Greg LeMond: Lance Armstrong should be in jail... and was top 30 rider at best

He also says that Armstrong used charity as a shield and "manipulated cancer community"

by Simon_MacMichael   October 22, 2013  

Greg Lemond gives Lance the big stare

Three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond has said that Lance Armstrong, last year stripped of his seven victories in the race for doping, should go to jail as a result of his “criminal” behaviour. He added that without the help of performance enhancing substances, Armstrong would have been “a top 30 at best” rider.

LeMond, aged 52, was speaking last night on the CNN show, Anderson Cooper 360°. In his interview with the talk show host, the double world road champion also described Armstrong as a “thug” who used his recovery from cancer, as well as the charity he founded, as a shield from doping allegations, reports USA Today.

In 2001, quoted in a Sunday Times article regarding Armstrong’s links to the now banned Italian doctor Michele Ferrari, LeMond said: “If Lance is clean, it is the greatest comeback in the history of sport. If he isn't, it would be the greatest fraud."

Those comments were among the reasons that Trek, whose bikes Armstrong rode to all seven of his Tour de France wins, dropped LeMond’s bicycle range. The parties reached an out-of-court settlement in LeMond’s favour last year, although full details were not disclosed.

Asked last night whether he still believed Armstrong had committed the biggest fraud in sporting history, LeMond replied: "Absolutely. Absolutely. The greatest fraud was that – I mean, I know his physical capability.

“He is a top 30 at best. I mean, at best. No matter what. If he was clean, everybody was clean, he was top 30 at best. He is not capable of, not – capable of the top five."

The insinuation is that in an era when doping was rife in the peloton and the vast majority of the riders who achieved top ten positions in the Tour de France were later revealed to have used drugs, Armstrong was gaining more of an edge than any of his rivals.

Armstrong’s first Tour de France victory came in 1999, less than a year after he returned to cycling following his recovery from cancer. By that point, he had already founded his cancer awareness charity the Lance Armstrong Foundation, later rebranded as Livestrong.

But LeMond insisted that Armstrong had ulterior motives, saying: "He manipulated the cancer community.

"I mean, I have family members with cancer. Everybody has been affected by cancer. But it was the manipulation and using that… like Teflon. He used the money, he used the foundation to not only cover for him but also destroy people."

Cooper asked LeMond what he thought should happen to Armstrong now.

"This is not a sporting infraction," LeMond maintained. "This is criminal." Asked if he believed Armstrong should go to jail, he responded, “I do, yes."

So far, however, Armstrong has escaped criminal charges. 

Early last year, a federal investigation into whether Armstrong and others had committed fraud in relation to use of sponsorship funds from the US Postal Service was shelved.

Moreover, potential perjury charges relating to what by his own admission were untruthful statements in his deposition under oath in the SCA Promotions case, which concluded in 2006, cannot be brought since they are statute barred.

He continues to face a number of civil actions, including the whistleblower case brought by former team-mate Floyd Landis, which the US Government has joined.

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What a legend.

posted by georgee [137 posts]
22nd October 2013 - 12:51

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Suggesting jail time is one thing but claiming he was only a "top 30 rider at best" without the drugs will really stick in Armstrong's craw.

Bitchin'

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posted by nostromo [65 posts]
22nd October 2013 - 13:01

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I disagree with the "top 30 at best" if everyone was clean comment, but I also will concede the LeMond probably has more knowledge and is in a better position to judge, but he may also be using this opportunity to level a few scores with Armstrong. After the way he and his wife were treated he is more than owed the opportunity to put the boot in.

posted by farrell [1311 posts]
22nd October 2013 - 13:05

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I normally err on the side of leniency, but in this instance a jail term seems perfectly justified

posted by caaad10 [101 posts]
22nd October 2013 - 13:07

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Go Greg! I destest Armstrong with a passion.

posted by njmoffat [15 posts]
22nd October 2013 - 13:08

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georgee wrote:
What a legend.

Not really, he's doing the oh-so-popular thing of bashing Armstrong in an attempt to garner some free publicity for himself and he's certainly got an axe to grind (perfectly understandable given the circumstances).

In an era where doping was the done thing, where everyone involved was part of the omerta, where riders, doctors, managers, teams, even many of the sponsors (and possibly even the UCI) were actively complicit, where magazines all jumped on the bandwagon to enjoy the extra publicity, laying this all at the door of ONE man seems a tad - hypocritical.

Just a matter of time before one super-fish came along in a very polluted little pond. What gets me is the total hypocrisy and complete lack of any consistency.
Where's the calls for sanctions against every other rider who "defrauded" sponsors, who lied, cheated, bullied or manipulated people, why is Virenque still listed as a 7-times King of the Mountains winner? It really is time to move on from "it was all Armstrong's fault".

posted by crazy-legs [486 posts]
22nd October 2013 - 13:11

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Where's the calls for sanctions against every other rider who "defrauded" sponsors, who lied, cheated, bullied or manipulated people, why is Virenque still listed as a 7-times King of the Mountains winner? It really is time to move on from "it was all Armstrong's fault".

