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  1. #1
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    Statement From USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart Regarding The USPS Doping Conspiracy

    Statement From USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart Regarding The U.S. Postal Service Pro Cycling Team Doping Conspiracy

    October 10, 2012

    Today, we are sending the ‘Reasoned Decision’ in the Lance Armstrong case and supporting information to the Union Cycliste International (UCI), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), and the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC). The evidence shows beyond any doubt that the US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team ran the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.

    The evidence of the US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team-run scheme is overwhelming and is in excess of 1000 pages, and includes sworn testimony from 26 people, including 15 riders with knowledge of the US Postal Service Team (USPS Team) and its participants’ doping activities. The evidence also includes direct documentary evidence including financial payments, emails, scientific data and laboratory test results that further prove the use, possession and distribution of performance enhancing drugs by Lance Armstrong and confirm the disappointing truth about the deceptive activities of the USPS Team, a team that received tens of millions of American taxpayer dollars in funding.

    Together these different categories of eyewitness, documentary, first-hand, scientific, direct and circumstantial evidence reveal conclusive and undeniable proof that brings to the light of day for the first time this systemic, sustained and highly professionalized team-run doping conspiracy. All of the material will be made available later this afternoon on the USADA website at U.S. Anti-Doping Agency - USADA.

    The USPS Team doping conspiracy was professionally designed to groom and pressure athletes to use dangerous drugs, to evade detection, to ensure its secrecy and ultimately gain an unfair competitive advantage through superior doping practices. A program organized by individuals who thought they were above the rules and who still play a major and active role in sport today.

    The evidence demonstrates that the ‘Code of Silence’ of performance enhancing drug use in the sport of cycling has been shattered, but there is more to do. From day one, we always hoped this investigation would bring to a close this troubling chapter in cycling’s history and we hope the sport will use this tragedy to prevent it from ever happening again.

    Of course, no one wants to be chained to the past forever, and I would call on the UCI to act on its own recent suggestion for a meaningful Truth and Reconciliation program. While we appreciate the arguments that weigh in favor of and against such a program, we believe that allowing individuals like the riders mentioned today to come forward and acknowledge the truth about their past doping may be the only way to truly dismantle the remaining system that allowed this “EPO and Blood Doping Era” to flourish. Hopefully, the sport can unshackle itself from the past, and once and for all continue to move forward to a better future.

    Our mission is to protect clean athletes by preserving the integrity of competition not only for today’s athletes but also the athletes of tomorrow. We have heard from many athletes who have faced an unfair dilemma — dope, or don’t compete at the highest levels of the sport. Many of them abandoned their dreams and left sport because they refused to endanger their health and participate in doping. That is a tragic choice no athlete should have to make.

    It took tremendous courage for the riders on the USPS Team and others to come forward and speak truthfully. It is not easy to admit your mistakes and accept your punishment. But that is what these riders have done for the good of the sport, and for the young riders who hope to one day reach their dreams without using dangerous drugs or methods.

    These eleven (11) teammates of Lance Armstrong, in alphabetical order, are Frankie Andreu, Michael Barry, Tom Danielson, Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, Stephen Swart, Christian Vande Velde, Jonathan Vaughters and David Zabriskie.

    The riders who participated in the USPS Team doping conspiracy and truthfully assisted have been courageous in making the choice to stop perpetuating the sporting fraud, and they have suffered greatly. In addition to the public revelations, the active riders have been suspended and disqualified appropriately in line with the rules. In some part, it would have been easier for them if it all would just go away; however, they love the sport, and they want to help young athletes have hope that they are not put in the position they were -- to face the reality that in order to climb to the heights of their sport they had to sink to the depths of dangerous cheating.

    I have personally talked with and heard these athletes’ stories and firmly believe that, collectively, these athletes, if forgiven and embraced, have a chance to leave a legacy far greater for the good of the sport than anything they ever did on a bike.

    Lance Armstrong was given the same opportunity to come forward and be part of the solution. He rejected it.

    Instead he exercised his legal right not to contest the evidence and knowingly accepted the imposition of a ban from recognized competition for life and disqualification of his competitive results from 1998 forward. The entire factual and legal basis on the outcome in his case and the other six active riders’ cases will be provided in the materials made available online later today. Two other members of the USPS Team, Dr. Michele Ferrari and Dr. Garcia del Moral, also received lifetime bans for perpetrating this doping conspiracy.

    Three other members of the USPS Team have chosen to contest the charges and take their cases to arbitration: Johan Bruyneel, the team director; Dr. Pedro Celaya, a team doctor; and Jose “Pepe” Marti, the team trainer. These three individuals will receive a full hearing before independent judges, where they will have the opportunity to present and confront the evidence, cross-examine witnesses and testify under oath in a public proceeding.

