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Tour de France

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One despairs of the thought process of some people in authority. They will believe the unsubstantiated testimony of a handful of untrustworthy people but ignore the hard evidence of over 500 tests which failed to show he had ever taken a banned substance. I think Armstrong takes the view that no matter what the evidence says, he isn't going to win his case and it is simply not worth several more months or even years of legal wrangling, preparing cases, being constantly questioned and the subject of speculation. I think and hope that he is at peace with himself. He knows the truth and knows what he has achieved. The same strength of character which led him to his remarkable achievement is now allowing him move on and I, for one, admire him for that.

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Without prejudice to the Armstrong scenario, the Tour de France has been seriously tarnished by rampant drugs corruption for decades - which is a shame for such a major event on the world stage. Drugs are a major problem throughout sport but unfortunately the Tour seems to have been among the worst affected events.

But what is mystifying me is how the American drugs people can take it upon themselves to strip someone of a victory which took place in a completely different country and under the banner of the UCI, the world body for cycling who should presumably have the sole right to do this.

I have to say there's more than a little hint here of another example of American presumption of world dominance.

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One despairs of the thought process of some people in authority. They will believe the unsubstantiated testimony of a handful of untrustworthy people but ignore the hard evidence of over 500 tests which failed to show he had ever taken a banned substance. I think Armstrong takes the view that no matter what the evidence says, he isn't going to win his case and it is simply not worth several more months or even years of legal wrangling, preparing cases, being constantly questioned and the subject of speculation. I think and hope that he is at peace with himself. He knows the truth and knows what he has achieved. The same strength of character which led him to his remarkable achievement is now allowing him move on and I, for one, admire him for that.

Firstly, the 'people in authority' are the USADA who are the people responsible for ensuring that US sports are clean so they are just doing their job, same as when athletes such as Marion Jones, Justin Gatlin etc. got busted. Surely it's clean sports we want.

Second the mantra that keeps getting repeated about 500 tests is just that - an irrelevant mantra. Unfortunately the drug cheats are ahead of the testers and have been for years. The fact is that in cycling, most of the other riders who have been busted were also 'clean' according to the tests and have since confessed. So clean tests actually mean nothing. It's hard to test for blood doping for example, and the test for EPO (I understand) didn't exist/wasn't effective. Jones, Chambers et al. only got busted when someone leaked - they'd also passed tests.

Thirdly, the 'unsubstantiated testimony of untrustworthy people'. Well in our courts that's usually exactly how drug dealers are tried and convicted. And the testimony is from his own teammates - a dozen or so of them who have testified as to sytematic blood doping etc. I'm not sure why these people are any more untrustworthy than someone who's more incentive to lie about it. And of course it is Armstrong who's decided not to subject these testimonies to cross-examination etc. Most likely his lawyers have advised him he didn't have a prayer. The charges are very very damning and frankly I'm amazed that so many people think they shouldn't be properly investigated.

http://www.usada.org/media/sanction-armstrong8242012

Given that just about every other rider who finished on the podium on those 7 tours has been found to have doped, it's not credible that Armstrong wasn't doing it as well. Now that the tests have been beefed up, riders like Cadel Evans and Bradley Wiggins who are believed to be clean are able to win, but at average speeds that are significantly less than in the previous 2 decades - that tells its own story.

  • Agree 2

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Good post MarkD. Off the top of my head, Marco Pantani, David Millar, Jan Ullrich never failed drug tests but were all doping. As for the testimony if it was one person, say Floyd Landis, then it could be written off as sour grapes or a poor loser. However, it's ten people, who were testifying under oath, presumably without knowledge of what the others were saying. There was also due to be analysis of blood samples that Armstrong gave on the 2009 and 2010 Tours, which didn't have drugs in them but displayed signs of doping, which has been used to ban people in the past - I believe this is what lead to Contadors ban.

The reason that Armstrong has given up on this is he knows that if he goes to a hearing the testimony, the blood tests will be aired in public and his image (which has made him millions of dollars) will take a battering. As it is he can fall back on the 'wtich-hunt' line and retain support and prestige.

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I agree 100% with the previous two posters. Armstrong was the main man in the late 90s/early 2000s, leading a team which was extremely good at controlling the media, many of whom had severe doubts about the legitimacy of his victories. I don't believe that up to a dozen people would now be prepared to perjure themselves in court just to prove him guilty. If he was clean he'd carry on fighting. It seems that drug cheats were able to outsmart the testers then, and perhaps even nowadays, in many sports.

Edited by Caley Mad In Berks

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Fabian Cancellara wins the prologue, Bradley Wiggins second.

When is the Armstrong verdict due, that could overshadow the Tour if he's convicted during the race.

The US authorities have again investigated Armstrong for the last 2 years and have no intention of prosecuting him. He is now being hounded by the US sports authorities based on the testimony of a number of confirmed liars and former drugs cheats that the American legal system decided were in all probability based on jealousy.

He has been tested in excess of 500 times during his career and has never been positive.