Agree with this, I'm still smarting from the hammering I got from some Italian aquaintances for suggesting that Pantani was not worthy of their hero worship.

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posted by Crosshouses [171 posts]
22nd October 2013 - 13:32

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Crazy-legs.... couldn't agree more, I hate Armstrong and what he did, but I also hate all the other cheating bastards of that era, some who were able to ride again and win the Olympics FFS !

He should be treated like all the other cheats, ban them all for life or not, my choice is for life, but lets have some consistency, its not all one persons fault.

posted by mikeprytherch [211 posts]
22nd October 2013 - 13:48

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crazy-legs wrote:
georgee wrote:
What a legend.

Not really, he's doing the oh-so-popular thing of bashing Armstrong in an attempt to garner some free publicity for himself and he's certainly got an axe to grind (perfectly understandable given the circumstances).

In an era where doping was the done thing, where everyone involved was part of the omerta, where riders, doctors, managers, teams, even many of the sponsors (and possibly even the UCI) were actively complicit, where magazines all jumped on the bandwagon to enjoy the extra publicity, laying this all at the door of ONE man seems a tad - hypocritical.

No, in an era when nearly everyone was bullied, coerced, conned or gullible enough to eat Armstrongs shit, he did not, he has fully earned his right to say all he said. If this was Riis, Millar, schleck, contador, Hamilton, hincapie, Tyler, verbruggen, Mcquaid or many thousands who did nothing or added to the whole sham he would not.

posted by georgee [137 posts]
22nd October 2013 - 14:20

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Old Cranky wrote:
Me too. I love the way he wants to crap in Armstrong's cap Big Grin

Made me die laughing but you really have to support Lemond. He didn't jump on the let's hate Lance bandwagon; he started it.

posted by jarredscycling [436 posts]
22nd October 2013 - 14:48

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Leave it alone Greg.

Every outburst just brings his name back into the limelight.

LA is dethroned and gone.

Let's move on.

posted by Ginsterdrz [18 posts]
22nd October 2013 - 14:49

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Greg Lemond has every right to say what he thinks. This man was bullied, intimidated and almost bankrupted by Armstrong.

Armstrong WAS different. Cheating at a bicycle race is one thing, but suing those who try and do what is right, ending people's careers and using the cancer community to shield him from accusations is another altogether.

posted by samwstraw [25 posts]
22nd October 2013 - 15:13

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Beyond time for a truth and reconciliation comittee. I can only imagine Armstrong's "hallelujah" tweet at Cookson's election was in the hope of this. Perhaps I missed it but I haven't seen an awful lot of contrition so so long Lance, you are an amazing cancer survivor but nothing else.

posted by arfa [449 posts]
22nd October 2013 - 18:23

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Funny how all the Lance "Fanboys" with Livestrong wristbands have disappeared.

posted by dreamlx10 [134 posts]
22nd October 2013 - 19:59

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If I'm not mistaken, the Live strong wristbands were for his cancer charity. Not really a supporting Armstrong like a football shirt or a discovery channel cycling kit.
Thinking

posted by zok27 [3 posts]
22nd October 2013 - 21:05

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On another note, anybody else just seen the pic of Ben Foster as Armstrong for the forthcoming Stephen Frears' movie? I guess it's alright for a direct link to the story and pic here (??).

http://www.empireonline.com/news/story.asp?NID=39128

posted by Ghostie [77 posts]
22nd October 2013 - 21:18

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As I keep saying - if the Sunday Times had not settled with Armstrong and had him testify on oath here we could see him in jail for perjury. We don't have a statute of limitations on perjury (and neither should the USA - it's a very serious offence in their country someone could die as a result of lies in court).

Although if it's shown that he doped on his return to the sport then it's still possible. I am so disappointed in Lance.

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

posted by hairyairey [278 posts]
22nd October 2013 - 22:19

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I think Greg's performances were great. I love the way he came back from an accidental hunting gunshot wound to the lung to win TdF.

It is however important to remember that we live in a world of human beings, whatever superhero status they may have they are still human. I read the infamous Sports Illustrated article below. I read the improbable account about iron injections alone giving Greg a tremendous boost. I understand that EPO must be given along with iron to allow new blood cells to be built, but iron alone does not stimulate stimulate incredible new red blood cell growth. The season in question was the season just prior to general release of EPO to the public. The possibility that gunshot wounded Greg was used as a guinea pig seems credible, although he would still carry some responsibility even if that were so.

