Lance Armstrong set to lose his seven Tour de France titles after giving up USADA fight

"Enough is Enough" - former cyclist decides not to fight USADA charges through arbitration process

by Simon_MacMichael   August 24, 2012  

Lance Armstrong (pic courtesy Photosport International)

Lance Armstrong is set to be stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from sport for life after deciding to not to opt for arbitration to fight the charges brought against him by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

In a statement published on his website in which he continued to protest his innocence, the 40-year-old said: “There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ For me, that time is now,” describing USADA’s pursuit of him as an “unconstitutional witch hunt.”

USADA, which will issue a full statement today, has already confirmed that it intends to ban Armstrong for life and to take away the record seven Tour de France titles he won between 1999 and 2005.

USADA CEO Travis Tygart said: "It is a sad day for all of us who love sport and our athletic heroes. This is a heartbreaking example of how the win-at-all-costs culture of sport, if left unchecked, will overtake fair, safe and honest competition."

Earlier this week, US district judge Sam Sparks, sitting in Armstrong’s home town of Austin, Texas, rejected a lawsuit brought by him and confirmed that USADA had jurisdiction over the case, rather than the UCI or USA Cycling.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had backed USADA's stance. Both the UCI and USA Cycling are signatories to the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC), which provides that the national anti doping agency is the competent body in a case such as this.

As a result, Armstrong had to choose by midnight Colorado time (where USADA is based) yesterday whether to contest the charges through arbitration or accept USADA’s sanctions.

Despite that decision, in which Judge Sparks did express reservations about USADA’s motives, Armstrong’s legal team continued to insist yesterday that USADA lacked jurisdiction in the case.

His attorney Tim Herman writing a strongly worded letter to the agency saying that its case against him should be submitted to the UCI or the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to deal with.

Armstrong’s own statement suggests, however, that certainly as far as any proceeedings from USADA are concerned, the battle is over.

At the end, he said: “Going forward, I am going to devote myself to raising my five beautiful (and energetic) kids, fighting cancer, and attempting to be the fittest 40-year old on the planet.”

There does remain the possibility, however, that the UCI, which had contested USADA's jurisdiction, might decide to challenge any formal decision from it at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

In a statement, the governing body said: "The UCI notes Lance Armstrong’s decision not to proceed to arbitration in the case that USADA has brought against him.

"The UCI recognises that USADA is reported as saying that it will strip Mr. Armstrong of all results from 1998 onwards in addition to imposing a lifetime ban from participating in any sport which recognises the World Anti-Doping Code.

"Article 8.3 of the  WADC states that where no hearing occurs the Anti-Doping Organisation with results management responsibility shall submit to the parties concerned (Mr Armstrong, WADA and UCI) a reasoned decision explaining the action taken.

"As USADA has claimed jurisdiction in the case the UCI expects that it will issue a reasoned decision in accordance with Article 8.3 of the Code.

"Until such time as USADA delivers this decision the UCI has no further comment to make."

The specific allegations against Armstrong himself, including the testimony of former team mates who have never been formally identified by USADA although their names have been the subject of press speculation, will not now be presented in an arbitration hearing.

However, it is likely that much of that evidence will be heard at other hearings including that relating to Armstrong's manager at US Postal and elsewhere during the period concerned, Johan Bruyneel, who himself has been charged by USADA but who chose the arbitration route.

Reacting to the news of Armstrong's decision on his personal website, Bruyneel, now manager of RadioShack-Nissan, wrote: "Today, I’m disappointed for Lance and for cycling in general that things have reached a stage where Lance feels that he has had enough and is no longer willing to participate in USADA’s campaign against him. Lance has never withdrawn from a fair fight in his life so his decision today underlines what an unjust process this has been.

"I hope that it will soon be determined that the case that USADA initiated against me should never have gotten as far as it has. Due to the sensitive nature of legal proceedings, I have been advised that it would be inappropriate for me to comment further at this stage."

