French Cycling Federation says it views Lance Armstrong's refusal to fight charges as an admission of doping

FFC says seven Tour de France titles should not be reassigned and wants €3 million prize money paid back

by Simon_MacMichael   August 30, 2012  

Lance Armstrong (pic courtesy Photosport International)

The Fédération Française de Cyclisme (FFC) has said that it views Lance Armstrong's decision not to take the doping charges laid against him by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to arbitration as tantamount to a confession by the 40-year-old that he doped. It also says that the seven Tour de France titles Armstrong won between 1999 and 2005 should not be reassigned, and expressed the hope that the Texan repay some €2.95 million in prize money won in France.

The FFC's views are contained in a press release published today on its website in response to USADA's announcement last Friday that it had banned Armstrong from sport for life and disqualified him from all results obtained since 1 August 1998. That followed Armstrong's anouncemet late on Thursday that he was not seeking arbitration.

In its statement, the FFC said it had been closely following developments, that it "applauds the perseverance of USADA," and that "the refusal of Lance Armstrong not to contest USADA's accusations sounds as a recognition of his guilt with regard to the breaches of anti-doping regulations held against him dating back to 1998."

It went on: "This decision closes the 'black book' of a sombre period for interational cycling. It also demonstrates that the biggest athletes are not sheltered, even with a delay, from sporting sanctions related to breaches linked to the fight against doping.

"The [FFC] welcomes this very strong message sent to the cheats, one full of hope for the vast majority of riders who practise their sport cleanly."

Regarding the potential reassignment of the Tour de France titles won by Armstrong, the FFC said that it "wishes that the places left vacant subsequent to the disqualification of Armstrong should not be reassigned, thereby leaving the palmares of the Tour de France clean for seven years and avoiding any arguments regarding the credibility of potential winners."

It added that it hoped for the restitution by Armstrong of €2.95 million in prize money won at the Tour de France and other races, and that the money to be used to develop cycling at youth level and for anti-doping initiatives.

 

 

 

 

24 user comments

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OK - form an orderly queue!

_SiD_'s picture

posted by _SiD_ [180 posts]
30th August 2012 - 17:22

4 Likes

Love it!

posted by festival [102 posts]
30th August 2012 - 18:51

3 Likes

Good idea, how can you award these titles to people who themselves have been caught doping? But I still think there is a whole new chapter to come! Come on Lance lets have some more bull-sh... whoops sorry.. more of your defence case.

posted by SideBurn [873 posts]
30th August 2012 - 18:54

3 Likes

give the palamares to the podium girls

Really, though?

posted by workhard [389 posts]
30th August 2012 - 19:24

2 Likes

Well played, FFC. Dear the rest of the sport: this is how you do it.

posted by steff [81 posts]
30th August 2012 - 22:50

1 Like

Having read a couple of books about him and what a nasty piece of work he can be and given how agressively Armstrong has gone after anyone or anything that has said negative things about him, I think he may be guilty after all.

posted by mavisto [13 posts]
31st August 2012 - 10:21

3 Likes

Baloney. Deciding not to fight a legal battle is definitively NOT proof of guilt or tantanount to confession as claimed by FFC.

When a powerful commercial or state agency takes on an individual, the baleful truth is that the deck is massively stacked in favour of the agency, ie USADA in this case. They have the financial resources to slug out a legal battle to the biter end. Only multimillionaires have the resources to fight back. Why else do you think that the vast majority of libel/defmataion cases are brought by big corporations or super-rich individuals, and why do they target the individual journalist rather than the newpaper corporation they are employed by?

Lance Armstring might for all I know have become wealthy from his cycling career but I would bet that we are talking about rich, not super-rich, and simple rich just doesn't cut it. Also, committed as he is to support his charity, he might reasonably be supposed to think any resources he has spare to fritter away would be best applied to the benefit of his charity.

As I understand it, USADA has only the testimony of team mates, many of whom have been caught with their own fingers in the pill-jar, and who allegedly have obtained concessions for agreeing to testify against Armstrong, so their evidence is tainted at best. Also, Armstong has subnitted to multiple doping tests over many years at frequent intervals, and not one of these tests has actually been positive for banned substances.

