Lance Armstrong reaction round-up: Conflicting views from cycling and beyond as Texan gets back in saddle despite ban

Meanwhile, senior official from France's anti-doping agency claims Armstrong was warned of doping controls

by Simon_MacMichael   August 26, 2012  

Lance Armstrong (pic courtesy Photosport International)

Stars of cycling and other sports as well as sponsors have been reacting to news of Lance Armstrong’s life ban from sport and disqualification from all results since August 1998. However, the man who won the Tour de France an unprecedented seven times is still riding, finishing second in a local mountain bike race in Colorado yesterday. Meanwhile, a senior official at France’s national anti-doping agency has claimed that Armstrong was able to evade doping controls after being forewarned of them.

"Nobody needs to cry for me. I'm going to be great," insisted Armstrong after being beaten by 16-year-old Keegan Swirbul at the Power of Four race in Aspen, Colorado, where he has a home.

He was riding in the event less than 48 hours after confirming that he did not intend to go to arbitration to fight the five separate doping counts he had been charged with by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

The agency confirmed on Friday that it had banned him from sport for life and was stripping him of all competitive results obtained dating back to 1 August 1998, including his seven Tour de France victories.

The 40-year-old was able to take part in yesterday’s mountain bike race because its organisers are not bound by the provisions of the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC). He is banned from competing in any event organised by a signatory to the WADC, or any member of such an organisation.

Among those who have commented on Armstrong’s case are the three men still alive who have each won the Tour de France five times, a record only the Texan himself eclipsed.

Miguel Indurain, who won the race five consecutive times between 1991 and 1995, at the time an unprecedented sequence, wrote in the Spanish sports daily Marca that Armstrong was still entitled to his seven victories in the race until a universally recognised organisation took them away from him and also described the USADA investigation against him as “strange.”

Armstrong also received words of encouragement from Eddy Merckx, the second man to win the Tour five times after the late jacques Anquetil. Quoted in an AFP report, the Belgian said: "Lance Armstrong is disillusioned and is up against an unjust process.

"At a certain point there's a disenchantment that sets in. Lance is saying to USADA 'do what you want, now I don't care'.

"Lance was always very correct during his career. What more can he do? All the tests he's undertaken, more than 500 since 2000, have come back negative. So, either the tests don't count for anything, or Armstrong is 'legit'.”

Less sympathetic of Armstrong’s plight was the other man to have secured five Tour de France five times, Bernard Hinault, who now works on the race including organising the podium presentations at the end of stages.

“I really couldn’t give a damn," Hinault told the newspaper Ouest-France. "It’s his problem, not mine. This is an issue that should have been sorted out ten or fifteen years ago and it wasn’t.”

Sports stars outside cycling have also been giving their take on the case.

World number 2 tennis player Novak Djokovic, winner of three of the sport’s Grand Slam events, told AFP: “When I heard that story, and many others, I'm disappointed as an athlete, because I know how much it takes to get to where we are and on the top of our own sport, how much sacrifice, commitment, hard work.”

Although tennis is a sport that has consistently been singled out by anti-doping campaigners as having a looser attitude towards testing and enforcement than others such as cycling, the Serb insisted that it was clean.

"In the end we are all seeking to have pure sport. I'm happy that in tennis we do not have that many cases and we are trying to keep that going to keep tradition and to protect the integrity of the sport.

"That's something that sends a strong message about our sport also to young kids because they look up for heroes and they look for role models."

Marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe was more forthright, tweeting on Friday: “Waking to news on Lance. Sad to see fall of a hero to many but moral of all is keep sport clean #drugcheatsout” and adding: “doping cheats yourself and your competitors but this has cheated millions around the world too.”

Armstrong, like Muhamad Ali or Pele, is a man who transcended his sport to become a truly global personality, and news of the sanctions imposed on him provoked comment beyond the sporting world.

Entrepreneur and Palo Alto Software CEO Sabrina Parsons, blogging for Forbes.com, said that she had been inspired by Armstrong’s story of his comeback from cancer to dominate the Tour de France but his decision not to contest USADA’s charges had made her revise her opinion of him.

“I am so disappointed in Lance,” she wrote. “If he really didn’t dope, it doesn’t matter now. By not clearing his name the cloud above him has gotten so big and so dark that we can’t see that fearless, amazing, relentless, hard-working athlete anymore.