John Fahey, President of WADA, reacted to the news by saying that he believed Armstrong's actions proved there was "substance" to USADA's allegations.

"He [Armstrong] had the right to rip up those charges but he elected not to, therefore the only interpretation in these circumstances is that there was substance in those charges," Fahey, quoted on Eurosport, told Reuters.

"My understanding is that when the evidence is based upon a career that included seven Tour de France wins then all of that becomes obliterated."

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I believe that Johan Bruyneel is taking the allegations against him forward to the Court of Arbitration where all evidence will be heard and cross-examined and can be made public. Hopefully that will give some insight into accusations such as, for instance, Armstrong paying off the UCI after the Tour of Switzerland positive test.

Also, there are a number of ex-US Postal riders who - if the grapevine is to be believed - testified to USADA that they participated in doping practices along with Armstrong during their time at USPS. Surely some kind of sanction will be coming their way soon even if they don't have to take the stand in court now.

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posted by Viscount [7 posts]
24th August 2012 - 15:14

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Lance's statement is interesting from a lawyer's perspective (Sorry).

1. Instead of saying that he never took drugs and always rode clean he actually says that he passed the tests at the time and that there is no evidence from those tests that he cheated:

"... there is zero physical evidence to support his outlandish and heinous claims. The only physical evidence here is the hundreds of controls I have passed with flying colors. I made myself available around the clock and around the world. In-competition. Out of competition. Blood. Urine. Whatever they asked for I provided. What is the point of all this testing if, in the end, USADA will not stand by it?"

If you really believe that Lance road clean, ask yourself, why can he not bring himself to actually say so? He had the chance to do so, but seems to have chosen not to in a statement that shows every sign of having been carefully thought about and put together from a PR point of view.

2. Lance complains that the charges are over 17 years old. It is correct that some of the charges are 17 years old, but this conveniently ignores and trys to deflect attention from the fact that some of the charges relate to matters from just 3 years ago. These more recent charges are important too. There are others still involved in pro-cycyling today who are involved in those charges.

3. As others have pointed out, Lance's legal efforts have been focussed on trying to prevent or frustrate a hearing. Now that the court has thrown his arguments out, Lance had the chance to argue his case at the hearing when the evidence against him would be produced, but he has chosen to withdraw. One has to ask why? The suggestion that he is too weary of the process is hard to believe given the combatitive nature of a man who is still actively competing (and winning) Triathlons. It is not credible to categorise this as anything other than an effective admission of guilt.

4. Finally, a slightly more contentious point. Lance has always seemed to me to be a bit of a bully. See for example his treatement of Christophe Bassons in 1999:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christophe_Bassons

Now Lance seeks to portray USADA as a bully, commenting that “USADA has played the role of a bully, threatening everyone in its way and challenging the good faith of anyone who questions its motives or its methods”.

Your view of the man may differ but it really does seem to me that this has been exactly waht Armstrong has been doing to others for years.

Greg

posted by Sheol [5 posts]
24th August 2012 - 15:23

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Gkam84 wrote:
This is how the tour's would look should Lance be struck form the records

1999 Alex Zulle (after coming back from the Festina saga)
2000 Jan Ullrich (known doper but only d/q'd from 2005 onwards)
2001 Jan Ullrich
2002 Joseba Beloki (implicated in Puerto but cleared)
2003 Jan Ullrich
2004 Andreas Kloden (caught in 2006 tour)
2005 Ivan Basso (another one implicated in Puerto)

Your point being that none of these could be given the title. In the case of Beloki he was cleared in Puerto by the same body that cleared Contador and Oscar Pereiro.