He was always a phenomenal engine from when he first started racing and incredibly motivated. If he is ever proven to have been a cheat then he must have had the very best chemists in the world in his employ, because the testing systems declare a positive in the event that any masking agent is found

All that will be revealed about him during this Tour de France I suspect will be further innuendo.

Oh well. Armstrong hasn't contested the charges and will likely have all his titles since 1998 stripped.

As far as I am aware the USADA has the authority to act up to 8 years in arrears. Looks like the reason Armstrong hasn't contested their charges is because he doesn't get a chance to contest any of the "evidence"

The other thing is that Armstrong has never failed a test in his career and the UCI and Tour de France are the only bodies who can strip him of any titles he has previously won. USADA CEO is without doubt pursuing a personal vendetta, as no other body has found proof of wrong doing, and they have all investigated. Potentially a huge lawsuit is heading towards the Travis Tygart the USADA CEO, where he will get the opportunity to justify his actions under normal legal regulations.

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As far as I am aware the USADA has the authority to act up to 8 years in arrears. Looks like the reason Armstrong hasn't contested their charges is because he doesn't get a chance to contest any of the "evidence"

The other thing is that Armstrong has never failed a test in his career and the UCI and Tour de France are the only bodies who can strip him of any titles he has previously won. USADA CEO is without doubt pursuing a personal vendetta, as no other body has found proof of wrong doing, and they have all investigated. Potentially a huge lawsuit is heading towards the Travis Tygart the USADA CEO, where he will get the opportunity to justify his actions under normal legal regulations.

Armstrong had taken the USADA to court in the US and lost. The US anti-doping agency is responsible for handing out doping bans to US athletes. The UCI (who are thick as thieves with Armstrong) have to abide by the anti-doping agencies, they are signed up to WADA, who are the overall body for drug testing in all Olympic and paralympic sports, including cycling. If the UCI don't strip him then they will be failing to implement the WADA code, that would be a huge infraction. I don't doubt that the UCI will try anything to stop him being stripped but they are in a corner with this.

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I posted about this on another forum:

Armstrong was allowed to get away with what was going on because he was such a huge star, he was the biggest cyclist on the planet, probably the biggest star in the history of the sport. He was tight with the UCI (failed tests 'vanished', frozen positive tests dismissed, straight positive tests discarded after personal donations from LA) and they made a fortune from him. The thought process is pretty easy to understand - he isn't doing anything that other people aren't doing, there's no harm in covering up the test, it's for the greater good. What that mentality does though is normalise doping in the sport. The quote from Floyd Landis in the Paul Kimmage Observer article sums it up - If I wait long enough I'll have the chance to win without doing this [doping]', but there was no scenario in my mind where in my lifetime I was going to get a chance to race the Tour and win clean.. That's the logical result of giving Armstrong the benefit of the doubt.

From reading about the case it seems obvious what's happened - Armstrong doesn't want his day in court because rider after rider will declare, on oath, that they saw Armstrong doping, the test results will be brought up and analysed and the whole world, rather than just some cycling geeks, will hear testimony like that in the link that TSAR posted earlier in thsi thread. Doing this, that evidence won't be heard (unless it's leaked, get Assange onto it) and he can claim that it's bitter cheats and tampered samples.

It is interesting what Kimmage says about Contador, Wiggins etc not making comment. I'd guess that they just don't want to talk about doping because it reinforces the image in the general sporting publics mind that cycling is a sport for dopers and that they are just lucky for not getting caught (well in Wiggins case as Contador has already been caught but you know).

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I know Brad Wiggins personally and have no doubt whatsoever that he is clean. Proof is there in the slower average speeds in the tour in recent years. Also in the manner of his win this year, which utilised his team to the full. He was dominant in the Time Trials and clearly strong but one paced in the mountains, but that is his style of climbing.

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He did have some of the best chemists in the world. He also had UCI in his back pocket and was able to effectively intimidate cycling for years. But he cheated in an era when all riders in the pro peleton cheated. Take away his titles and who do you give them to? Let Armstrong go away and place the rock back carefully. There's nothing to see under there that's any good to anyone.

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Totally torn with this decision.

On one hand. He cheated. For years I had gone along with his stories and just thought it was a miracle come-back from cancer. It now looks, beyond all doubt, that he systematically used drugs to enhance his performance.

On the other he has done a huge amount of good in the way that he raised money and has provided lots of hope and insperation of sufferers within the cancer community. For the people suffering with Cancer and looked up to Lance I wish they'd left him alone.

My heart wishes that it's all been left alone. After all there are plenty of riders that never admitted to doping but will be left with the honours and victories gained while doping.

My head says that he cheated and should be stripped of everything.

At the end of the day I firmly believe that cycling is a much cleaner sport now. There will always be the tempation to cheat to get ahead of your rivals. This happens in every sport. I do have to wonder if the people who make up the route also added to the problem. They made the routes so tough that some riders felt the only way they could get through it was to get 'extra' help.

Cycling is one of, if not the, hardest sport to compete in. Hats off to anyone who races at any level.

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Unlike the above poster, I'm not torn at all with the decision. He and his team systematically cheated for years. He does not deserve to keep any trophies, including the TDF, which he won while a cheat.