“I was looking forward to giving my eight year old son his book, ‘It’s Not About the Bike’ in the next year or so. I was so excited in sharing this book and giving my son the inspiration to work hard and achieve what you want by working harder than everyone else  - just like Lance did. I remember how inspired I was when I read that book a decade ago.

“But now, I would have to have a discussion with my son about “doping” and drugs, and how Lance is embroiled in this scandal. Sadly, I will find other inspirational stories about athletes to share with my son.

“I will no longer hold Lance Armstrong up as a role model for my kids,” she added.

In what is seen as a show of support for the former cyclist, however, donations to his Lance Armstrong Foundation soared on Friday in the wake of USADA’s announcement, with $78,000 coming into the coffers via online donations, a 25-fold increase on the previous day according to its CEO, Doug Ulman.

Nike, which has sponsored Armstrong personally for a number of years as well as supplying clothing to the teams he rode for as well as those seven Tour de France maillot jaunes he won, has said that he will continue to receive its backing.

"Lance has stated his innocence and has been unwavering on this position,” the sportswear firm said in a statement. “Nike plans to continue to support Lance and the Lance Armstrong Foundation, a foundation that Lance created to serve cancer survivors."

A senior official with France’s national anti-doping agency, l'Agence française de lutte contre le dopage (AFLD), has claimed that Lance Armstrong was regularly warned that he was due to be subject to a doping control.

In an interview with French national newspaper Le Monde, Michel Rieu, scientific advisor to the AFLD, recounted an incident in 2009, as Armstrong prepared to make his Tour de France comeback with Astana, where a random doping control was forestalled by 20 minutes by delaying tactics employed by the rider and his entourage – enough time, he insisted, for a urine sample to be swapped.

He also claimed that the alleged protection afforded to him went beyond the UCI and International Olympic Committee, saying that Nicholas Sarkozy, the former French President who viewed himself as a friend of Armstrong, had pulled strings following a lunch with the former rider at the Elysee Palace in 2009 to ensure the departure from the AFLD of its former chairman, Pierre Bordry.

39 user comments

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The word "hearsay" seems to be getting bandied about a lot.

Hearsay evidence is "so and so told me such and such happened" and is generally inadmissible in legal proceedings.

USADA says it has testimony from a number of eyewitnesses: "I saw such and such happen."

Very important distinction.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8017 posts]
26th August 2012 - 16:48

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An open letter to Lance: I'm saddened that you have taken the worst possible way out of this situation. Defend yourself in the fitting legal arena and take the opportunity to establish why the evidence against you isn't credible. We could then finally say you've faced up to your accusers in court and convincingly demonstrated your innocence (as you know this is very different to protesting your veracity in the press conferences where you hold court, whilst deriding those who broke their silence against you). Or man up and fess up. Tell the world "I am the worst kind of cheat: the type that will encourage systematic doping, then scapegoat those who get caught in a noxious attempt to exonerate myself. I repeatedly castigated others, when I was the worst fraud of all. I berated cyclists and journalists who dared try to expose the corruption in the system and tried to snuff out their careers to keep my own shambling on. I am ashamed of my conduct and only hope now that the air has finally been cleared, and cycling exorcised of its most notorious cheat, that the sport I once loved can move on." But you didn't take either of these options. You have parted a coward and so turned the eye of suspicion back on the sport which, on either interpretation, didn't deserve you.

Cheers M
_______________________________________________________
“Racing Is Life. Anything That Happens Before or After is Just Waiting.”

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posted by Morpheus00 [41 posts]
26th August 2012 - 17:57

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They need to put all the evidence in the public domain so that it's all clear.

Lance Armstrong was not sanctioned for doping during his career, therefore to bring these issues up now when there was evidence at the time questions the whole testing procedures at those times. I know that samples are sometimes saved to retest at a later date when more advanced tests have been developed, but most of these tests are claimed to have shown positive at the time. So they should have been addressed at the time. If they are not addressed at the time, then this suggests that the issue goes far beyond Lance Armstrong and the whole system should be questioned. If tests relating to Armstrong were not addressed at the time, how many others were missed?

I understand that the USADA believes that they have evidence to show that Lance Armstrong was involved in doping, but they do not appear to be going about it in a very open and fair way. If this is as extensive as they claim it to be, then there must be other cyclists that they should also be investigating in exactly the same way, though this does not seem to be the case.

posted by Flippa [36 posts]
26th August 2012 - 18:07

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Flippa wrote:
They need to put all the evidence in the public domain so that it's all clear.