However it gets much deeper and grubbier than this. In those years Armstrong "won" only two riders in all of the top 5 of each race (35 possibles) are free of allegation or offence, just two! Quite simply there is virtually no one who could safely be awarded those titles and it is inconceivable the UCI will go back and blank the records for those years. Why just stop there when there are all the cheating jersey and stage winners to expunge as well.

posted by RTB [47 posts]
24th August 2012 - 16:07

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I keep coming back to this BBC article, which speaks for itself :

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18921784

In any event, the way Armstrong has conducted himself in this whole affair is undignified. As is the likely pissing contest between the UCI and USADA.

posted by barongreenback [20 posts]
24th August 2012 - 16:18

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Good interview about the above with David Walsh on cyclingnews.com his comment about Christophe Bassons in the article is especially true. For those who are too young to remember Christophe Bassons and his stand against drugs read his wikipedia entry especially the bit about the conversation with Armstrong.

Paul W

posted by PaulVWatts [111 posts]
24th August 2012 - 17:15

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Plenty of Armstrong apologist sock-puppets crawling out of the woodwork today - question is, have they been ignoring the evidence piling up over the years and do a good impression of three wise monkey's bleating "he never tested positive" "where's the evidence" and "USADA don't have juristiction"....

As said, he's tested positive a few times, but conveniently was able to 'pay-off' the UCI and testers to make them go away.

Evidence - how about witness testimony from some of his closest team-mates given under oath?

USADA juristiction - as a registered US rider he'd have signed up to their anti-doping charter every time he signed the renewal on his race licence.

Finally he denied many honest pros a career, fuelling the drug campaign - many teams wanted to go clean after Festina, but he denied them the opportunity. There's also a huge difference between individual riders taking drugs and an orchestrated campaign to defraud the sport by colluding with the sports governing body and drug-testers to even avoid being tested. Finally, all those unwitting fraud victims who gave money to LiveSTRONG to continue to fund the myth...some people are too uncomfortable to accept the truth.

Make mine an Italian with Campagnolo on the side

posted by monty dog [363 posts]
24th August 2012 - 17:40

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hi for what its worth. read the books, loved'em.
winning seven times is hard, drugged up or not but they
do give an athelete a big unfair advantage. mainly recovery.
But the past is gone. Celebrate a clean future - using legal
sports science not pharmacology. Upsetting as it may be
lance is the past. Wiggins and others like him are the future.
celebrate them.

To slo to live, to slo to die! ::-}

posted by OldnSlo [125 posts]
24th August 2012 - 19:53

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Great post Huw!

Its true its hard to find the winner there, but that list proves exactly why it was so important to take down Armstrong. If anyone thinks he managed to beat them by "just training harder" then I have to say its quite a naive opinion - but of course, that is my opinion. ¨

I absolutely love great sportsmen, I cherish them, idolise them, and talk about them when I can.

People who dope - and try to get away with it using lies, stories, cover ups etc, I have to say is disgusting, and thats why Armstrong disgusts me.

With that said, I have to say I like Jonathan Vaughters (well, shoot me), the man seems to talk a lot of sense straight from the liver. Its a guy even I would like to see as a UCI President sometime Tongue

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posted by seabass89 [235 posts]
24th August 2012 - 20:50

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On a positive note (no pun intended, well...) does that now see Sir Bradley Wiggins now elevated to 2nd in the 2009 TdF? Cool

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posted by jugster [41 posts]
24th August 2012 - 20:53

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Pantani was a drug taker also so level playing field.Lance was-is a great athlete even before he's cancer.I'm not even sure EPO help is worth much other than in the mind.TDF winners are born not made.I could take EPO growth hormones and still not be able to win a local 10tt let alone come back from cancer and win 7 tours.The man's a star but the French hate him.Also there not too keen on Wiggins so look out Brad they will be out for you with your clean tests somehow not clean in a few years time. Devil

big mick

posted by big mick [176 posts]
24th August 2012 - 21:08

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I will be the first to admit i don't know all the facts on this, and no doubt never will.

The biggest problem i have is that so many things in the prosecution seem to go asinst the rules.

Personally i'm a huge Armstrong fan, he gave me inspiration when i used to race, i looked at his technique and hoped i could learn from it, and most importantly his story let me know that when my mother got cancer, there is hope!

