentence doesn't fill me with confidence about the fairness of the USADA investigation, even taking into account the 2009 evidence mentioned in the next paragraph.
posted by immlass at 10:39 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Today I learned that the first gel "awareness" bracelet was Armstrong's yellow one for cancer. The list of "awareness" bracelets and "awareness" ribbons on wikipedia is so long that I suspect it must be far from complete.

Anyway the guy has done some good stuff and he has done some bad stuff like most humans.
posted by bukvich at 10:43 AM on August 24, 2012


Seems like a good move by Armstrong. He can continue to claim its all a witch hunt. And maybe he can attempt to reclaim his titles if/when there is a more friendly USADA board of directors.

Personally, I don't like the idea of stripping the titles, but there have already been other titles stripped and cyclists banned haven't there? Is it fair to them that Armstrong gets to keep his titles simply by refusing to fight the charges against him? Its a difficult problem.

It seems like the best motivation behind having anti-doping is to prevent youth from starting it at an early age.
posted by Golden Eternity at 11:08 AM on August 24, 2012


I played soccer in high school. I knew one kid who was quite talented, but not much of an athlete. He was a little guy, like 5'5" and maybe 120 as a sophomore. By the time he came back after summer vacation for his junior year, he must have packed on thirty pounds of muscle, and turned into a real aggressive asshole. About four years later he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. His cancer had spread, and he died about eighteen months later.

Maybe that just happened. I don't know. But I do know other kids on my high school who took steroids. I'm always going to be suspicious.


So? No one is advocating forcingnpeople to dope, right?


And sometimes the gladiators even beat the lions!
posted by samofidelis at 11:54 AM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


more than a dozen witnesses who agreed to testify and provide evidence about their first-hand experience and/or knowledge of the doping activity of those involved in the USPS Conspiracy as well as analytical data.

I wonder how many of them had gotten busted for doping.
posted by smackfu at 12:17 PM on August 24, 2012


I wonder how many of them had gotten busted for doping.

Tyler Hamilton: busted
Floyd Landis: busted
Dave Zabriskie: not busted
George Hincapie: not busted
Levi Leipheimer: not busted
The other employees of USPostal who were not riders: not busted and it doesn't matter
posted by entropone at 12:25 PM on August 24, 2012


I used MyPlate to lose 50 lbs so thanks for that but frankly other than the daily plate livestrong.com is just a content farm of unsubstantiated fitness bullshit like almost every other fitness site on the internet.

Did lance cheat? Who knows.
Did lance enforce the cycling communities omerta codes? Emphatic and publicly obvious yes.

How many non-mobsters enforce omerta codes?
posted by srboisvert at 1:00 PM on August 24, 2012


Professional wrestling isn't such a bad comparison, actually. That industry has ostensibly also cracked down on illegal substances, to the point that revenue-generating performers are routinely suspended and fired for using steroids or even pot. Yet the popular speculation is that for every one incident that is caught, another [many] go undisdovered. Moreover, the top-of-the-ladder superstars who are the industry's equivalent to Lance Armstrong in terms of popularity and sales are alleged to have gotten away with egregious violations.

Scott Steiner (early career/later career) has told a story about being ordered by WWE to submit to drug testing. Steiner says he laughed. "I told [WWE] to have Triple H pick me up in a limo, then we could go test together. They never asked again. I've never failed a drug test in my life." For the uninitiated, Triple H (early career/later career) is the real-life son-in-law of WWE's chairman, Vince McMahon (early career/later career).

If I understand, the latter part of Steiner's quote is essentially what Lance Armstrong says.
posted by cribcage at 1:06 PM on August 24, 2012


There is almost no chance at all that Leipheimer testified against Armstrong. However, you can easily add Jonathan Vaughters and Frankie Andreu to the list of cyclists not busted but likely testifying against.

Anyway, with one notable exception (see below) the level of this conversation is truly infantile, and I can't be bothered digging in at all. I will offer this index of all the dirt on Armstrong though, from Cyclingnews.

I will also offer an observation. Only a handful of sports dopers have ever been caught by testing. Many many athletes have been caught by non-competition investigation by police and etc. Including Festina, Puerto, Balco, the Dubin Inquiry in Canada. It should be easy for any thinking individual to conclude that existing testing regimes don't work very well at all.


The crazy thing is that lance, despite his talent, seems to misunderstand the game. He was so good that he was able to play a meta-game for years, avoiding and undermining doing controls and staying three steps ahead. And he never got caught. He won. The mistake he made - and what I think makes him so damn bitter - is that he thinks that game should be over.

This is the most striking part of the story by far. Lance was a genius at the meta-game. When half the Peleton stopped doping after Festina (1998), Lance got a free ride to the win (1999). When Lance got caught in 2001 he was so close to the UCI they quashed it. And so on and so on... Meanwhile Floyd was terrible at understanding the meta-game, as he freely admits in some of the stories he tells. He wanted the UCI to pay him some income insurance money that they owed him because his team failed to pay. Lance has to take him aside and explain that asking the UCI for money, even if they do owe it to you, is just too disrespectful.