Lance Armstrong was not sanctioned for doping during his career, therefore to bring these issues up now when there was evidence at the time questions the whole testing procedures at those times. I know that samples are sometimes saved to retest at a later date when more advanced tests have been developed, but most of these tests are claimed to have shown positive at the time. So they should have been addressed at the time. If they are not addressed at the time, then this suggests that the issue goes far beyond Lance Armstrong and the whole system should be questioned. If tests relating to Armstrong were not addressed at the time, how many others were missed?

I understand that the USADA believes that they have evidence to show that Lance Armstrong was involved in doping, but they do not appear to be going about it in a very open and fair way. If this is as extensive as they claim it to be, then there must be other cyclists that they should also be investigating in exactly the same way, though this does not seem to be the case.


Google EPO detection and you'll discover why Armstrong was (almost) able to avoid detection in testing. This is why the issues werent addressed adequately at the time. If the corruption was as extensive you suggest, and I'd agree it was, then it's going to take years for the old ranks to break down and for people to start coming forward. This is what's happened and what has allowed the USADA to prepare a case so convincing that Armstrong cannot muster a defense against it. What is not open or fair about that? Armstrong is the biggest target in cycling that the USADA has the jurisdiction to pursue. Why would you expect that they go after someone else?

Cheers M
_______________________________________________________
“Racing Is Life. Anything That Happens Before or After is Just Waiting.”

Morpheus00's picture

posted by Morpheus00 [41 posts]
26th August 2012 - 18:42

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bikeyourbest: The evidence is there, it's in the records of the UCI, of WADA. You just choose not to look.

As to why they can find clenbutoral in other riders. Well, clenbutoral is not a natural substance that you can find in the body, while EPO actually is. It's fundamentally difficult to differentiate the synthetic EPO the rider doped with from the natural EPO everyone produces. Further, different substances will be metabolised in different ways and at different rates.

To say "How come they catch other riders?" is a ridiculous defence, because very *few* riders get caught for EPO. And Lance *did* get caught using EPO! Unless you choose to be wilfully blind to what are recorded matters of fact.

posted by Paul J [596 posts]
26th August 2012 - 19:47

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says it all perfectly! nice one morpheus00

posted by parf [5 posts]
26th August 2012 - 21:40

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Exact and true ! It's crazy to see how people are still trying to defend him. Against logic against evidence, against testimonies...... What do they need ? À confession ? By the way he did it to its doctor when he dicover cancer the wife of one of his mate was there and testified, he never talk to him and her after, she get sacked and threathened by phone .........she was working with/for Oakley the glasses he wears and partially owns, like Trek bikes.
LA is powerful in the sport business and very rich also but nobody knows this part of the story they have the LA légend ...... big lies, dirty games with Uci, ASO and only one race le tour de France for 10 years. Come on wake up imagine he was Italian, Spanish or even kazakh how will you consider him ?

Philippe

posted by aloxe [8 posts]
26th August 2012 - 22:31

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The problem is guys that the case against Lance is so far conjecture. If I understand correctly there was synthetic EPO supposedly detected however his medical condition when he had cancer was such that he was given this to keep him alive. From his book neither his oncologist or team manager expected him to live. From doing more research on this it appears that there is still not an effective test for synthetic EPO it's either the change of Hematocrit or the rate of change of new cells created that are looked at. The same effects could be accounted for by altitude training or sleeping in a tent with reduced oxygen levels (which Lance used to do and maybe still does). I say could because the rate of change is not publicised, probably because they don't want to encourage people to evade the limit (which would be very hard given that we already produce around 2.4 million red cells every minute).

I really do not understand how you can claim that all of a substance given sub-cutaneously can leave the body within 24 hours. The purpose of giving it that way is so that it is absorbed into the bloodstream slowly. I don't have Lance's medical records for all I know he may have been given this via an IV drip. In any event drugs are absorbed into various tissues in the body so you just cannot expect 100% of the drug to leave that quickly. Ever heard of the expression "you are what you eat?"

I find it really sad that people presume that because someone is a great athlete they must therefore be taking drugs (The US did this with a Chinese swimmer too).

All I have managed to find so far are claims that Lance took drugs from someone who initially denied taking them himself but it appears has now admitted it. So not a very reliable witness then, and someone I'm ashamed to admit I initially supported too.