Today i feel like one of my heroes has been killed, the same feeling i get when someone i admire dies.

Maybe i just don't want to believe it, but Lance Armstrong has saved lives, has retired, and probably done more for the sport of cycling in the USA than any one else, have they really done the right thing, who actually gains from this??

posted by mr_leemur [24 posts]
24th August 2012 - 21:49

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Evidence would have been presented at the arbitration hearing, but LA foreswore that. It will be presented at the hearings if any of the others under investigation actually go to arbitration. If they all opt to refuse arbitration, it will be made public at the end of the process.

Grizzerly

posted by Grizzerly [120 posts]
24th August 2012 - 22:06

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monty dog wrote:
Plenty of Armstrong apologist sock-puppets crawling out of the woodwork today - question is, have they been ignoring the evidence piling up over the years and do a good impression of three wise monkey's bleating "he never tested positive" "where's the evidence" and "USADA don't have juristiction"....

As said, he's tested positive a few times, but conveniently was able to 'pay-off' the UCI and testers to make them go away.

Evidence - how about witness testimony from some of his closest team-mates given under oath?

USADA juristiction - as a registered US rider he'd have signed up to their anti-doping charter every time he signed the renewal on his race licence.

Finally he denied many honest pros a career, fuelling the drug campaign - many teams wanted to go clean after Festina, but he denied them the opportunity. There's also a huge difference between individual riders taking drugs and an orchestrated campaign to defraud the sport by colluding with the sports governing body and drug-testers to even avoid being tested. Finally, all those unwitting fraud victims who gave money to LiveSTRONG to continue to fund the myth...some people are too uncomfortable to accept the truth.

Oh dear someone touched a nerve here and you got all emotional, vitriolic and a little insulting completely losing the plot.

You fall into exactly the trap you accuse others of...namely avoiding the evidence. Exhibit #1 "'pay-off' the UCI and testers". You have evidence for that do you? Probably best if we file this one in the "Whacko Conspiracy Theorists" folder.

"witness testimony from some of his closest team-mates given under oath". That would be all the other dodgy witnesses (Hamilton, Landis etc) looking to save their bacon like small time hustlers.

"orchestrated campaign to defraud the sport by colluding with the sports governing body and drug-testers to even avoid being tested". Again you have evidence for this don't you or shall we drop this in the conspiracy theory bucket as well?

"unwitting fraud victims who gave money to LiveSTRONG to continue to fund the myth". Livestrong is a registered charity regulated and accounted for by the toughest GAAP processes in the world. One of the many sad fallouts from today is that donations to this particular fight against cancer will undoubtedly be affected. And you seem to take some perverse comfort in this fact.

Utter shame on you, your cynicism, pomposity and flawed holier than though attitude. I hope you are not touched by cancer in the way that so many of us are.

As to Armstrong I have no axe to grind either way. I wanted to believe in his story but it is deeply tarnished and all I feel is empty dismay. The other big loser today is cycling which once more is going to take it up the jacksey from the wider public who know very little about cycling other than: Tour de France; Yellow Jersey; Wiggo; Armstrong and once more drugs. You are deluded if you think this is a good day for cycling whichever side of the line you stand; it is a disaster.

posted by RTB [47 posts]
24th August 2012 - 22:49

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I don't believe any racer can be totaly clean and win the tour de france but from what i have seen they have tried time and again to prove lance had taken banned substances but from what i remember they have never been able to actually prove anything. Now you come through battling cancer training for the hardest sport in the world divorcing from your wife and living your life in the media spotlight would you not think there comes a time where you say enough is enough and stop fighting people just intent on bringing you down.

posted by martin63 [1 posts]
24th August 2012 - 22:58

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martin63 wrote:
...you come through battling cancer training for the hardest sport in the world divorcing from your wife and living your life in the media spotlight

What's the matter Sweetie? Is Coronation Street off air?