    From day one in this case, as in every potential case, the USADA Board of Directors and professional staff did the job we are mandated to do for clean athletes and the integrity of sport. We focused solely on finding the truth without being influenced by celebrity or non-celebrity, threats, personal attacks or political pressure because that is what clean athletes deserve and demand.”


    CONTACT:
    USADA Media Relations
    Phone: (719) 785-2000
    E-mail: media@usada.org

    Link to the original article here.
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  2. #2
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    Last edited by Stugotz; 10-10-2012 at 12:47 PM.
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    The problem is, they've gone after Armstrong but who do they give the titles they strip him of to? At that level during that era there probably weren't too many clean riders and I don't think too many people think there were. They spend all kinds of time and money to go after and bring down Armstrong only to hand his titles to another doper? It would be great if cycling can have 100% cleanliness, but it would be nice if it can get there without eating itself alive.

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    Illuminating. Yowser.

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  6. #6
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    The pursuit of justice should not be likened to beating a dead horse.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    The problem is, they've gone after Armstrong but who do they give the titles they strip him of to? At that level during that era there probably weren't too many clean riders and I don't think too many people think there were. They spend all kinds of time and money to go after and bring down Armstrong only to hand his titles to another doper? It would be great if cycling can have 100% cleanliness, but it would be nice if it can get there without eating itself alive.
    They ought to just void the races altogether from that era.

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    Quote Originally Posted by roadie scum View Post
    The pursuit of justice should not be likened to beating a dead horse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 006_007 View Post
    sigh
    The horse (donkey?) and it's legal team are still proclaiming they've won the hearts and minds of the people as surely as this guy below. There's still some beatin' left to do here.
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  10. #10
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    absolutely roadie..

    this is not about Lance, it is way bigger than him...

    it may be the beginning of the healing process for this sport... I certainly hope it is....

    despite popular belief - no one is bigger than the sport itself... reading the evidence will be really fun... in a weird way... i want to know how they did it..

    Quote Originally Posted by roadie scum View Post
    The pursuit of justice should not be likened to beating a dead horse.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiahh View Post
    They ought to just void the races altogether from that era.
    I think that is probably the right answer at the end of the day.
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  12. #12
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    The guys who won the Tour's have all been busted for doing drugs at one point. What is the point? Dead horsing it! Secret Race was an interesting read.

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    Read an article today that said Lance's attorneys are now linking his "persecution" to big tobacco, since he's so anti-tobacco. It said the USADA attorneys are the same ones that Big Tobacco used, so they're in cahoots now against him.

    It's just getting sad now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skiahh View Post
    Read an article today that said Lance's attorneys are now linking his "persecution" to big tobacco, since he's so anti-tobacco. It said the USADA attorneys are the same ones that Big Tobacco used, so they're in cahoots now against him.

    It's just getting sad now.



    Yep, 26 people willing to purger themselves aligned with big Tobacco, conspiracy for sure. All it needs is a 2nd gunman to complete the triad.
    Last edited by AZ; 10-10-2012 at 10:05 PM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiahh View Post
    Read an article today that said Lance's attorneys are now linking his "persecution" to big tobacco, since he's so anti-tobacco. It said the USADA attorneys are the same ones that Big Tobacco used, so they're in cahoots now against him.

    It's just getting sad now.
    Sad that some of Lance's current legal representation has also had billings with big tobacco in recent years, a fact that his personal attorney Tim Herman conveniently ignores with his statement. Nothing left but to clutch at straws now.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stugotz View Post
    The USPS Team doping conspiracy was professionally designed to groom and pressure athletes to use dangerous drugs, to evade detection, to ensure its secrecy and ultimately gain an unfair competitive advantage through superior doping practices......

    Our mission is to protect clean athletes by preserving the integrity of competition not only for today’s athletes but also the athletes of tomorrow. We have heard from many athletes who have faced an unfair dilemma — dope, or don’t compete at the highest levels of the sport. Many of them abandoned their dreams and left sport because they refused to endanger their health and participate in doping. That is a tragic choice no athlete should have to make......

    From day one in this case, as in every potential case, the USADA Board of Directors and professional staff did the job we are mandated to do for clean athletes and the integrity of sport. We focused solely on finding the truth without being influenced by celebrity or non-celebrity, threats, personal attacks or political pressure because that is what clean athletes deserve and demand.”
    I don't think this was a waste of money. It may be the one thing that really turns the tide on doping. Travis Tygart did his job and did it well.

    I suspect at this point that the LA legal strategies will turn towards limiting financial liability should a civil case move forward to recover ill gotten gains. Interesting to see the next move (if any) from Nike and Michelob.