Supposing I am wrong in presuming the most obnoxious Lance Armstrong is not a drug cheat. In that case there will be a paper/electronic trail of drugs being supplied to his team somewhere. If he was doing it, so was everyone else.

I expect and hope it'll all blow over soon.

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]
26th August 2012 - 23:31

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Correction I meant 2.4 million cells per second.

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]
26th August 2012 - 23:33

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'I really do not understand how you can claim that all of a substance given sub-cutaneously can leave the body within 24 hours. The purpose of giving it that way is so that it is absorbed into the bloodstream slowly. I don't have Lance's medical records for all I know he may have been given this via an IV drip. In any event drugs are absorbed into various tissues in the body so you just cannot expect 100% of the drug to leave that quickly. Ever heard of the expression "you are what you eat?"'

Try looking at scientific papers rather than making assumptions. It's very easy.

posted by andyp [860 posts]
27th August 2012 - 9:03

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The really scary thing is that agencies like the USADA csan not convict sports people with no evidence and no no court case. There is so much what if's and subjection that has not been tied in a court of law.

if the case was so strong the USADA should have gone to court but they pushed for a withdrawal its a game. lance is guilty of nothing until proven and as no judge has seen the evidence and come to a conclusion. that is why we have a judicial system, for a legally represented person to decided between two parties.

Look at the feeding frenzy above. It silly and pathetic. he avoided 500 tests and such if that was the case why not criminal procedures against the UCI or other bossies and people for supporting criminal acts and such.

No nothing else - this is a witchhunt to rival the macarthy era. There is no other way to see it. There is o way that some one can avoid 500 + tests without assistance from senior people but where is the prosecutions for this coming out. There isn't any.

posted by Ciaran Patrick [117 posts]
27th August 2012 - 9:28

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hairyairey: If all you can find against Lance are accusations from riders who doped themselves, then you haven't looked much at all into the Lance affair and/or you've only read his side of the story. Seriously, it's not hard at all to find that Lance has tested positive for corticosteriods in '99, or that his samples from that tour tested positive for EPO in retrospective testing. These are well-documented and widely reported facts. You can find interviews with scientists involved, who have no particular involvement in cycling, to back what is there in the WADA and UCI record.

As for EPO, there is a test for recombinant EPO. However, it's not detectable for very long, according to what I have read from experts (and I suspect you're not one). As you say, there are also tests that look at blood data, e.g. haematocrit, and for the proportion of reticulocytes (new blood cells) which can indicate EPO doping if high, and others I think. These tests exist precisely because the direct evidence of EPO doping disappear so quickly, while the resultant effects of it on the bloodstream persist for longer (if they didn't EPO doping wouldn't be much use to the athlete).

It's worth noting that the USADA say that part of their evidence they have, upon which they are banning Lance, is abnormal blood data, which doctors say is consistent with doping. The details hopefully will emerge in due course, once the USADA processes against other individuals are finished.

Anyway, the evidence that Lance has failed tests is very easy to find, and widely acknowledged. Not looking doesn't erase it. Further, psuedo-scientific clap-trap to suggest that rEPO could persist from a cancer treatment many years earlier, and persist *in the bloodstream*, based on little factoids about red blood cell production doesn't help make your argument look credible. (Also, which is it: you say can't find any evidence Lance tested + for EPO, so why are you trying explain how he could test positive?).

This isn't about _presuming_ that Lance is guilty based on mere hearsay and innuendo. It's about there being a huge amount of evidence, from indisputable analytical doping tests, to a wide variety of former staff and team-mates (including people who have no connection to the sport anymore, and who never doped themselves, have no interest either way) producing first-hand accounts that Lance doped himself, that Lance gave advice on how to dope, that Lance admitted to doping, that Lance provided doping materials and agents.

You either have to be a conspiracy theorist on the level of those who claim the moon landings to have been faked to believe Lance didn't dope. You have to believe that WADA, USADA, many anti-doping chaperones and scientists, Judge Sparks in Texas, Lance's former soigneur, many of his team-mates, are all conspiring against him! Only those few, still loyal people around Lance (generally all with financial interests in him, strangely) and Lance himself telling the truth, in the face of that evil conspiracy! Or else you have to the kind of person who is wilfully ignorant, so invested emotionally in the legend of Lance that you refuse to look at anything that might run counter to what you want to believe in.