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posted by LuckyJim [13 posts]
25th August 2012 - 0:23

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I feel there is more to emerge from the next phase of these charges against his colleagues. Something tells me we may be looking back on this in years to come as gross mis-justice.

posted by beelzebomb [8 posts]
25th August 2012 - 8:56

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Like Mr Leemur I don't anything is being gained here.
Whether he doped or not, nothing has been proved in all of the test done previously over the years. The USADA charges appear to rely on other cyclists testimony overly much - the same cyclist who were competitors against LA - and who either dislike, disrespect or have something to gain if they point the finger. Additionally UCI don't want accept that USADA have jurisdiction to strip LAof any of his TDF titles. So tell me - apart from trashing someone's reputation what is the point of this? Bigging up USADA's right to challenge anything whilst hiding behind an opaque smokescreen of quasi legalness.
Nothing is being gained in this shityness. Go on USADA get the evidence out there - prove to us you've got something or shut the fuck up. The whole thing makes me sick. My childhood heroes are being killed off and whilst cycling is becoming much more popular in the UK than ever before - it seems to be going backwards in the US.
Cyclings loses - and so does everyone else. Why can't the past be left alone and the USADA tackle the here and now.

EZPC
Smile

posted by ezpc [6 posts]
25th August 2012 - 9:00

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it's lance's actions that have suppressed the evidence here, not USADA's. lance chose not to hear the evidence. it'll come out anyway through the other cases.

not everyone who was lined up to testify has any particular beef with armstrong. it's george hincapie's testimony that would be most damaging, i would think. if his 'best bro' is prepared to implicate lance – and himself, he's never failed a test either – where's left for him to go?

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7324 posts]
25th August 2012 - 9:37

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The time bomb in the wings is USADA claim of evidence of two failed tests in the past and Armstrong insistence that he has passed all tests.

Whoever is right (unfortunately fudging is possible) the implications for cycling administration are massive. USADA pursuit of Armstrong, just or otherwise, could well come to be seen as the snow flake that caused the avalanche.

Maybe by then we will be so sick of this case we will just want to berry our heads in the resulting snow drift, but hopefully not.

THE ONLY WAY IS BIKE

posted by lushmiester [156 posts]
25th August 2012 - 11:27

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martin63 wrote:
I don't believe any racer can be totaly clean and win the tour de france.....

I think a certain Mr Wiggins or Mr Evans might have a view on this assertion.

Did Nightrider 2013 for Parkinson's UK, doing it again this year just for the fun of it and to raise more money.

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posted by jova54 [609 posts]
25th August 2012 - 12:18

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Lance is blatantly lying when he says he's never failed a test. It's an indisputable matter of fact that he tested positive for a corticosteriod in the '99 tour - this is part of the UCI records. His samples (and his predominantly) from '99 also tested positive for EPO when a test for EPO was developed and carried out retrospectively - these are part of the WADA records. There is also a director of a testing lab who says they found EPO in his Tour de Suisse samples - for some strange reason, UCI says this never happened.

Lance *has* tested positive, several times. He just has never been *sanctioned* for any of these positives, mostly because of technicalities. The corticosteriod positive, he got a doctor to write a back-dated prescription for a saddle sore cream. The '99 EPO positives couldn't be used because at the time there was no disciplinary protocol for retro-spective testing of B samples (there is now), and also UCI did its best to frustrate WADAs' desire to use these results. The Tour de Suisse case, well either the director of the testing lab is lying or UCI covered up that positive.

So, even before this USADA case, Armstrong was at a minimum being "economical" with the truth, if not plain lying, whenever he said he'd never failed a test. Sadly, some in the media repeat this falsehood without question.