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    Quote Originally Posted by June Bug View Post
    Travis Tygart did his job and did it well.
    IMHO I don't believe guilt until proven innocence is doing one's job well

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    Quote Originally Posted by WaySlowWhitey View Post
    IMHO I don't believe guilt until proven innocence is doing one's job well
    They have numerous eye witness accounts. They have testimony on how the blood tests were cheated. They have money trails showing where the drugs came from. How is that guilty until proven innocent?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by car_nut View Post
    They have numerous eye witness accounts. They have testimony on how the blood tests were cheated. They have money trails showing where the drugs came from. How is that guilty until proven innocent?
    and most importantly of all - Lance refused the opportunity to defend himself and put this case away for ever. He must have known that he could not have defended himself... 202 pages of summary report by USADA and heavy hitting witnesses - dodge that Lance...

    i hope this report addresses the "witch hunt" aspect of this case and those that refused to believe what was all but obvious, have the info they needed to make an educated opinion.

    at the end - this really is not about Lance - it is about vicious, organized crime in sports - which hopefully will blow up in the worst scandal ever - as the sport needs healing badly and new athletes should have proper guidance and level playing field ahead of them...

    then it may become fun to watch again....

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by hh-cc View Post
    The problem is, they've gone after Armstrong but who do they give the titles they strip him of to? At that level during that era there probably weren't too many clean riders and I don't think too many people think there were. They spend all kinds of time and money to go after and bring down Armstrong only to hand his titles to another doper? It would be great if cycling can have 100% cleanliness, but it would be nice if it can get there without eating itself alive.


    "They" don't have to give the title to anyone, just leave it blank or use an * like "they" have done in other instances where the winner has later been disqualified.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by osokolo View Post
    then it may become fun to watch again....
    The Vuelta was very entertaining to watch this year.
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  22. #22
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    this is not about Armstrong and the past...

    this is about dismantling a sophisticated and almost impossibly to catch, organized scheme of cheating in sports... it is hard to fathom how organized this scheme was...

    this case is about the future of sports, not just cycling...

    justice was slow, but it did come and it is better that it came ever than never... don't really care who gets those titles - could have been you if you were able to ride from start to finish and not take EPO.

    it seems that everyone else in the peloton did...

    Quote Originally Posted by hh-cc View Post

    The problem is, they've gone after Armstrong but who do they give the titles they strip him of to? At that level during that era there probably weren't too many clean riders and I don't think too many people think there were. They spend all kinds of time and money to go after and bring down Armstrong only to hand his titles to another doper? It would be great if cycling can have 100% cleanliness, but it would be nice if it can get there without eating itself alive.

  23. #23
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    "It took tremendous courage for the riders on the USPS Team and others to come forward and speak truthfully."

    Really? Some of them are already retired. Some of them were already busted. They have nothing to lose. It will be illuminating to see what the punishment is for those still racing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtyjack View Post
    It will be illuminating to see what the punishment is for those still racing.
    6mths suspensions, retro active, started Sep 2012 - March 2013, the off season!
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    True - the Giro as well. But TdF just doesn't have that appeal to me anymore, after all this crap.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snowdrifter View Post
    6mths suspensions, retro active, started Sep 2012 - March 2013, the off season!
    I know, that's not punishment. If it was Apr 2013 to Sept 2013, I'd be more inclined to believe that as a punishment.
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    Quote Originally Posted by car_nut View Post
    They have numerous eye witness accounts. They have testimony on how the blood tests were cheated. They have money trails showing where the drugs came from. How is that guilty until proven innocent?
    I think he essentially plead no contest which is not the same as pleading guilty. He was not proven guilty since they didn't go forward with arbitration. The end result is the same as a guilty plea, however. And I'm not saying he's innocent by any stretch of the imagination.
    I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass... and I'm all out of bubblegum.

  28. #28
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    Lance had an opportunity

    to either go to arbitration or admit guilt and get better deal. he refused both.

    with the amount of evidence - it is really not necessary for him to admit anything... it is pretty obvious and makes a lot more sense than what he is saying... more over, if he keeps denying it - it will look even worse.

    if i was him, i'd find a suitably big rock and crawl under it for a while... probably grab some anorectic model with me as well... oops, he's done that already...

    Quote Originally Posted by ziscwg View Post
    I know, that's not punishment. If it was Apr 2013 to Sept 2013, I'd be more inclined to believe that as a punishment.

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    Case closed: Armstrong doped

    The word "alleged" should now be dropped from any description of the way doping permeated and enabled Lance Armstrong's cycling career.

    For most of the past 15 years, no discussion or story about Armstrong was complete without that loaded yet qualified term. Doping allegations dogged him, came to naught, were declared specious and dismissed by him. Yet they continued to multiply, rattling behind him like tin cans tied to the bumper of a luxury car.

    The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's release of its "reasoned decision" and staggeringly voluminous supporting documents that resulted in its move to strip Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and ban him from elite competition for life -- charges he opted not to contest -- changes all that, and rewrites Armstrong's sporting epitaph from alleged to proven user of performance-enhancing drugs and techniques.