NB: If there is any conspiracy at all, it's been at the UCI - protecting Armstrong from being punished from his *known* positive tests, and perhaps even helping him evade further controls.

NB2: The interesting thing about the '99 tour retrospective EPO testing was that 13 / 87 samples tested positive. Of the 13, 6 samples belonged to Lance. On the face of it this suggests that the peloton largely tested clean, and that Lance was on another level when it came to doping. I.e. it undermines any "level playing field" argument, at least for his '99 win.

Useful background reading:

Cycling news index to its Lance doping related stories: http://bit.ly/PgqQNc

English translation of "L.A. Confidentiel": http://www.sendspace.com/file/w3w826

Interview with Dr Michael Ashenden, who was involved in the development of the EPO test: http://velocitynation.com/content/interviews/2009/michael-ashenden

posted by Paul J [596 posts]
27th August 2012 - 9:31

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Paul J - No he hasn't been convicted and he has never tested positive and he has never been sanctioned and he still has not been proven with evidnece he has tested postive.

The problem here is that this causes more problems. If the USADA have this evidence they claim they should have presented it and and got a definitive answer but they chose not to. You have to ask why. Probably because they had no evidence because there is no evidence that Lance ever tested positive.

Now they have left an open field for people to be judges claiming this is the truth. maybe the police here should act in the same way. You're speeding, No I'm not, well we don't care your convicted, where;s the evidence you shout, we don't need any and we don't need to show it. Now that should be a great way to act. Most people would cry out in anger but why here do we say this form of law if justified.

The most disturbing thing here is that sports people can now be convicted without evidence and just of the say so of discredited bodies like the USADA. Who as far as I can see have an agenda that has nothing to do with cleaning up sports. More likely has a lot to do with political

The USADA bully with substantial jail terms for people to support there case. If Lance had avoided 500 + testing procedures where is the criminal proceeding against the UCI and those people in authority that colluded with him to avoid these test. there is none. There is no evidence except in the mob that are baying for blood and no evidence to support there case except conjecture and possibilities described on pages like this.

posted by Ciaran Patrick [117 posts]
27th August 2012 - 9:42

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Ciaran, yes he definitely has tested positive for prohibited and controlled substances. You lose all credibility in any debate when you try to deny what are matters of fact. He just had not been sanctioned for those positives, before the USADA case.

posted by Paul J [596 posts]
27th August 2012 - 9:49

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Ciaran Patrick: The USADA process is fair and offers due process, and a Texas federal judge ruled it was so, against Lance's claims to the contrary.

Doping of itself is not necessarily a criminal offence in many countries (e.g. the USA). This is a private matter of contract law. Lance signed an agreement that he'd abide by certain private rules when got his licence to compete. He broke those rules, and is being sanctioned under those private rules.

If Lance didn't like that he shouldn't have signed up to those rules.

posted by Paul J [596 posts]
27th August 2012 - 9:58

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Ciaran, You're just factually wrong when you say that USADA chose not to present the evidence. Actually, the process is that Lance had the option to request an independent tribunal to review the evidence, hear arguments and cross-examination from Lance and USADA, and adjudicate on it. As part of that process Lance's side would have been given the evidence (if he hadn't already been given it). You can verify this by reading the USADA regulations, or if you're not bothered you can just take Judge Sparks word for it that the USADA process afforded Lance ample opportunity for fair, due process.

It was *Lance* who chose not to take this option.

Further, USADA are *required* to release a report to at least WADA and any governing bodies involved (i.e. US Cycling and UCI), detailing the grounds for their decision. So, *despite* Lance choosing not to contend it, we should still get to hear what evidence is, in time.

posted by Paul J [596 posts]
27th August 2012 - 10:00

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We should look at what Armstrong said "I never cheated AND gained an unfair advantage...". What he meant to say is that he doped no more than any other cyclist. It's the defence of "we were all at it so what's wrong with that?". He was right, it's not about the bike it's about your drug regime.

posted by jonathanfmcgarry [12 posts]
27th August 2012 - 11:05

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jonathanfmcgarry wrote:
We should look at what Armstrong said "I never cheated AND gained an unfair advantage...". What he meant to say is that he doped no more than any other cyclist. It's the defence of "we were all at it so what's wrong with that?". He was right, it's not about the bike it's about your drug regime.