There is about as much justice in this campaign of persecution as there is in South Africa prosecuting for murder not the policemen who shot and killed 34 striking miners, but about 200 of their fellow - unarmed - strikers under a law introduced in the apartheid era.

posted by Paul M [325 posts]
31st August 2012 - 10:30

2 Likes

SideBurn wrote:
Good idea, how can you award these titles to people who themselves have been caught doping?

You don't..second paragraph from the end:

Quote:

Regarding the potential reassignment of the Tour de France titles won by Armstrong, the FFC said that it "wishes that the places left vacant subsequent to the disqualification of Armstrong should not be reassigned, thereby leaving the palmares of the Tour de France clean for seven years and avoiding any arguments regarding the credibility of potential winners."

posted by JonD [208 posts]
31st August 2012 - 11:02

4 Likes

Paul M wrote:
Baloney. Deciding not to fight a legal battle is definitively NOT proof of guilt or tantanount to confession as claimed by FFC.

It is, because that's what they've signed up to - try reading around the subject.

Fighting may be expensive, but not prohibitively so, and especially not for Armstrong (have a search around for his appearance fees, for example). Plus Armstrong tried to evade the process by going to court, which he lost - he had the money for that.

posted by JonD [208 posts]
31st August 2012 - 11:10

2 Likes

Paul M wrote:

There is about as much justice in this campaign of persecution as there is in South Africa prosecuting for murder not the policemen who shot and killed 34 striking miners, but about 200 of their fellow - unarmed - strikers under a law introduced in the apartheid era.

we're sailing a bit close to godwin's law territory here Plain Face

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7495 posts]
31st August 2012 - 11:20

1 Like

Quote from Paul M: "When a powerful commercial or state agency takes on an individual, the baleful truth is that the deck is massively stacked in favour of the agency, ie USADA in this case. They have the financial resources to slug out a legal battle to the biter end."

USADA's annual budget is approximately $13 million from which they have to fund all their activities, not just this case.

Lance Armstrong's personal wealth is estimated at $125 million.

So who, exactly, has "the financial resources to slug out a legal battle to the bitter end" here - and decided not to?

Thinking

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8482 posts]
31st August 2012 - 11:49

1 Like

Paul M wrote:
Baloney. Deciding not to fight a legal battle is definitively NOT proof of guilt or tantanount to confession as claimed by FFC.

When a powerful commercial or state agency takes on an individual, the baleful truth is that the deck is massively stacked in favour of the agency, ie USADA in this case. They have the financial resources to slug out a legal battle to the biter end. Only multimillionaires have the resources to fight back. Why else do you think that the vast majority of libel/defmataion cases are brought by big corporations or super-rich individuals, and why do they target the individual journalist rather than the newpaper corporation they are employed by?

Lance Armstring might for all I know have become wealthy from his cycling career but I would bet that we are talking about rich, not super-rich, and simple rich just doesn't cut it. Also, committed as he is to support his charity, he might reasonably be supposed to think any resources he has spare to fritter away would be best applied to the benefit of his charity.

As I understand it, USADA has only the testimony of team mates, many of whom have been caught with their own fingers in the pill-jar, and who allegedly have obtained concessions for agreeing to testify against Armstrong, so their evidence is tainted at best. Also, Armstong has subnitted to multiple doping tests over many years at frequent intervals, and not one of these tests has actually been positive for banned substances.

There is about as much justice in this campaign of persecution as there is in South Africa prosecuting for murder not the policemen who shot and killed 34 striking miners, but about 200 of their fellow - unarmed - strikers under a law introduced in the apartheid era.

Dear Paul,

Baloney? Yes indeed - but only what you are writing.

Why is it that the pro-Armstrong camp are so invariably ill-informed? Yes - not contesting this through arbitration IS tantamount to an admission of guilt. That's what was on the table when this was all started, and they all knew that. Armstrong doesn't want to fight it because the worst outcome for him is dragging the details out into the public in open session.

And for crying out loud STOP parrot-ing Armstrong's tired soundbite about being tested ad-infinitum and never coming up positive! It's crap - he DID test positive. More than once. You really should try reading up a little on the history of this case. Oh and by the way - even if that duplicitous statement were actually true, what difference does it make? There are plenty of big name cyclists out there who have been tested hundreds of times and never come up positive - and who admit they were using performance enhancing drugs (Bjarne Riis and David Millar for example). Why do you think they pay people like Michele Ferrari so many hundreds of thousands? It's not just the drugs but the evasion and masking systems.