Edit/correction: The 2001 Tour de Suisse EPO result had been a "suspicious" result rather than a clear positive, according to the director, Saugy.

posted by Paul J [608 posts]
25th August 2012 - 12:34

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If they have the evidence, then publish it for all to see and if its untrue Lance can sue them. Its a pity if true for all he's done for cycling.

cornishman

posted by bernie65 [3 posts]
25th August 2012 - 15:22

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As posted by (Josh74c) the whole case should be given out, so everyone can see what was taken & when! A bad day for the sport i love though... Sad

Alex7

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posted by Baldy1alex [43 posts]
25th August 2012 - 16:26

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Innocent till proven guilty - isnt that how it goes. I will reserve my judgement till the papers are released to see what they say.

If it shows he blatantly cheated so be it, if not what then ?

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2714 posts]
25th August 2012 - 17:15

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[[[[[[ You don't need drug-tests and stufflikethat. Just say, "Oy, Jones---has Smiffy been doin' drugs?"
Jones: "Yeah, loads of 'em"
Case solved. Sorted!
P.R

PhilRuss

posted by PhilRuss [279 posts]
26th August 2012 - 2:04

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I see the anti-Armstrong cycling media have forgotten to publish the news on Landis. On the same day that Armstrong refused to go to the kangaroo court, Landis was in court and struck a deal with the US Attorney, whereby he would not be sent to prison for 20 years! for fraud by using $2million given by his supporters to prove his innocence of not doping in the TDF. Not only was he given a suspended sentence but the court also paid the $2million back to his supporters, which Landis has to try to pay back based on his earnings over the next 2yrs.

So in other words he has been paid $2million dollars and let off from going to jail for 20 yrs to provide "evidence" against Armstrong. I think the Usada should be investigated for corruption.

Can't wait to see what "evidence" Usada have when it has to be submitted to the UCI as only the UCI can strip Armstrong of his titles.

posted by davz [4 posts]
26th August 2012 - 9:33

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davz wrote:
I see the anti-Armstrong cycling media have forgotten to publish the news on Landis.

Did you miss this article?

http://road.cc/content/news/64027-floyd-landis-reaches-deal-prosecutors-...

Or the others published on a number of other cycling websites and hundreds of general news sites?

The deal Landis struck, by the way, has nothing to do with the Armstrong case. USADA weren't even a party to it.

In fact, that investigation was led by the FBI, and the deal was struck with a US Attorney.

You may recall that the FBI investigation into Armstrong was shelved earlier this year following a decision by another US Attorney.

That conspiracy theory isn't looking quite so robust now, is it?

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8034 posts]
26th August 2012 - 11:05

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davz wrote:
Can't wait to see what "evidence" Usada have when it has to be submitted to the UCI as only the UCI can strip Armstrong of his titles.

Wrong - stop taking Larry's PR-puff as gospel and acquaint yourself with the facts of the case. UCI is the governing body of cycling but have no authority in terms of doping and has to adhere to the WADA code - the authorised agents of WADA in this case is USADA. If USADA decree that Armstrong's titles are to be removed, based on their evidence then UCI have to follow suit, otherwise they risk being struck-off as the governing body for cycling.
BTW there is plenty of evidence, but due to due legal process, USADA aren't going to release it until the Bruyneel and Moral cases are heard. It was Wonderboy that chickened-out, probably on the basis that he's trying to protect his reputation by not wanting the 'evidence' to be released to the public. What the evidence will also likely reveal is that UCI were complicit in the cover-up. It'll probably go to CAS, but can't see the outcome being any different.

Make mine an Italian with Campagnolo on the side

posted by monty dog [363 posts]
26th August 2012 - 14:35

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monty dog - who says that the UCI can be "struck off" as the governing body for cycling? As I understand it they agree to the WADA code, but I don't believe that WADA has the power to remove them as a governing body. Can you cite a reference for this?

If cycling is indeed a sport of self-abuse why aren't more cyclists sectioned under the mental health act?

posted by hairyairey [279 posts]
27th August 2012 - 22:29

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breaking news...
.
.
.
Santa claus doesn't exist

To slo to live, to slo to die! ::-}

posted by OldnSlo [125 posts]
28th August 2012 - 9:17

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