Yeah, that's how he and many may rationalise it (not to mention some of the LA fans) - Jan Ulrich's quote about being happy with his second places is an interesting line..I suppose as a convicted doper coming second to another alleged (I'm being generous here) doper he would be.

But according to Jonathan Vaughters
http://www.podiumcafe.com/2012/8/23/3262010/vaughters-confession-part-ii...
(from this : http://www.bicycling.com/garmin-insider/featured-stories/jonathan-vaught...).

If there's also some level of corruption wrt LA and the testing process (which it sounds is the case), then that may give him an edge wrt the most optimal doping - tipping the playing field in his favour.

posted by JonD [180 posts]
27th August 2012 - 12:26

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aloxe wrote:
Exact and true ! It's crazy to see how people are still trying to defend him. Against logic against evidence, against testimonies...... What do they need ? À confession ? By the way he did it to its doctor when he dicover cancer the wife of one of his mate was there and testified, he never talk to him and her after, she get sacked and threathened by phone .........she was working with/for Oakley the glasses he wears and partially owns, like Trek bikes.

The woman you are thinking of is Betsy Andreu, the wife of cyclist Frankie Andreu. She made the allegation in a civil case between Armstrong and one his sponsors. Supposedly she visited him right after his brain surgery where the doctors asked him if he's on any controlled substance, and Betsy Andreu claimed Armstrong admitted to taking basically everything under the sun. The thing is this incident was not remembered by any other of the dozen or so people present in the room at the time nor was it in Armstrong's long medical record. She visited Armstrong several times during his illness, and one explanation put forward was that she misremembered from another occasion when someone was explaining to her the drug used in his treatment, which included EPO and various steroids.

Betsy Andreu didn't work for Oakley, the Oakley woman you are thinking of is Stephanie McIlvain, who was Armstrong's liaison there. Greg Lemond said McIlvain told him that she heard Armstrong admitting to using various drugs. McIlvain denies that she had ever said such things.

As for the 1999 corticosteroid positive - they found traces of it in his urine, but it was under the positive range. He was later cleared by the UCI because he had previously obtained permission to use a skin cream containing corticosteroid to treat saddle sore. For what it's worth corticosteroid is basically the most common ingredient in prescription topical creams. All of the above is from reading VeloNews, so do check it out there if you have doubts.

As for the retroactive EPO tests, I don't know very much about them, so I don't have much to say. He could very well have failed them.

Although I do find the idea of retroactive doping controls interesting (ie saving samples so that they could be tested at a later date with better technology). IIRC in the Contador clenbuterol case it was said the amount found was so minute that just a few years ago it would have not turned a positive. While I personally believe that he was most likely guilty (especially after they found traces of plasticisers in his blood as well), there is a not inconsiderable chance that his tainted beef story could be true. That's because there was a huge health scare in China some time afterwards when several hundred people got food poisoning from clenbuterol used on pigs.

The thing is, a lot of substances banned by in sports are used legally or illegally in agriculture, mostly notably various steroids. And it's not inconceivable that they would be present in athletes' bodies after consumption, but just at a level that is not detectable with the technology we have today. But if samples are saved, they could very well return a positive some time in the future. The same goes for legitimate and sanctioned (as in having received permission) medical usage.

So would retroactive testing lead to more positives? And if results are going to be retroactively changed who will be the real winners? We are already seeing this in Armstrong's case, as pretty much every rider in the top five or six of the 1999-2005 Tours have been later convicted of some drug offence. Who should we name as the winners? Only riders who have placed low enough so that they were not adequately tested then and whose samples were saved?

posted by Shanghaied [41 posts]
27th August 2012 - 14:47

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Shanghaied wrote:
As for the 1999 corticosteroid positive - they found traces of it in his urine, but it was under the positive range. He was later cleared by the UCI because he had previously obtained permission to use a skin cream containing corticosteroid to treat saddle sore. For what it's worth corticosteroid is basically the most common ingredient in prescription topical creams. All of the above is from reading VeloNews, so do check it out there if you have doubts.

Shanghaied,

Interesting you should mention that, Emma O'Reilly, LA's masseuse remembers that incident very differently...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/aug/26/lance-armstrong-doping-whist...

It saddens me that pro-cycling's love affair with EPO from 1990s continues to taint the sport's reputation today.

posted by sam_smith [48 posts]
27th August 2012 - 15:03

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Shanghaied,

No, Armstrong's test wasn't "under the positive range". It was a full-on analytical fail for corticosteroids. And no, he didn't have permission for it. He *should* have requested a therapeutic use exemption for the saddle-sore cream he says he used, *before* having used it ideally, certainly before competing after having used it (if the cream existed).

