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Disgraced former racers believes he has not been treated fairly

Lance Armstrong believes he has not been treated fairly in the aftermath of being found by the United States Anti-Doping Agency to have masterminded “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme sport has ever seen”.

Armstrong told the BBC World Service’s Tim Franks that he had suffered “massive personal loss” while others who had confessed to doping “have truly capitalised on this story”.

But the 42-year-old American, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France victories in 2012, said that if he is treated fairly, he will testify with "100% transparency and honesty" at any future inquiry into doping.

“If everyone gets the death penalty, then I’ll take the death penalty,” he said.

“If everyone gets a free pass, I’m happy to take a free pass. If everyone gets six months, then I’ll take my six months.”

Armstrong was not simply found to have consistently used performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career, but to have coordinated the doping programmes at his US Postal and Discovery Channel teams. The USADA found that he had “ultimate control over not only his own personal drug use, but over the doping culture of his team.”

According to the USADA’s Reasoned Decision, Armstrong had final responsibility for hiring doctors and other staff to coordinate the doping programme at his team and his goal of repeatedly winning the Tour de France led him “to expect and to require that his teammates would likewise use drugs to support his goals if not their own.”

The consequences for Armstrong have been, unsurprisingly, severe. The emergence of the full details of his doping activity has opened the door to lawsuits from the former team-mate Floyd Landis and US Justice department, insurance companies that covered his win bonuses and the Sunday Times.

“It’s been tough,” he said. “It’s been real tough. I’ve paid a high price in terms of my standing within the sport, my reputation, certainly financially because the lawsuits have continued to pile up.

“I have experienced massive personal loss, massive loss of wealth while others have truly capitalised on this story.”

Armstrong said that the sport of professional cycling had also been adversely affected by revelations that the sport was driven by doping in the 1990s and 2000s.

“Do I think that this process has been good for cycling?” he asked. “No. I don’t think our sport has been served well by going back 15 years.

“I don’t think that any sport, or any political scenario, is well served going back 15 years.

“And if you go back 15 years, you might as well go back 30.”

Armstrong retired from cycling in 2005, but made a comeback in 2009. He rode two Tours de France before retiring for good in 2011.

While evidence from his 2009 comeback was not central to the USADA case against Armstrong, the agency documents substantial evidence of a continuing relationship with doping doctor Michele Ferrari in 2009, and delaying submitting himself to testing.

The full interview with Lance Armstrong will be broadcast on the BBC World Service Newshour at 13:00 and 14:00 GMT.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

52 comments

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alotronic [515 posts] 3 years ago
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Beyond comment really, what an ego. Not only was he the best cyclist in the world now he's the most hurt? I'm weeping.

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William Black [193 posts] 3 years ago
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alotronic wrote:

Beyond comment really, what an ego. Not only was he the best cyclist in the world now he's the most hurt? I'm weeping.

Just another David Millar style sob story really.

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Paul J [931 posts] 3 years ago
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He really doesn't understand what he did.

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Colin Peyresourde [1812 posts] 3 years ago
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The thing that always got to me about him was the fiction he created about his amazing drug free comeback from cancer. What he did was above and beyond what anyone else was doing and he was rewarded above and beyond anyone else. Now he is being legally pursued above and beyond anyone else.

What goes around comes around.

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zanf [919 posts] 3 years ago
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 37

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Simon E [3040 posts] 3 years ago
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Lance, do us all a favour and F**K OFF.

It's not about you any more.

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crazy-legs [870 posts] 3 years ago
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Colin Peyresourde wrote:

The thing that always got to me about him was the fiction he created about his amazing drug free comeback from cancer. What he did was above and beyond what anyone else was doing and he was rewarded above and beyond anyone else. Now he is being legally pursued above and beyond anyone else.

What goes around comes around.

Short of not actually doing any cycling, he had no real choice. A journo says "are you doping?" what does he (or anyone else) say?
"Oh yes, of course I am Mr Journo, didn't you know we all do it?!"
"No, of course not"

And you can attribute answer number 2 to pretty much every cyclist, indeed pretty much every athlete, who's ever been caught.