    There is no other logical conclusion. After today, anyone who remains unconvinced simply doesn't want to know.

    At the core of USADA's case are the collective sworn confessions of a generation of American riders who lived and trained and raced with Armstrong. Taken together, they constitute overwhelming evidence that can't be painted as disgruntled fragging by ex-"lieutenants.'' Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis lied about their own doping and tacitly covered for their former teammates for years, which made it difficult for some to believe them when they finally told the truth. Now they no longer stand isolated.

    USADA also presented scientific evidence, in the form of new analyses of old test data, that leads to the conclusion that Armstrong was doping more than a decade ago and continued to dope during his two-season comeback in 2009-10. Had this case gone to arbitration, experts from both sides would have given contradictory accounts of what the numbers mean. Armstrong could have raised questions about USADA's interpretation, or charged that the samples could have been tampered with, as he has before. Instead, with his entire legacy at stake, he elected to walk away.

    You can choose not to believe any or all of the witnesses. You can choose to disregard the flashing neon arrows among the test results. You can somehow construe the $1 million in payments Armstrong made to the Swiss-based company of discredited trainer Michele Ferrari as legitimate medical expenses, or remarkably generous gifts. To discount all three elements of USADA's case, and the way they overlap and intersect, is nothing less than being willfully blind.

    The riders who signed sworn affidavits also either testified before a federal grand jury or were questioned by federal investigators, risking perjury if they lied or changed their stories. And by admitting to old transgressions for which they were never caught, several riders -- notably, the recently retired George Hincapie -- have hung their own reputations out to dry. It defies credulity to say that all of these statements were given out of spite or in bad faith or to reduce the witnesses' own doping penalties.

    The USADA file is greater than the sum of its parts. It shows how sweeping organized doping can be and how many people will collaborate to keep deception afloat when a star's rising tide is lifting them all. Dozens and dozens of people knew: Teammates. Massage therapists. The bus driver. The gardener. Doctors, girlfriends, managers, personal assistants, wives. Everyone cheated. Everyone was in on it. Everyone rationalized that it was part of the cost of doing business.

    Doping was endemic during the era when Armstrong dominated the biggest bike race in the world. Every participant in the sport-wide Ponzi scheme of that time was to some extent the product of a warped environment, including the champion. What sets Armstrong apart is that his competitive success, fueled by illicit means and synergized with his comeback from cancer, made it possible for him to transcend cycling and reap greater profits than anyone else.
    For years, Armstrong's critics depended on deductive reasoning and anonymous sources to peg him as a cheater.

    As Armstrong's contemporaries confessed to doping or were convicted one by one, populating the Tour de France standings below him with cardboard cutouts, it became increasingly difficult to accept that he could have won those races clean -- usually by substantial margins -- over a dirty cohort.

    The USADA file confirms those suspicions, and there are names attached.

    Eleven former teammates' affidavits spell out the same story: a repetitive, mind-numbing, depressing recitation, even for those of us who ditched the rose-tinted lenses long ago. It's also incredibly important to digest this material, for fans of this or any sport -- that is, if you're interested in nonfiction as opposed to gauzy mythology, and if you're curious about the price elite athletes will pay to deliver crowd-pleasing spectacle.

    The file strings together the historical bullet points long worn like beaded bracelets by Armstrong's disbelievers. All the familiar, damning anecdotes are here, recounted over and over by multiple witnesses who were neck-deep in the culture.

    Here is corroboration for the testosterone-laced olive oil and pills and patches and the backdated prescription for cortisone cream produced by the U.S. Postal Service team after a test revealed its presence during Armstrong's first winning Tour. Here are multiple riders describing the use of Actovegin, the extract of calves' blood that Armstrong said he couldn't pronounce and hadn't used; when French authorities asked questions, it was passed off as medication for a team staff member.

    Here are the by-now familiar accounts of refrigerators stocked with vials of erythropoietin and blood bags. Here is the timeline of EPO use shifting to transfusions, shifting to a calculated combination of microdosing both, then morphing again into a horror movie where riders took unthinkable risks with blood stored and delivered and infused in decidedly unsterile conditions. Here are the controlling team director Johan Bruyneel, the skilled but amoral Italian trainer Ferrari, and the Spanish doctors who helped groom riders to accept PEDs, making their use seem practical and inevitable.

    But the most compelling aspects of the riders' testimony have to do with flesh and blood in a different way -- the way their hearts and minds and ambitions were manipulated along with their hematocrit. Christian Vande Velde, ambivalent at best about using the PEDs recommended by Ferrari, was told he better literally get with the program or get off the team. Dave Zabriskie, whose father died because of a drug problem, initially resisted doping and cried alone after the first time he was injected with EPO.