*After* the failure notification from UCI, Armstrong produced a doctor's prescription for a saddle sore cream, claiming he hadn't known it contained corticosteroids (an amazing lapse from a rider famous for his attention to detail). As other's have noted, Lance's soigneur at the time does not consider the explanation for the failure plausible.

The UCI accepted the back-dated doctor's note. Though, some might say it should not have. Regardless, it's indisputable that Lance has had positive tests for substances that should not have been in his body at the time. Which means he's being quite economical with the truth when he says he never failed a test, to put it kindly.

Here's another cyclist who couldn't treat a bee string cause he didn't have a therapeutic use exemption for cortisone cream and didn't want to break the rules: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/in_depth/2001/tour_de_france/1456643.stm. There is also a "Mouvement pour un cyclisme crédible", which is a voluntary protocol some pro teams are signed up to it (E.g. Slipstream/Garmin and various french ones), and one of the conditions stipulated to is that no use of corticosteroidds is acceptable. Riders have to be withdrawn from competition if they require such treatment - they can't just get a TUE. I.e. corticosteroid use isn't a trivial thing.

posted by Paul J [596 posts]
27th August 2012 - 17:25

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the first man to win the Tour five times.

Wrong !

posted by dreamlx10 [137 posts]
27th August 2012 - 21:51

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I'm quite happy to read scientific papers, my degree is in Mathematics and Computer Science. Can anyone provide a link? What I do know is that drugs take a while to build up in your body and a while to leave, which is why your Doctor will ask you to complete a course of antibiotics.

Unfortunately posters are mixing up two things here. A test for synthetic EPO is not as far as I know testing for the presence of the drug but the effects of it. Therefore you cannot scientifically state that he has tested positive for EPO. False positives and false negatives do occur, ask Diane Modahl. So it's entirely acceptable for Lance to state that he hasn't failed a test. From what I understand they have never had to look at any of Lance's B samples.

Regarding TUEs, you are again assuming that the contents of the cream are properly listed. I recall one athlete failing a test for using the same nasal spray in a different country that had different ingredients. How do you fill in a TUE request in that case? Are we going to have to reach the stage where you have to ask for a TUE for everything that goes into your body? TUEs are usually granted for medicines that are taken on a long term basis, eg salbutamol. If you need the medicine and need to take it for less time than it takes to get a TUE, what can you do?

Also, the USADA has not published it's allegations so how everyone is such an expert on what the case is against Lance amazes me. Reading further into this story it appears some of those might even face criminal charges if it turns out they lied on oath to federal investigators.

I do wonder though whether the assumption that Lance has taken drugs is based on the fact that he is tactless, arrogant and obnoxious?

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 - 23:12

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Sorry for confusing the two ladies, i've just watched her interview in front of à TV where she was repeating clearly what she heard, she also testified in court in the Sca promotions trial.
May be she was wrong, the doctor didn't remember in fact having heard this.
But the LA fondation made 1,5 million dollar donation to this hospital 2 dans before the hearing.

But Fortunately I remember better the name of Landis, hincapie, Hamilton... May be they are wrong too....

The fact that Heras, Joachim, Landis, Padrnos his team mate were all convince of doping, the fact that during this period all the podium of tour de France including 2nd and third where suspected to dope but the n1 never ??
The fact that after Simeoni testimony against Dr Ferrari, LA called him a liar and sue him for diffamation ( it's true ) litigation been settled by money, like with Lemond and remains confidential.

LA has a big mouth he barks a lot but never goes to court until the end, always he makes a deal before the decision, in a way even in front of Usada he prefers pull out before having to justify himself and discuss the facts, because he sold a story to the american people he fooled the mass with this and people have bought it, they are emotionnally involved but most of it is bull....

Shame for Basson who wanted to stay clean and that he bans from the peloton, Simeoni who report Dr Ferrari as a doping doctor and been harrassed by LA for this, shame for this sport and for LA himself who doesn't know what he really worth as a cyclist, who he really is.
Definitely a man with a will but far from a champion and furthermore a hero

Philippe

posted by aloxe [8 posts]
28th August 2012 - 0:09

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dreamlx10 wrote:
the first man to win the Tour five times.