It's just that once you start lying, the lies have to get bigger, you have to defend those lies, one lie leads to another and the whole thing is actually a house of cards; one wrong move and the whole deck collapses.
There's an interesting 4-part interview with LA over on the cyclingnews website. Regardless of your thoughts on LA, it's worth a read, as is the chapter in Cav's new book (At Speed, out now) which deals with Cav's thoughts on Lance, on doping, on the media attention it gets.

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SteveAustin [41 posts] 3 years ago
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If he hadn't been doing it, someone else would have been. You have to go way down the results to see any clean riders in the years Lance was riding. The whole sport is tainted, and has been for many years, and its a bit daft to pin it all on Lance as some kind of sacrificial purge, whilst so many other riders drift off the back of the peleton they were a massive part of

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allez neg [496 posts] 3 years ago
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I think he's a unique case.

I can (sort of) understand how a lie on top of another lie on top of another lie left him a bit trapped in a spiral, but regardless of this he accepted the fame, plaudits and money shamelessly, and aggressively attacked anyone who doubted the myth.

He basically killed off Greg LeMond's bike company, as well as the character assasinations of Betsy Andreu, David Walsh and Emma O'Reilly.

Regardless of his personality (although being Dubya's buddy may not help here) I think the damage he's done should preclude him from playing ANY role in cycling and that no form of reconciliation should take place.

And he still owes me eight quid for that book of his that I was duped into buying.

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OldRidgeback [2769 posts] 3 years ago
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allez neg wrote:

I think he's a unique case.

I can (sort of) understand how a lie on top of another lie on top of another lie left him a bit trapped in a spiral, but regardless of this he accepted the fame, plaudits and money shamelessly, and aggressively attacked anyone who doubted the myth.

He basically killed off Greg LeMond's bike company, as well as the character assasinations of Betsy Andreu, David Walsh and Emma O'Reilly.

Regardless of his personality (although being Dubya's buddy may not help here) I think the damage he's done should preclude him from playing ANY role in cycling and that no form of reconciliation should take place.

And he still owes me eight quid for that book of his that I was duped into buying.

+1

The fact that he wrecked the lives of so many others who did speak out with his ferocious legal attacks means I have no sympathy for him at all. He was not the only cyclist doping but he was certainly the only one to use such a wide ranging programme of heavy-handed legal measures to quell any negative comments prior to his unmasking as a liar and a cheat.

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zanf [919 posts] 3 years ago
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OldRidgeback wrote:

but he was certainly the only one to use such a wide ranging programme of heavy-handed legal measures to quell any negative comments prior to his unmasking as a liar and a cheat.

Even just straight up physical intimidation....

Quote:

Stage 10 occurred on July 14 and was from Sestrieres to Alpe d'Huez. Nobody had been talking to him. The entire peloton planned to ride slow for the first 100km without telling him. Bassons only heard about this because a mechanic from his team told him. Bassons decided he was "fed up" and decided to ride ahead of the others ("attacked from the start"). As they came to a flat spot, "all of the teams rode together to close me down". As the teams rode by him, they stared at him.

" . . . and then Lance Armstrong reached me. He grabbed my by the shoulder, because he knew that everyone would be watching, and he knew that at that moment, he could show everyone that he was the boss. He stopped me, and he said what I was saying wasn't true, what I was saying was bad for cycling, that I musn't say it, that I had no right to be a professional cyclist, that I should quit cycling, that I should quit the tour, and finished by saying [*beep*] you. . . . I was depressed for 6 months. I was crying all of the time. I was in a really bad way." - Bassons, from BBC Radio 5, 2012 10 15

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arfa [848 posts] 3 years ago
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I feel no personal grudge against LA but understand why plenty do. I feel sorry for those who were trying to compete clean, names probably largely forgotten now.
There is an irony in a man facing legal ruin having been so willing to use the law when the boot was on the other foot - live by the sword, die by the sword comes to mind.
I am coming around to Cav's view, ie move on and write off the past. However I doubt that LA's past behaviour is going to allow this to happen.

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farrell [1946 posts] 3 years ago
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It wont be a popular thing to say but Armstrong is correct, he hasn't been treated fairly.