    It's no secret that Armstrong could be an intimidating character. He demonstrated that many times in public, whether it was competing on the road, lashing out at riders who spoke out against doping or recklessly confronting Hamilton in an Aspen, Colo., restaurant after Hamilton's "60 Minutes" appearance last year. But the case file details other chilling examples, old and new, including ominous texts sent to Levi Leipheimer's wife after Leipheimer testified to the federal grand jury.

    None of these riders are heroes for their admissions. They had options, all of them -- to ride without artificial aid; to leave Europe and return to the lower-stakes U.S. circuit; to do something else for a living. Very, very few riders of that era got off the carousel. All of USADA's witnesses benefited at some point, directly or indirectly, from their association with Armstrong and his winning brand.

    Yet while it may be hard to muster sympathy, these accounts finally make it possible for us to have a clear-eyed understanding of the environment at that time and the psyche of the young athletes involved. Everyone in their world conveyed the message that doping was necessary to be "professional'' and that the field was level only if they played dirty. Testing was far more of a crapshoot back then, and Armstrong seemed assured cycling's governing body could be co-opted.

    USADA's case file should forever torpedo the tired and meritless argument that Armstrong is not guilty because he never tested positive. Neither did most of these witnesses, who as a group over time used banned substances and methods on hundreds of occasions. They avoided being busted partly due to luck, partly due to strategic planning by doctors and trainers, and partly due to the warnings they got about testing itself.
    Had Armstrong never made his 2009 racing comeback and stirred the pot -- and had the blackballed Landis not boiled over the following season -- it's a near certainty that the code of silence observed in the peloton would still be intact. These witnesses initially did the right thing only at the point of the federal government's bayonet in 2010. There were some small windows propped open along the way, such as Frankie Andreu's confession of his own doping to The New York Times in 2006, but he and others who made those kinds of admissions did not point their fingers elsewhere. After absorbing the contents of this file, which help explain the forces aligned on Armstrong's side and the risks of personally challenging him, it's easy to understand why.

    It's harder to wrestle with what should come of all of this. What penalty, what punishment, really is appropriate for Armstrong or anyone else in the conspiracy and cover-up who hasn't yet admitted responsibility? Can this much collateral damage ever be repaired or made right?

    Odds are Armstrong ultimately will be stripped of his Tour de France titles, but the extent of doping in that era renders moot who would inherit them. Forfeiting prize money and results? A pittance compared to the millions Armstrong made off the road, which he is under no obligation to return. Inability to compete in elite sports? Armstrong will always find a place to race and people who want to race with him, or at least come to watch. He is stubborn enough to be capable of existing indefinitely in a sort of parallel universe where he is still who he purported to be -- a purveyor of hope on wheels.

    And there will always be people who loved those three-week travelogues every July and don't want to give up on their longtime protagonist, either. Sunflowers and lavender and Alpine switchbacks are far more appealing images than syringes and blood bags and a cult of personality channeled into coercion. Armstrong's legacy lies now not only in the eye of the beholder but in the willingness of that beholder to take off the blinders and see.

    Original article here.
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    It all started and ends with Lance, Yep case closed. Our kids won't dope now, and we can go back to watching road racing.
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    for a second i thought you came up with this

    but then realized naah...



    very good article... can't wait to read the 202 pages summary... apparently emails are more fun to read than some "eating garbage before the ride" thread...



    Quote Originally Posted by Stugotz View Post
    The word "alleged" should now be dropped from any description of the way doping permeated and enabled Lance Armstrong's cycling career.

    For most of the past 15 years, no discussion or story about Armstrong was complete without that loaded yet qualified term. Doping allegations dogged him, came to naught, were declared specious and dismissed by him. Yet they continued to multiply, rattling behind him like tin cans tied to the bumper of a luxury car.

    The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's release of its "reasoned decision" and staggeringly voluminous supporting documents that resulted in its move to strip Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and ban him from elite competition for life -- charges he opted not to contest -- changes all that, and rewrites Armstrong's sporting epitaph from alleged to proven user of performance-enhancing drugs and techniques.

    There is no other logical conclusion. After today, anyone who remains unconvinced simply doesn't want to know.

    At the core of USADA's case are the collective sworn confessions of a generation of American riders who lived and trained and raced with Armstrong. Taken together, they constitute overwhelming evidence that can't be painted as disgruntled fragging by ex-"lieutenants.'' Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis lied about their own doping and tacitly covered for their former teammates for years, which made it difficult for some to believe them when they finally told the truth. Now they no longer stand isolated.

    USADA also presented scientific evidence, in the form of new analyses of old test data, that leads to the conclusion that Armstrong was doping more than a decade ago and continued to dope during his two-season comeback in 2009-10. Had this case gone to arbitration, experts from both sides would have given contradictory accounts of what the numbers mean. Armstrong could have raised questions about USADA's interpretation, or charged that the samples could have been tampered with, as he has before. Instead, with his entire legacy at stake, he elected to walk away.