And unable to afford to take on USADA?? You're kidding right? Armstrong is a multi-millionaire - many times over. The man travels on private jets. He has sued and pursued anyone and everyone who came close to speaking out against him and has maintained a legal team of not insignificant scale for many years. You think he just dropped this because the lawyers were getting too expensive?

Whether or not you buy into all the lies and smoke and mirrors - where is your logic? Do you really believe that Armstrong is some sort of super-human, able to resoundingly beat the best of the rest - who WERE doping? Did you not notice that Armstrong holds the ascent records (or is second behind Pantani) for the alpine climbs - set during the most drug-riddled years of the peloton? Did you not notice the decline of those ascent times since the blood passports and better testing have been introduced? And not all the witnesses are tainted or have an axe to grind (not that this makes any difference either - no one assumes that a court informant cannot be believed due to their background in organised crime - surely that very history is what makes them people we should listen to?

As for witch-hunts and all this other self-serving bollocks - puh-lease! Armstrong is the king of with-hunts. He hounded Simeoni and Bassons out of their careers, he accused a well-regarded professional soigneur (the only female in her field incidentally) of being an alcoholic and a prostitute. He will do (and has done) just about anything to damage and discredit anyone who speaks out against him.

Most of all though I just don't get your perspective...I was a huge fan of Armstrong, and then became angry and disillusioned when the truth came out. I'd agree that a few years ago you could still take a position and argue the case either way - but that time has long since past. With the evidence now available it is not possible to view him as innocent without some industrial strength denial. Why?? I agree it's tragic, but why are you so invested in propping up the myth? Do you need it that badly..?

posted by Lacticlegs [124 posts]
31st August 2012 - 12:23

2 Likes

in summary - it looks like s@#t...it smells like s@#t...it feels like s@#t...there are boat-loads of witnesses ready to testify that it's s@#t - hey guess what? IT'S S@#T!

posted by Lacticlegs [124 posts]
31st August 2012 - 12:28

2 Likes

Of course the other reason for not pursuing it is that he has better things to do with his time? The posts above make little sense if he is as litigious as you suggest he'd have no reason not to fight it.

In any event, if those who are testifying against Lance are doing this for a deal then it doesn't look good. As I've said before I think some people are testifying under duress.

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

posted by hairyairey [292 posts]
31st August 2012 - 14:54

1 Like

JonD; I was trying to say it is a good idea to leave the winners place empty....

posted by SideBurn [873 posts]
31st August 2012 - 15:22

1 Like

hairyairey wrote:
Of course the other reason for not pursuing it is that he has better things to do with his time? The posts above make little sense if he is as litigious as you suggest he'd have no reason not to fight it.

No, he'd have no reason not to fight it. Unless, ooh, I know - here's an idea - unless they're right, he doped, and now he knows he's cornered?!

(Shhurely not!)

I thought Lance was ace too, back in the day. I even think that pursuing him isn't doing the sport any good. However, to suggest that was clean is now denying the obvious.

(If I've misinterpreted your post, I apologise)

Last night I would have considered trading a very loud baby for a really nice bike.

posted by notfastenough [3456 posts]
31st August 2012 - 15:25

2 Likes

Godwins law Simon?...Well you said it first Thinking

posted by SideBurn [873 posts]
31st August 2012 - 15:27

3 Likes

SideBurn wrote:
JonD; I was trying to say it is a good idea to leave the winners place empty....

Oops - yes, ISWYM now I read it again !

posted by JonD [208 posts]
31st August 2012 - 16:31

0 Likes

SideBurn wrote:
Godwins law Simon?...Well you said it first Thinking

I didn't say it at all. That was Dave Wink

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8482 posts]
31st August 2012 - 17:11

2 Likes

Spot on post from lacticlegs - couldn't have put it better myself. Like LL, I used to be a big LA fan, but over the years as more and more doping stories came to light it became increasing hard to believe that the dominant rider of his era (which lets not forget was absolutely awash with dope of every kind) was the only clean rider in the peloton - its simply not plausible.