I don't deny that he has raised lots for cancer charities. So do lots of ordinary folk every day.

No sympathy for him.

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On the other he has done a huge amount of good in the way that he raised money

Also known as "The Jimmy Savile Defence" :amazed:

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On the other he has done a huge amount of good in the way that he raised money

Also known as "The Jimmy Savile Defence" :amazed:

Ooooooft! harsh, but true

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Hold on a minute....Armstrong has never failed a test in his life (as far as I can tell) despite being the most tested athlete of all time. If the alleged doping was happening, and happening to the extent that some would have us believe then how is that possible?

Something is not right in all this. Either a blind eye was being turned at the time and testing was not being undertaken in the manner it should have been...or this investigation has set out determined to drag Armstrong down no matter what and the only way to achieve that was by creating a situation whereby so much smoke was generated then it becomes impossible for people to think there's no fire.

Innocent until proven guilty, IMO, and all they have is testimony which would struggle to stand up in a proper court of law on the basis that those providing it seem to have been offered leniency in dealing with their own crimes in return for them coming up with some stories about Armstrong....which makes them far from credible.

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Hold on a minute....Armstrong has never failed a test in his life (as far as I can tell) despite being the most tested athlete of all time. If the alleged doping was happening, and happening to the extent that some would have us believe then how is that possible?

Something is not right in all this. Either a blind eye was being turned at the time and testing was not being undertaken in the manner it should have been...or this investigation has set out determined to drag Armstrong down no matter what and the only way to achieve that was by creating a situation whereby so much smoke was generated then it becomes impossible for people to think there's no fire.

Innocent until proven guilty, IMO, and all they have is testimony which would struggle to stand up in a proper court of law on the basis that those providing it seem to have been offered leniency in dealing with their own crimes in return for them coming up with some stories about Armstrong....which makes them far from credible.

Don

It's possible because he had better chemists than the anti-doping authorities, he had better lawyers than them, he had political clout AND he had effectively bought the governing body (the UCI) The UCI have had a poisitive sample from Armstrong from years ago, which they suppressed. The code of silence that Armstrong and his contemporaries connived with throughout the 90's ensured that no one was going to break ranks. It's just bullying.This isn't smoke, by the way - it's a conflgration and as a cyclist it makes me puke.

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Maybe Davie, but none of that has been proven and it sets a very dangerous precedent if we're going to start basing judgement on what is, for now at least, nothing more than hype and hearsay.

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One of the common methods of cheating at that time was not chemicals but blood boosting. An athlete would have one or two pints of blood taken and put in storage till his body had replaced it. the stored blood would then be re-injected into his/her system. This increased the oxygen carrying blood cells in the body by up to 25% thus increasing the stamina capabilities of the muscles.

It was also a time when the chemists were producing masking agents quicker than the authorities could produce detection equipment.

Personally I believe that if Armstrong was clean throughout his competitive era then he would do all in his power to clear his name. As it is the balance of guilt sways very much towards him having used some unfair means to help him win.

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Maybe Davie, but none of that has been proven and it sets a very dangerous precedent if we're going to start basing judgement on what is, for now at least, nothing more than hype and hearsay.

Armstrong had the opportunity to challenge in court the 1000 or so pages of evidence including testimony from just about all his teammates and friends, but chose not to. The UCI is now, belatedly, considering this evidence. USADA has followed a process, it is Armstrong who decided not to follow it through, having tried to get it stopped in court and failed. Hearsay evidence is evidence like "I heard he'd done this". What is presented here is direct evidence from people who are saying "I saw him do this". That is not hearsay evidence.

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Maybe Davie, but none of that has been proven and it sets a very dangerous precedent if we're going to start basing judgement on what is, for now at least, nothing more than hype and hearsay.

You can download the report and see the evidence for yourself. Also, eyewitness testimony isn't hearsay.

In terms of cycling, the testing was easily circumvented. One example is EPO - there was no test for it during the 1990s and it took the Festina scandal (when a team car was found loaded with vials of EPO and other drugs) to accelerate moves to a test. When it was introduced, after years of research and work, it took Michele Ferrari minutes to work out how to beat it - he advised riders for uS Postal to inject 'microdoses' of EPO intravenously rather than subcutaneously. Also, the testing rules stated that riders couldn't be tested between 10pm-7am, so, as Tyler Hamilton said in his book, 10:01pm was a busy time of day for professional cyclists. The team doctors worked out how to reduce 'glowtime' when a postiive test would be returned and tailored the doses to that.

The cycling authorities also didn't want Armstrong caught - he was the biggest star in the history of the sport, broke cycling big time in the USA and generated millions in revenue for the UCI and sponsors. It's only through the intervention of outside agencies like USADA that lead to him being caught. Tyler Hamilton testified that during the Tour in the doping years he beat the best time for climbing Mont Ventoux his blood work showed abnormalities and he was taken aside and told to 'take it easy'.

Edited by ictchris

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I was listening to Armstrong's masseuse/drugrunner on the radio, explaining how riders always got at least 30 minutes notice that they were going to be tested, which gave them enough time to set up a drip and cleanse his system.

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