    You can choose not to believe any or all of the witnesses. You can choose to disregard the flashing neon arrows among the test results. You can somehow construe the $1 million in payments Armstrong made to the Swiss-based company of discredited trainer Michele Ferrari as legitimate medical expenses, or remarkably generous gifts. To discount all three elements of USADA's case, and the way they overlap and intersect, is nothing less than being willfully blind.

    The riders who signed sworn affidavits also either testified before a federal grand jury or were questioned by federal investigators, risking perjury if they lied or changed their stories. And by admitting to old transgressions for which they were never caught, several riders -- notably, the recently retired George Hincapie -- have hung their own reputations out to dry. It defies credulity to say that all of these statements were given out of spite or in bad faith or to reduce the witnesses' own doping penalties.

    The USADA file is greater than the sum of its parts. It shows how sweeping organized doping can be and how many people will collaborate to keep deception afloat when a star's rising tide is lifting them all. Dozens and dozens of people knew: Teammates. Massage therapists. The bus driver. The gardener. Doctors, girlfriends, managers, personal assistants, wives. Everyone cheated. Everyone was in on it. Everyone rationalized that it was part of the cost of doing business.

    Doping was endemic during the era when Armstrong dominated the biggest bike race in the world. Every participant in the sport-wide Ponzi scheme of that time was to some extent the product of a warped environment, including the champion. What sets Armstrong apart is that his competitive success, fueled by illicit means and synergized with his comeback from cancer, made it possible for him to transcend cycling and reap greater profits than anyone else.
    For years, Armstrong's critics depended on deductive reasoning and anonymous sources to peg him as a cheater.

    As Armstrong's contemporaries confessed to doping or were convicted one by one, populating the Tour de France standings below him with cardboard cutouts, it became increasingly difficult to accept that he could have won those races clean -- usually by substantial margins -- over a dirty cohort.

    The USADA file confirms those suspicions, and there are names attached.

    Eleven former teammates' affidavits spell out the same story: a repetitive, mind-numbing, depressing recitation, even for those of us who ditched the rose-tinted lenses long ago. It's also incredibly important to digest this material, for fans of this or any sport -- that is, if you're interested in nonfiction as opposed to gauzy mythology, and if you're curious about the price elite athletes will pay to deliver crowd-pleasing spectacle.

    The file strings together the historical bullet points long worn like beaded bracelets by Armstrong's disbelievers. All the familiar, damning anecdotes are here, recounted over and over by multiple witnesses who were neck-deep in the culture.

    Here is corroboration for the testosterone-laced olive oil and pills and patches and the backdated prescription for cortisone cream produced by the U.S. Postal Service team after a test revealed its presence during Armstrong's first winning Tour. Here are multiple riders describing the use of Actovegin, the extract of calves' blood that Armstrong said he couldn't pronounce and hadn't used; when French authorities asked questions, it was passed off as medication for a team staff member.

    Here are the by-now familiar accounts of refrigerators stocked with vials of erythropoietin and blood bags. Here is the timeline of EPO use shifting to transfusions, shifting to a calculated combination of microdosing both, then morphing again into a horror movie where riders took unthinkable risks with blood stored and delivered and infused in decidedly unsterile conditions. Here are the controlling team director Johan Bruyneel, the skilled but amoral Italian trainer Ferrari, and the Spanish doctors who helped groom riders to accept PEDs, making their use seem practical and inevitable.

    But the most compelling aspects of the riders' testimony have to do with flesh and blood in a different way -- the way their hearts and minds and ambitions were manipulated along with their hematocrit. Christian Vande Velde, ambivalent at best about using the PEDs recommended by Ferrari, was told he better literally get with the program or get off the team. Dave Zabriskie, whose father died because of a drug problem, initially resisted doping and cried alone after the first time he was injected with EPO.

    It's no secret that Armstrong could be an intimidating character. He demonstrated that many times in public, whether it was competing on the road, lashing out at riders who spoke out against doping or recklessly confronting Hamilton in an Aspen, Colo., restaurant after Hamilton's "60 Minutes" appearance last year. But the case file details other chilling examples, old and new, including ominous texts sent to Levi Leipheimer's wife after Leipheimer testified to the federal grand jury.

    None of these riders are heroes for their admissions. They had options, all of them -- to ride without artificial aid; to leave Europe and return to the lower-stakes U.S. circuit; to do something else for a living. Very, very few riders of that era got off the carousel. All of USADA's witnesses benefited at some point, directly or indirectly, from their association with Armstrong and his winning brand.

    Yet while it may be hard to muster sympathy, these accounts finally make it possible for us to have a clear-eyed understanding of the environment at that time and the psyche of the young athletes involved. Everyone in their world conveyed the message that doping was necessary to be "professional'' and that the field was level only if they played dirty. Testing was far more of a crapshoot back then, and Armstrong seemed assured cycling's governing body could be co-opted.

