Blog: Armstrong and Catlin stop before they start

by Tony Farrelly   February 13, 2009  

Armstrong 2005.JPG

Forests have already been felled and a zillion innocent pixels, er zapped bringing you the news that Lance Armstrong and Don Catling the UCLA drug-testing expert have agreed to end their independent doping program before it started. So what do a few more matter!

Just in case you've been locked in a cupboard for the last 24 hours I might as well throw my two penn'orth in, and point you at the choicest opinions aired on the matter so far.

According to Catlin, speaking to the New York Times contracts were never signed and no testing had taken place. That fact was immediately seized on by Armstrong sceptics such as Phillip Hersh of the LA Times, (for even more scecticsm check out Steroid Nation) as was the revelation that one of the reasons for not proceeding was cost… despite the fact that Armstrong is undoubtedly one of the richest athletes in the world.

However the other reason given by Armstrong's agent, Bill Stapleton, does seem perfectly valid: the independent doping program that was planned called for testing every three days, but Armstrong was also being tested randomly by the US anti doping agency, and the UCI, and his team. Catling made this point too and while he stopped short of saying that 'there's only so much blood in his arm' he did point out that all the testers risked tripping over each other, and possibly invalidating each other's tests.

So there you have it, lots of trees and pixels are dead and we are no further forward than we were before, Lance Armstrong still suffers from a credibility gap with some while others will point out that he is going to be the most tested cyclist on the planet for as long as he rides a bike for money. Armstrong has posted all his test data since his comeback on the Livestrong website. Oh and you can watch Lance having a pop back at Paul Kimmage here.

Strangely the one person who hasn't been mentioned in all this is Greg Lemond, the man most entitled to be saying 'I told you so' right now. He was our hero of the week back in October when he dared to raise doubts about the whole exercise when Armstrong and Catlin announced it at the Interbike show in Vegas, great pics from Mr Chipps Chippendale who was in the room, (hit the link and scroll down past the French bloke trying to pedal a balloon across the channel) and then check out the interview Lemond gave to the Fredcast straight after.

One final note, we've been following Lance Armstrong's twitter feed for the last couple of week, like thousands of others, I checked back and can find no tweets along the lines of “meeting with Don… it's just not going to work out”… or even “meeting Don” so not everything goes on there then, or maybe I didn't look hard enough, which is possible.

All right, a final, final note: in case you're wondering whether I'm an Armstrong sceptic or a true believer…  the answer is neither.

Weigh it up on one side he might have doped, and he must have been some rider to beat all those dopers who finished behind him in the top 10 at the 2005 Tour, (interesting fact © R. Lampard). On the other he has done a vast amount to raise money and awareness for the fight against cancer. It's not like he simply took the money and ran.

Which is a convoluted way of saying let's get some perspective. Maybe Lance is a bad man, but if he's a bad man that's done good - that's still doing good.

4 user comments

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But he also knows that lance has not been as squeaky as he appears. Lance fears what he knows, this is why you can see that he rears up like and angry bear everytime he sees or hears a crusader like PK saying "we know you doped, Lance".

Catlin? In my view its because of one reason and nothing to do with the 'bolonee' about the UCI frequency's etc. Lance thought it might be a good idea to publish his 'health' online for all to see. He MUST now think "damn, what about when the hematocrit goes from 42-46 one day, then edges towards 50%? "Dope" they will say, and he thinks, "its not worth airing my washing on the web".

Either that or he is on a 'programme' and has something to hide...

mst's picture

posted by mst [38 posts]
17th February 2009 - 16:42

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I mean referring to Lance Armstrong as the cancer in cycling, and the remission jibe were not really necessary.

Whatever you think of Armstrong as a cyclist (I'm certainly no fan), he overcame cancer and went on to attempt to assist others to do the same, whether for altruistic reasons or not, the result is still for the good of mankind.

Kimmage is a bitter character, I read his book with interest, but came away feeling that he felt let down that he didn't make it in the Pro scene and drugs were a good scapegoat for him.

If you read Dog in a Hat, Joe Parkin had a very similar path through the Pro scene but saw it very differently and ultimately came out still in love with being a pro cyclist.

For the most part Kimmage seemed to only come in contact with amphetamines being used in the Kermis style races, rather than EPO etc. I must say that I don't hold a great deal of regard for his campaign against LA - Greg Lemond on the other hand is a man I do believe, and believe in...

Complicating matters since 1965

DaSy's picture

posted by DaSy [649 posts]
17th February 2009 - 19:50

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On his shoulder, but I return to the point that he (and others) know things that most will never find out about. Kimmage is bitter and I agree he has probably never been in touch with the stuff that Lance may have 'seen' (Belgian Pot would have been the tops for Kimmo) - however, the laboured 'Landis and Ivan are the same as Millar', 'im going to show the world how clean i am, oh no im not' is almost laughable, Lance needs to move away from supporting dopers in my view, he will get burnt, no matter how big an icon he is (A Rod, I rest my case).

Nadal - now there is another story waiting to break...

mst's picture

posted by mst [38 posts]
17th February 2009 - 21:39

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I agree about Armstrong's comments on Landis etc… although for such an apparently calculating man I don't see what he has to gain by making them, unless they play well with a certain section of the American public.

Af for Kimmage, I think you said it all Dasy, not only did his cancer comments make him look like someone with a total lack of perspective they completely played into Armstrong's hands when it came to answering, or not, his question about Landis, Millar etc

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4134 posts]
17th February 2009 - 22:32

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