You either ban everyone involved for the same length of time, rather than giving people reductions for grassing other people up *after* they were caught/retired or you have to give Armstrong the same reduction in sentence.

UCI and ASO had Froome on the podium in Paris with the guests of honour being Hinault and Indurain for being multiple winners whilst Armstrong is being written out of history? Really? Other than their personalities, and possibly nationalities, what have they done differently?

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Will Steed [48 posts] 3 years ago
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The last two comments sum it up. If he wasn't such a bully towards colleauges and others that he sued I might feel a bit sorry for him. But as he such a horrid, bullying human being I feel nothing. I hope hes sued for every dime he has and that this never happens again to cycling.

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MrGear [86 posts] 3 years ago
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"Not been treated fairly"? What does he know about playing fair?

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MrGear [86 posts] 3 years ago
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farrell wrote:

It wont be a popular thing to say but Armstrong is correct, he hasn't been treated fairly.

You either ban everyone involved for the same length of time, rather than giving people reductions for grassing other people up *after* they were caught/retired or you have to give Armstrong the same reduction in sentence.

UCI and ASO had Froome on the podium in Paris with the guests of honour being Hinault and Indurain for being multiple winners whilst Armstrong is being written out of history? Really? Other than their personalities, and possibly nationalities, what have they done differently?

It's a fair comment. Maybe they should just bin the entire list of TDF winners up until 2011? Wipe the slate clean. I'm not sure if I'm joking or not myself.

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William Black [193 posts] 3 years ago
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MrGear wrote:

It's a fair comment. Maybe they should just bin the entire list of TDF winners up until 2011? Wipe the slate clean. I'm not sure if I'm joking or not myself.

If the UCI were to wipe the slate clean you'd have to do it from 2014 otherwise they would be the judge and jury saying that they are currently assuming Wiggins and Froome were clean.

It's fairly clear with Contador and the Shlecks recently getting caught and this year Sylvain Georges and Danilo Di Luca being at it that the sport still isn't totally clean.

Personally I don't think they should wipe the slate clean, they should just give the race to the guy that came last, he was either doing it clean or his team weren't that well clued up on doping.

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Rigobear [93 posts] 3 years ago
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Hear hear, he loved the lawyers when they were doing his dirty work making him money.
Is he being made a special case, yes because he is a SPECIAL CASE!

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Colin Peyresourde [1812 posts] 3 years ago
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I don't really accept that because he made such a big thing about his cancer. He used it as a screen for those that questioned him. He used it for self-promotion and self-aggrandizement. He didn't have to do that. In fact, out of respect to other cancer sufferers he could have been so much more modest. But he actually used and abused that angle for his own ends so I refute your response CrazyLegs. He, more than anyone else played that card. He made the lie about drugs in sport into something bigger (ie it wasn't just about cheating/competing, it was about life itself).

I read lots of things about Lance and from Lance. I have no sympathy for Lance. He just continues to show what a user he is, so don't patronise me. I've heard what Cavendish thinks too. He just wants it to go away because that suits him. And I don't really care for that because he would like to bury it all in a small forgotten field. Sports has a problem with drugs and burying is not going to help. It just means riders don't have to soul search and answer difficult questions.

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sorebones [139 posts] 3 years ago
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farrell wrote:

It wont be a popular thing to say but Armstrong is correct, he hasn't been treated fairly.

You either ban everyone involved for the same length of time, rather than giving people reductions for grassing other people up *after* they were caught/retired or you have to give Armstrong the same reduction in sentence.

UCI and ASO had Froome on the podium in Paris with the guests of honour being Hinault and Indurain for being multiple winners whilst Armstrong is being written out of history? Really? Other than their personalities, and possibly nationalities, what have they done differently?

Armstrong had his opportunity to be treated equally (or at least to cut some form of deal), but he refused to cooperate with the USADA and instead perpetuated his lies and attempted to get the investigation / USADA shut down instead using his political influence. He has zero right now to complain that the treatment of athletes was unequal when he refused to be a part of the process and come clean.