    USADA's case file should forever torpedo the tired and meritless argument that Armstrong is not guilty because he never tested positive. Neither did most of these witnesses, who as a group over time used banned substances and methods on hundreds of occasions. They avoided being busted partly due to luck, partly due to strategic planning by doctors and trainers, and partly due to the warnings they got about testing itself.
    Had Armstrong never made his 2009 racing comeback and stirred the pot -- and had the blackballed Landis not boiled over the following season -- it's a near certainty that the code of silence observed in the peloton would still be intact. These witnesses initially did the right thing only at the point of the federal government's bayonet in 2010. There were some small windows propped open along the way, such as Frankie Andreu's confession of his own doping to The New York Times in 2006, but he and others who made those kinds of admissions did not point their fingers elsewhere. After absorbing the contents of this file, which help explain the forces aligned on Armstrong's side and the risks of personally challenging him, it's easy to understand why.

    It's harder to wrestle with what should come of all of this. What penalty, what punishment, really is appropriate for Armstrong or anyone else in the conspiracy and cover-up who hasn't yet admitted responsibility? Can this much collateral damage ever be repaired or made right?

    Odds are Armstrong ultimately will be stripped of his Tour de France titles, but the extent of doping in that era renders moot who would inherit them. Forfeiting prize money and results? A pittance compared to the millions Armstrong made off the road, which he is under no obligation to return. Inability to compete in elite sports? Armstrong will always find a place to race and people who want to race with him, or at least come to watch. He is stubborn enough to be capable of existing indefinitely in a sort of parallel universe where he is still who he purported to be -- a purveyor of hope on wheels.

    And there will always be people who loved those three-week travelogues every July and don't want to give up on their longtime protagonist, either. Sunflowers and lavender and Alpine switchbacks are far more appealing images than syringes and blood bags and a cult of personality channeled into coercion. Armstrong's legacy lies now not only in the eye of the beholder but in the willingness of that beholder to take off the blinders and see.

    Original article here.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowdrifter View Post
    6mths suspensions, retro active, started Sep 2012 - March 2013, the off season!
    I hadn't seen that. Well, I rest my case. A slap on the wrist if you help us tear down Lance. My biggest beef is that they will hand all his wins to the second place doper. And the cat & mouse game of doping goes on....
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtyjack View Post
    My biggest beef is that they will hand all his wins to the second place doper.
    Unlikely outcome. Probably a blank space or asterisk to be shown in historical results.

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    So what happens to the scammer organization he runs? I guess he's still laughing all the way to bank with the three cups of tea scammer!

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by SS Hack View Post
    So what happens to the scammer organization he runs? I guess he's still laughing all the way to bank with the three cups of tea scammer!
    Much as I think the book should be thrown at Armstrong and others, I wouldn't go so far as to call the Lance Armstrong Foundation (commonly known as Livestrong) a scam. They do raise a lot of money for cancer-related programs for survivors and awareness, although it should be noted that it stopped funding cancer research some years ago.

    The organization itself would hopefully do better if it would cease any activities related to trying to prop up the failing image of their figurehead (paid Livestrong lobbyists in WA trying to stop USADA funding, etc.) and concentrate instead on the activities that have real value independent of the man.

    As a sidenote, one does have to question the use of the livestrong.com web site by Armstrong and his business associates for commercial profit activities that have nothing to do with the foundation, and only serves to siphon traffic away from the livestrong.org web site that is the actual foundation. They could have run the same activities under any other domain name, but I guess then they wouldn't be leveraging off the branding of a charitable foundation then, would they? That's really inappropriate, profiteering off of what should be a good cause.

    Sounds weird to say it, but Lance Armstrong should just leave the Lance Armstrong Foundation alone and distance himself from it as much as possible, if he really cared about it.

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    should've used one of those stupid yellow wristbands and snapped one off in his eye to snap into reality, clarity, and the gravity of what was happening. ego is a *****.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 53119 View Post
    should've used one of those stupid yellow wristbands and snapped one off in his eye to snap into reality, clarity, and the gravity of what was happening. ego is a *****.
    I wonder if everyone that ever wore one of those ugly things feels cheated?

  38. #38
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    Who believes this will prevent future doping in Pro Cycling?

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    Quote Originally Posted by fuji1971 View Post
    Who believes this will prevent future doping in Pro Cycling?
    It will sure help it to be cleaner. Pro cycling is almost certainly never going to be 100% clean though.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ.MTNS View Post
    "They" don't have to give the title to anyone, just leave it blank or use an * like "they" have done in other instances where the winner has later been disqualified.
    Do you really think that will happen?