To be honest what I see when I read the article is Greg trying to admit that something incredible or miraculous happened by taking the iron shots. Through this admission he achieves penance, because he has stated all that he knew with absolute certainty, while leaving it up to the listener to consider the same doubts that he himself might have harbored.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/cycling/1998/tourdefrance/tourdefrancea...

" LeMond had a second injection of iron and started feeling stronger. He actually stayed within shouting distance of the leaders on a late mountain stage of the Tour of Italy, which was such a morale booster that he wanted an all-out test. Being hopelessly out of contention in the overall standings, LeMond decided to go for broke in the final stage of the Tour of Italy, an individual time trial of just under 34 miles. He would hold nothing back, start to finish. If he ran out of gas — "blew up," in cycling parlance — so be it. But LeMond didn't blow up. He finished second, a whopping minute and 18 seconds ahead of Fignon, the overall winner. "It changed my entire outlook," says LeMond. "Obviously, there was nothing wrong with me physically.""

Charlie Horse

posted by ch [100 posts]
22nd October 2013 - 23:36

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Lance's true position is unknowable, so its a cheap shot by Lemond. Then again he did lie in court, which is a crime; and the suing innocent people. Given that he probably will never go to jail maybe a few low blows are justified.

That Ben Foster pic is immaculate, how did the 90's get so retro. Some bike/kit consultant is getting paid well. Few pennies for the Graham Watson archive?

Between the S and the LOW

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posted by bikeboy76 [1187 posts]
22nd October 2013 - 23:49

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crazy-legs wrote:

Not really, he's doing the oh-so-popular thing of bashing Armstrong in an attempt to garner some free publicity for himself and he's certainly got an axe to grind (perfectly understandable given the circumstances).

Obviously it wasn't that popular when Trek tried to shut him up.

Take your point on all the others who have "boosted", whether it was amphetamines in the 60s or EPO in the 90s, but the sanctimonious "cancer survivor" crap is what really sealed Armstrong's doom for me.

posted by Ush [379 posts]
23rd October 2013 - 0:28

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In reply to @crazy-legs

Yes I totally agree with you. I don't defend Armstrong's lies but it has seemed that the other riders who won large sums of money and were later exposed as having doped seem to have got off far more lightly. Why is Bjarne Riis still listed as the TdF winner for 1996 when he's admitted that he doped?

I still think Greg is a top blike.

Andy

posted by jazzdude [59 posts]
23rd October 2013 - 0:55

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Applause its so bad LeMond bikes were canned due to conflict with Lance-who really knows how much $$$ was lost to such a deserving man. His (LeMond!!!) top model in
Reynolds steel was one heavenly rinding bike.

posted by Kim Chee [13 posts]
23rd October 2013 - 4:05

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Devil Maybe they should go out hunting together to try to patch things up and get along.

posted by Kim Chee [13 posts]
23rd October 2013 - 4:07

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You mean, have another shot at getting along?

Gerard the Kiwi

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posted by GerardR [84 posts]
23rd October 2013 - 5:13

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Looking at the film picture, he could have at least have bothered working on his leg muscles for it!

posted by georgee [137 posts]
23rd October 2013 - 7:33

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dreamlx10 wrote:
Funny how all the Lance "Fanboys" with Livestrong wristbands have disappeared.

https://www.facebook.com/cyclingnews

I'm afraid not, read the Facebook comments on the same story, clever lot them Trekkers! Just read "Slaying the Badger" now have even more respect for the Lemond!

posted by Trevmeister74 [2 posts]
23rd October 2013 - 8:24

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zok27 wrote:
If I'm not mistaken, the Live strong wristbands were for his cancer charity. Not really a supporting Armstrong like a football shirt or a discovery channel cycling kit.
Thinking

You don't still believe that rubbish, do you?

Oh dear.

For the people who think it should all be swept under the carpet / we're all kicking a poor fellow when he's down / they were all doping etc etc... I suggest you read Seven Deadly Sins. The lies, bullying and the legal and hateful sh*t Armstrong sprayed for many years, particularly at Greg, the Andreus, Emma O'Reilly and other people who weren't easily silenced, has to be seen to be believed. This is someone who wrecked whole careers, bribed the UCI, brought lawsuits against anyone trying to tell the truth... truly shocking.

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posted by Simon E [1910 posts]
23rd October 2013 - 13:15

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I am reading 'Breaking the Chain'. What strikes me is how natural the drug taking process was in the teams. They are their own test laboratory - testing both 'glow time' and response to each chemical - not every substance has a quantifiable benefit/gain on each person, some work better than others.

The search for an advantage, and the extent that they know the rules, and how to walk round them is astonishing. The current situation with the Jamaican Athletics Association is a topical case in point - no out of competition testing before an Olympic games.

Actually during Lemonds period they started to understand about the drug taking and were a bit more efficient at it, but I don't think Voet and his teams ever stopped. The drugs just became more effective.