Wrong !

Of course. First of the ones who are still alive.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8017 posts]
28th August 2012 - 7:55

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hairyairey...you depress me.

I recall thinking that the end of the Armstrong saga would finally put this all to bed and at last even the most blinkered and partisan fan would finally see what had happened to cycling during the Armstrong era.

I was wrong. The degree of self deception and the willingness to lie to oneself (or be lied to) are as strong as ever.

So I don't know what to say...have you actually followed this story throughout? Is your 'faith' alive in spite of all the overwhelming evidence or did you just not pay proper attention during the last years?

Armstrong has taken the last-gasp and most pathetic route left open to him - rather than try to contest the charges and see his team mates all testify and the entire sordid affair brought into the light, he now says he gives up as it's all too unfair...what an utter coward this man is!! After everything that's transpired, this is how he goes out...guilty as hell and trying to cling on to whatever illusion of credibility is left to him.

And of course the most irritating factor of all - you! People like you who are actually going to buy into this gargantuan bullshit and will parrot this same-style crap: "Lance didn't do it - he never failed a test, just victim of a witch hunt - blah blah"

GROW UP would you please? If you are that eager for fairytales - read the Brothers Grimm.

He DID fail tests - more than once. And even if he hadn't - so what?? There are quite a number of ex-dopers out there who admit to doing it and who never failed a test (our own David Millar among them). The masking systems to cover up doping are as much a part of the process as the dope itself. But hell...why even bother talking about it - clearly nothing will change, the Armstrong fans will join forces with the Flat Earth Society to continue ignoring the obvious, whilst the rest of us will enjoy some genuine cycle racing with realistic mountain ascent times (considerably slower than the Armstrong/Pantani years - but that's just a coincidence right?) and honest-to-goodness bravery, struggle, effort and athleticism...you remember that? Sport!

posted by Lacticlegs [124 posts]
28th August 2012 - 11:09

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Lacticlegs - the difference with David Millar is that he was caught with the goods necessary for doping and did the honorable thing and owned up. (Incidentally if we had automatic lifetime bans for doping there would have been no point in him doing so).

Lance has always maintained that he hasn't taken performance enhancing drugs other than to save his life. So far I am not convinced that he is lying about this.

I would admit that I even believed that Landis hadn't doped now I see he's admitted it. I once rode with Udo Bolts and I'm even more disappointed to see that he had taken drugs.

I have been following the case very closely. I'm still trying to find a reference that says that synthetic EPO is 100% out of the body a day after taking it. I really do doubt that figure even the food we eat takes about 3.5 days to pass right through. I do accept that it's possible for riders to use EPO to increase their fitness pre-race, but a "micro-dose" makes no sense. It's either a dose that works or doesn't.

If I'm wrong (and I'm prepared to accept that) then doping is far more widespread and hidden than any of us realise. Now hopefully this would lead to more people being caught, because with this amount of denial for this long a lot more people must be involved.

In any event unless there are some amazing drugs out there the performance benefit from performance enhancing drugs is small, but of course enough to mean the difference between victory and defeat. You still have to be an athlete in the first place.

I am hopeful that the truth will come out and I still believe that it will blow over. I am quite prepared to admit I could be wrong, something that those who assume Lance has been taking drugs because they don't like him aren't prepared to admit. (it'll only take one "Lance-hater" to prove me wrong on 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]
28th August 2012 - 14:49

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hairyairey wrote:
...I think it's indicative of someone who is desperate for approval (which supposedly is a female trait...)

WTF? We ALL (man, woman, child) look for approval, if only to make sure we 'fit in' to the society or group in which we find ourselves!

Pepita rides again!

posted by pepita1 [175 posts]
28th August 2012 - 15:25

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Don't get too excited about cortico-steroids. They sound a bit like anabolic-steroids but in some ways have opposite effects. Knowing what they are used for and what they do I do not know why they are banned. But, apparently, in super excess dose can give you a 'high'. They are widely used and easily obtainable; please do not be tempted, they are 'prescription only' because they not good for you....

posted by SideBurn [787 posts]
28th August 2012 - 15:58

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Pepital - I have Asperger's Syndrome I don't think I've fitted in anywhere. That probably makes the seeking for approval worse in my case. Some days I couldn't care less what people think of me other days I think everyone is out to get me. That's probably due to the Bipolar as well.

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]
28th August 2012 - 21:29

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