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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    Do you really think that will happen?
    Not AZ here, but I really don't know. Out of all the possible options I'd rank them as follows, but this is just a wild guess;

    1. asterisk
    2. blank line
    3. leave unchanged (while still otherwise upholding sanction)
    4. award to other riders

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    Quote Originally Posted by fuji1971 View Post
    Who believes this will prevent future doping in Pro Cycling?
    I do. As long as he wasn't caught, he was a testament to the idea that you could win and get away with it. Now, people will say "they chased him down a decade after the fact!"

    I certainly don't think it will make the sport entirely free, but it will help reinforce the idea that it may catch up with you. If nothing else, hopefully it suppresses it to the point that only individuals partake in it. If the whole team is doing it under the direction of the team boss and physician, that makes it impossible to not dope.

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    Quote Originally Posted by car_nut View Post
    I do. As long as he wasn't caught, he was a testament to the idea that you could win and get away with it. Now, people will say "they chased him down a decade after the fact!"

    I certainly don't think it will make the sport entirely free, but it will help reinforce the idea that it may catch up with you. If nothing else, hopefully it suppresses it to the point that only individuals partake in it. If the whole team is doing it under the direction of the team boss and physician, that makes it impossible to not dope.
    Maybe he needs hard time in prison? That would send a message.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by car_nut View Post
    I do. As long as he wasn't caught, he was a testament to the idea that you could win and get away with it. Now, people will say "they chased him down a decade after the fact!"

    I certainly don't think it will make the sport entirely free, but it will help reinforce the idea that it may catch up with you. If nothing else, hopefully it suppresses it to the point that only individuals partake in it. If the whole team is doing it under the direction of the team boss and physician, that makes it impossible to not dope.
    ^^^
    Gets it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by roadie scum View Post
    The pursuit of justice should not be likened to beating a dead horse.
    Uh....yeah it should....

  46. #46
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    well said

    that is just the beginning...


    Quote Originally Posted by car_nut View Post
    I do. As long as he wasn't caught, he was a testament to the idea that you could win and get away with it. Now, people will say "they chased him down a decade after the fact!"

    I certainly don't think it will make the sport entirely free, but it will help reinforce the idea that it may catch up with you. If nothing else, hopefully it suppresses it to the point that only individuals partake in it. If the whole team is doing it under the direction of the team boss and physician, that makes it impossible to not dope.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by car_nut View Post
    I do. As long as he wasn't caught, he was a testament to the idea that you could win and get away with it. Now, people will say "they chased him down a decade after the fact!"

    I certainly don't think it will make the sport entirely free, but it will help reinforce the idea that it may catch up with you. If nothing else, hopefully it suppresses it to the point that only individuals partake in it. If the whole team is doing it under the direction of the team boss and physician, that makes it impossible to not dope.
    But I also think Armstrong's downfall was that he was a bully and a jerk. People were just looking for one person to stand up to him and once the USDA did, the walls came down. Eventually, being a prick comes back to bite you.

    Wiggins has been an outspoken proponent of clean cycling for years. His win will do more for the sport than anything. If people think he won clean, they will believe they can as well.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Circlip View Post
    .

    As a sidenote, one does have to question the use of the livestrong.com web site by Armstrong and his business associates for commercial profit activities that have nothing to do with the foundation, .




    How else would he pay for all that jet fuel? Flying in a private jet was one way he avoided being discovered, he avoided much of the airport security by flying in his own jet. Livestrong funds bought a lot of jet fuel for international flights to aid his doping conspiracy. Hopefully all the new attention on Lance will revive his Federal case which was not prosecuted because of political pressure. The house of cards is collapsing.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    Do you really think that will happen?
    Well Tour De France director Christian Prudhomme does.

    Tour de France head wants no rider to inherit Lance Armstrong's titles | Sport | guardian.co.uk

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Circlip View Post
    Much as I think the book should be thrown at Armstrong and others, I wouldn't go so far as to call the Lance Armstrong Foundation (commonly known as Livestrong) a scam. They do raise a lot of money for cancer-related programs for survivors and awareness, although it should be noted that it stopped funding cancer research some years ago.

    The organization itself would hopefully do better if it would cease any activities related to trying to prop up the failing image of their figurehead (paid Livestrong lobbyists in WA trying to stop USADA funding, etc.) and concentrate instead on the activities that have real value independent of the man.

    As a sidenote, one does have to question the use of the livestrong.com web site by Armstrong and his business associates for commercial profit activities that have nothing to do with the foundation, and only serves to siphon traffic away from the livestrong.org web site that is the actual foundation. They could have run the same activities under any other domain name, but I guess then they wouldn't be leveraging off the branding of a charitable foundation then, would they? That's really inappropriate, profiteering off of what should be a good cause.

    Sounds weird to say it, but Lance Armstrong should just leave the Lance Armstrong Foundation alone and distance himself from it as much as possible, if he really cared about it.
    There are 2 websites...Livestrong.org (the Lance Armstrong Foundation) and Livestrong.com, a for-profit website. Not intentionally confusing at all.

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