I say all this, because I think it unlikely that the culture has changed much, either from before the 1990s, nor since. Some things have adjusted, but I would imagine that bike teams are pretty capable of walking around most of the measures.

One thing that does strike me is that there seems to be a code of respect, which meant that no one in his team doped 'excessively' - i.e. the doctors capped EPO use before the UCI did, and that they didn't try to win everything. I think that is Armstrong's mistake - while he missed the classics, he tried to dominate the big race and that wasn't fair. He is reaping his whirlwind.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1086 posts]
23rd October 2013 - 14:01

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Simon E wrote:
zok27 wrote:
If I'm not mistaken, the Live strong wristbands were for his cancer charity. Not really a supporting Armstrong like a football shirt or a discovery channel cycling kit.
Thinking

You don't still believe that rubbish, do you?

Oh dear.

Its not even like LiveStrong were donating much, if anything to cancer research.

posted by zanf [427 posts]
23rd October 2013 - 14:13

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A little bit off course but my 2 cents ...

Watch the documentary 9.79, about the Ben Johnson incident, listening to the head tester at the LA and Seoul Olympic games there were so many positives across so many athletes they didn't do anything about it.
Watching Carl lewis and his coaches interviews is like watching lance and his coaches all over again.

Around 200 athletes on the records for Operación Puerto - only the cyclists get named, what about the other athletes?

I don't condone drug taking in any way, I've had people ask me about them and I have explained the dangers and told them if they chose that route there was the door.

Don't get me wrong I definitely think he should pay for the way he destroyed others careers and lives, but if everyone thinks the sports world is clean they really do have their heads in the sand, there will always be the genetic freaks, (Eero Antero Mäntyranta the finish cross country skier, yes I know ironically he got busted for drugs, but his EPO levels were the cause of a genetic mutation) and they usually become the ones who do win more.

How many of you were going crazy when you saw armstrong attack on the hills?... did you really believe that one year after being on his cancer deathbed he could come back and win a race run over 3500+ miles in 3 weeks? seriously?... have you actually met any one who has had cancer or seen how they are feeling recovered from cancer after 1 year??

I loved watching him win, (unfortunately oblivious to his antics towards others, which probably would have influenced my attitude) , I read his books (one actually helped me understand a lot about my dad who died from cancer and what was going through his mind when he had it, but would talk about)
Did I ever think armstrong was clean? no I can honestly say not, in fact I used to argue with a personal friend of his over the issue when I said there was no way he was...however did that stop me enjoying what I saw, no it didn't.
But then I also think the Jamaican's aren't clean either, or a lot of top tennis players, or footballers, or NFL, or Baseball...... etc etc

I'm not cynical just realistic, (I will say though Lemond after reading his book is definitely one of those freaks, and is definitely a cycling hero, as is a guy like Hampsten , who did win clean... but then I also like Coppi, Bartali, Hinault, Merckx and Sean Kelly, and they were all most probably riding on PEDS, but I still like them and reading about and seeing the way they rode)

I wish every one was clean, I love cycling, I love to see the battles in the hills, over the cobbles, the sprints for the line.
We we live in a society where we want hero's, where money and success unfortunately go hand in hand, and sponsors demand results.
it's us who put athletes on a pedestal,
we want our team to win after all who wants to ride a losers bike, or wear a team that never wins jersey
we want to see the records broken,
we want to see people go faster and higher and longer ,

Have you ever asked yourself who it really is putting the pressure on athletes across all sports to achieve these feats?

would you be happy with records never getting broken, seeing no one go faster... it was pretty cool to see Usain break the record huh, how about when he broke it again .. insane!

let me ask you this
have you bought a lighter bike to go faster?
aero wheels?
latest aero kit?
lighter components?

why ?
two answers I can think of
1. Lets face it aero wheels look damn cool
2. You wanted to go faster the pros use them after all.. guess what .. the marketing worked... money out of your pocket to sponsors pocket.

For the record I've had my ass kicked by guys on steel bikes while I was on a carbon bike racing up the hills, I've also had the pleasure to be able to out sprint people on much more expensive bikes than mine with wheels that cost more than my whole bike....its the rider and the results on the scoreboard, not the bike except at the very top levels where seconds and 100th's of seconds can make a difference and mean gold or silver or that hill top win... however I am saving up for some aero wheels they look pretty cool.

Am I saying you cant win without drugs (sprinting yes) ,cycling no, I generally do think it can be done in our sport, and would like to think it is becoming more common place.

Just Enjoy it for what it is and how it makes you feel, and don't be sucked in or surprised when the next one hits the fan, after all we are what make cycling, but we are also the ones who want our guys/girls to win, its what many of us associate with.

it does make us happier when our team/athlete wins, and from my experience people enjoy being happy it feels good.. fact.

... you do want them to win right?

posted by Jasonnz1 [23 posts]
23rd October 2013 - 23:13

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