I can understand to a degree why he did not cooperate - the legal ramifications for him are huge given the lies he has told and the lawsuits he brought. However, he brought about this situation himself through bullying and threatening anyone who he considered opposed him, and this is what differentiates him from other riders.

I have a huge amount of sympathy with riders of this generation, they entered a world where completing clean simply did not appear to be an option. Armstrong's attempts to destroy the reputation and careers of others is what sets him apart. That's not even to go into how he amassed a personal fortune through the Livestrong brand and then used cancer as a shield to hide behind

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GrouchoBlondini [4 posts] 3 years ago
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What goes around comes around, baby. Actually on balance I think the outcome for him is entirely fair, for all the reasons outlined above. He was happy to dish it out, and now it has come back to bite him.

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Malaconotus [104 posts] 3 years ago
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William Black wrote:

they should just give the race to the guy that came last, he was either doing it clean or his team weren't that well clued up on doping.

Errr.... Like three time winner of the lanterne rouge Wim Vansevenant?... http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/omega-pharma-lotto-cuts-ties-to-vansevenant

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Mombee [84 posts] 3 years ago
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He cheated and bullied his way into a fortune and level of influence that he didn't deserve... pre-cancer he was an OK, but unspectacular rider, who could have served his career in the peleton and had a decent retirement, but there was nothing in his stats to suggest that he could have achieved seven TDF wins without doping. And the doping programme around Lance seems to have been head-and-shoulders above the other teams, even above other riders on his team (if the stories are to be believed about the Lance Inner Circle).
So, if Lance had been doping on a level playing field and hadn't so viciously attacked potential critics in life changing ways, then maybe, just maybe, we'd have some time for his claims and ongoing appeals for clemancy... but his cheating was on a different level to everyone else who was doing it... so he must be dealt with differently.
To be fair to Lance, I think that there are definitely others who were implicit in his doping (within his inner circle and in the UCI), who should also be dealt with similarly harshly, so hopefully then he won't feel as though he's being treated so unfairly then... maybe some UCI officials banned for life and chased for compensation?

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shay cycles [385 posts] 3 years ago
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Of all the dopers this one man gained the highest rewards for his doping.

It seems only proper that he should now be paying the highest price.

Simples!  1

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jdstrachan@yaho... [52 posts] 3 years ago
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Two names to respond to his claim of unfairness....

Filippo Simeoni
Christophe Bassons

Now go f*** yourself you bullying, manipulative, scare mongering scum.

You are a CANCER of the sport. You even cheated cancer survivors who believed in you. I cannot put into words the disgust I feel for your sorry arse. Crawl away and leave us alone you tumour  14 102

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allez neg [496 posts] 3 years ago
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Alternatively, he should stop fucking whinging and just be happy to be alive and healthy.

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jdstrachan@yaho... [52 posts] 3 years ago
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In addition to the above, as some have pointed out that "he was only doing what everyone else was doing"...

Was everyone else bullying and threatening journalists, soigneurs, riders, friends, family etc? No not the way he did, and NO ONE else profited the way he did.

He gets treated exceptionally because he behaved exceptionally.

Jog on Armstrong

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Tom Amos [236 posts] 3 years ago
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I'm interested in the fact he's sold his house. I'm guessing but I would imagine he's trying to settle as many lawsuits as possible and if he can't, he'll declare bankruptcy. Meanwhile, his remaining investments well be in third party bank accounts or similar.

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Stumps [3470 posts] 3 years ago
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I agree with Farrell on this one, he has not, compared to other cheats, been dealt with fairly BUT he has brought it all on himself.

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step-hent [724 posts] 3 years ago
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The man is hilarious, but he also has some good PR people. Most people won't buy this spiel this time round, but it's a process that will be repeated, particularly if he contributes to a truth and reconciliation process. Eventually, public opinion on him will soften a bit, and then a bit more, and he might stand a chance of making some money again.

As for fairness - as others have pointed out, it depends if you take account just of his doping (in which case the punishment is not consistent with others) or of the massive profits he made from it, and his brutal approach to those who tried to out him. With all that taken account of, it seems pretty fair, to be honest.

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