This thread is a great example of why only the meta-game matters in the end. I honestly don't know which side understands better, but it is an interesting struggle to watch :)
posted by Chuckles at 1:09 PM on August 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


All in the (meta) game, yo.
posted by RakDaddy at 1:15 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


WWE is completely filled with PEDs of one sort or another. Whether it's the ridiculously bulked up wrestlers that McMahon likes to promote (Cena, Rock, Triple H, Brock, Orton, etc) or just the stuff that you take to recover quicker from the years of week-in, week-out performing. Yeah there has been a rise of smaller more technical wrestlers but other than CM Punk who has ridiculously strong promo skills the top echelon is all dominated by people that obviously roided up at some point in time or another.

Ultimately though cleaning up the "sport" of professional wrestling would probably improve the overall quality as even scripted drama like that obviously takes it's toll and that injuries would probably be less problematic if the wrestlers weren't completely bulked up.
posted by vuron at 1:20 PM on August 24, 2012


Major league baseball. Sponsored by Cialis.
posted by emhutchinson at 3:01 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


the level of this conversation is truly infantile

Well that was unnecessary. There have been a number of thoughtful, interesting comments. Sorry you're apparently not able to see that.
posted by mediareport at 3:43 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Unnecessary, and an odd thing to say while dropping a 300-word comment into the thread. You "can't be bothered digging in," but you feel others should read what you have to say?
posted by cribcage at 4:06 PM on August 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry to lump you in with the rest mediareport. Just to be clear, I did read it all. I just didn't want to start singling out individuals. Fuck it though, I'm disappointed in this place, we might as well take a look at why:

Fuck them all.
I like Lance.

Thank god another years-long investigation costing thousands, if not millions, of dollars has resulted in wearing down a great athlete to the point of quitting, all so...well, I'm not clear what exactly they accomplished, but surely this proves something or other.

That whole sport is so dirty that I almost feel bad for him -- "but everyone else is doing it!" must be pretty compelling sometimes.


A very brief synopsis that. We can do better..
posted by Chuckles at 5:07 PM on August 24, 2012


the level of this conversation is truly infantile

NO, U
posted by en forme de poire at 11:26 PM on August 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


George Vescey in the New York Times.
posted by bukvich at 9:20 AM on August 25, 2012


Ritte Cycles on Lance Armstrong.

Pretty interesting article. May not agree with it, but it makes some points.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:56 AM on August 25, 2012


Pretty interesting article. May not agree with it, but it makes some points.

It's natural to be sad when one's heroes are dethroned and their dishonesty exposed, and we want to believe that horrible diseases like cancer are beatable if we just decide to fight hard enough. But estimates of the survival odds of a single, specific patient are just guesses, and testicular cancers are among the most treatable, most survivable cancers out there -- even at stage IV.

In recovering from his cancer, Lance had all of his youth, good science and a healthy helping of luck on his side.

For people who are suffering from or have lost family to cancer, Lance has become a symbol. When it comes to my life or my family, though, I want my symbols to be honest ones.
posted by rhombus at 10:27 AM on August 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lance Armstrong's Endgame by Bill Strickland, who defended Armstrong for years.
posted by mecran01 at 10:36 AM on August 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


See, rhombus, that's why you gotta make sure that your heroes are dead. That way they can't disappoint you.
posted by entropone at 3:13 PM on August 25, 2012




Man, I hope this very important thing that is very important to talk about and report on doesn't upset the delicate cycle-sports-based metaeconomy that drives our entire human civilization forward.
posted by jarvitron at 1:36 PM on August 27, 2012


Man, I hope this very important thing that is very important to talk about and report on doesn't upset the delicate cycle-sports-based metaeconomy that drives our entire human civilization forward.

If only your browser included a BACK button rather than forcing you to comment on every story before you're allowed to go about your busy day.
posted by Etrigan at 1:44 PM on August 27, 2012




Landis says the UCI would take instructions from Lance on which riders to scrutinize closely:
The kicker? Armstrong himself arranged the meeting, Floyd Landis tells Hamilton. Landis alleges that Armstrong helped bring down the UCI's anti-doping authorities on his main competitors including Hamilton and Euskaltel's Iban Mayo.

"He called Hein, after Ventoux. Said you guys and Mayo were on some new shit, told Hein to stop you," Landis is quoted as saying.
Amazingly, this was public knowledge at the time, sort of.
posted by Chuckles at 9:44 PM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]






I liked this rather rational analysis of the meaning behind the denunciation of the revelation of Armstrong's doping:
The Voodoo Cult of Positive Thinking
posted by meehawl at 10:44 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


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