I will concede this to the LA fans though - given that say 90 percent of riders were probably doped that means that it was a reasonably level playing field; LA was better than everyone else - he trained harder, wanted to win more and could take more pain than anyone else, so I have no arguments there at all.

What really annoys me is the bullying, the denials and the smoke and mirrors BS about never failing a test - I've never been caught speeding in my car, but I've done many times I.e. just because you haven't been caught doesn't mean you didnt do it. It's a totally fallacious argument. I don't recall LA ever directly and simply saying 'I have never taken PEDs' - it's always dressed up with this nonsense about never failing a test. I could go on but you get the idea.

I think there's plenty more to come on this, so the fans are in for a tough time.

Pastaman

posted by pastaman [222 posts]
31st August 2012 - 17:50

2 Likes

"As for witch-hunts and all this other self-serving bollocks - puh-lease! Armstrong is the king of with-hunts. He hounded Simeoni and Bassons out of their careers, he accused a well-regarded professional soigneur (the only female in her field incidentally) of being an alcoholic and a prostitute. He will do (and has done) just about anything to damage and discredit anyone who speaks out against him."

Good stuff, LL. Armstrong is a dreadful human being who deserves exposing mainly for what he's done to the decent individuals you mention and probably many others we don't know about. Fuck the doping per se, it's the damage he's wrought on good, honest, hard-working folk and an entire sport - with the connivance of the authorities in the shape Verbruggen and McQuaid - that needs to be shouted from the rooftops.

dullard's picture

posted by dullard [140 posts]
31st August 2012 - 18:03

1 Like

Nobody else spot the "strip him of the 7 titles want money back but not awarding win to the 2nd place rider" and they will use money to fund cycling, lol not bad idea 7 yrs of tour profits and no winners fees paid out, if Lance paid them the nearly 3 mill they are asking for.

To be honest I do not care personaly if lance is guilty or innocent it does not affect me.
I care about the legitimacy of the witness statements and why it has taken so long for this to be at the level it is at, after all a 7 times tour winner, well after 2-3 wins he should have been under more scrutiny than any other rider in the sport.
If they found nothing most times and as one said he had a doc exemption another time or more, who are we to argue with that it should have been argued at the time.

A paper here also stated that officials were complacent in helping him with tests by giving him at least 20 min notice ? All this says to me is it is a very very sorry state on all counts for all parties involved.

And for those saying he is guilty because he is not fighting it and has the money to fight it, do you have even the slightest idea how much it takes out of someone fighting the system? money can help but time and stress are something money does not alter.

I will reserve my judgement till the full facts are published if ever and all legal action is finished.

posted by SPEED098 [7 posts]
31st August 2012 - 23:44

3 Likes

Armstrong claims to have been investigated to ascertain whether he "cheated and gained an unfair advantage". From the information I have seen the investigation was into whether he took PEDs and whether he was involved in a conspiracy to cover it up and encourage others to do so. He has deliberately conflated two issues "cheating" and "gaining an unfair advantage" in an attempt to confuse. By denying that he "cheated and gained an unfair advantage" he's actually saying that he did take PEDs but as all the other top riders were too he was merely leveling the playing field.

Commentators would scoff at a criminal claiming, in the face of a plethora of other evidence, that as the Police didn't catch him red-handed robbing the bank he didn't do it. A criminal of course wouldn't have the option of opting out of the court process. Let's remember that Marion Jones was caught the same way as Armstrong has been, David Millar never failed a drugs test but Lance did, it just got covered up. I'm surprised he hasn't yet blamed the european-cheese-eating-surrender-monkies for forcing him to turn to drugs.

Armstrong's right about one thing though, it's not about the bike it's about how you can spread the blame.

posted by jonathanfmcgarry [14 posts]
1st September 2012 - 10:00

3 Likes

"he has better things to do with his time?"

Better than defend his clean 7 TDF wins and personal reputation? I can't think of much that's a better use of his time unless he's on a massive rock n roll style coke and playboy bunnies bender while hanging out on tour with Motley Crue with the GLC as a support act Smile

BTW Lance, if you are - all is forgiven, you rock, and at last have become as cool as Jan Ulrich.

posted by james-o [212 posts]
1st September 2012 - 18:37

3 Likes