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Surprise! Lance Armstrong Drops Drug-Testing Program as Too Hard, Too Expensive

roadskater's picture

First, let me say, I want to hear from anyone who believes Lance rode clean for 7 TdF wins. I'd like to believe. I love believing. So let me know what you think if you like, even if you think I am totally wrong!

And don't get me wrong. That Livestrong thing is awesome. Now to begin...

Ahh. I get it. I have to say I was skeptical about Lance's testing program, but it appeared he had hired a reputation (I mean someone with a great reputation) who would administer the program scrupulously. Now, it turns out, maybe that was the problem? 

How do you come back when there are nagging doubts? How do you join a team scandalized by doping and claim to be clean? How do you go back to Johan Bruyneel's camp without creating too much buzzkill for your rep? 

You say you'll have a totally transparent program with a website with all the results posted daily, and a program administered by someone whose reputation is way cleaner than almost any pro cyclist's could be. 

Then, once you're past all the early stages of doubt and potentially tricky publicity, you just say, oh, too hard, too expensive, too confusing to the uneducated cycling fans out there, all that. 

I would have been fine with Lance coming back and winning and me simply doubting he was clean. I would also have thought it awesome if he had come back WITHOUT mixmaster Bruyneel and Astana. After all, Bruyneel is a careful talker like a Nixonite looking for plausible deniability in this quote...

I never tested positive during my 12-year pro racing career (during which I won two stages of the Tour and wore the yellow jersey once - as well as rode off a hundred-foot cliff during one of the race's most spectacular crashes). No cyclist has ever tested positive for illegal drugs while riding for my team.


Bruyneel doesn't say nobody doped. Nobody tested positive. That's pretty clear sport talk to me. If you don't get caught you haven't cheated. It's the rules of the game. 

But Lance said he was going to do it to prove to us how clean he was, to help fight cancer, and of course to keep the spotlight on him for more than just dating rock stars, movie stars and child stars. Having done that he joined up with a team noted for doping violations and a leader noted for doping violations and got settled in.

Remember how many former domestiques have failed tests after leaving his team? Yes there are several possible interpretations, but I take it that they just weren't in a program as well-cloaked as that led by Bruyneel. I have no proof, just ideas, and I'm really not one to think people are cheating. But "Another One Bites the Dust" rings in my ears when I hear of the former Lance-workers, and others Google up on a search too...

But it hardly seems a stretch to point out that Beltran is the fifth rider to share one or more Armstrong triumphs and later either test positive or admit doping.

The rogues' gallery: another Spaniard, Roberto Heras, and U.S. riders Tyler Hamilton, Floyd Landis and Frankie Andreu.

Armstrong, it must be said, never was sanctioned for a positive doping test.

Of course, he did test positive for a corticosteroid during his first triumph, in 1999, but that result conveniently went away after he produced a therapeutic use exemption for the drug -- although that paperwork allegedly was backdated.


So people more knowledgeable than myself seem to be having similar doubts. For an update and follow-up on his piece above, see Philip Hersh again...

It's just that Armstrong made such a big deal of Catlin's role during the New York press conference announcing his return to competition -- and again at a cycling trade show in Las Vegas a day later -- that it seems pretty hypocritical to have the deal end before it began.

It actually has been unraveling for a month. In the beginning, Armstrong said he would be so transparent that the Catlin test results would be posted on a website. Then, at the Tour Down Under in January, he skimmed back on the website idea, saying the uninformed public might misinterpret scientific data.  And he also said the Catlin program had yet to get up and running.


Also see, with comments, http://www.europeloton.com/2008/07/another-lance-armstrong-domestique.html

So Lance is the 7-time-consecutive Tour de France champ and what he did was amazing even if doped. I grant that. Just one ride through the grass down a hill in France could have ended it, and so many other incidents. But Lance wanted us to believe he did it all clean.

I don't believe that any more. Not that he needs me to. But if he did, well, then he has enough money to fix any shortage of ability to get around complications, hassles, lack of any service, anywhere. He knew what it would be like before he made his claims. It's not like he hasn't cycled on a team or trained outside the USA before. 

So I'm back to hoping he does great. If he wins, yay USA, nervously. If he dopes I hope he gets caught. If he doesn't win I'll take that to be because he can't dope and win, not that he's older.

But the sad part is that now I am wondering more about Levi than I ever have, considering the old birds of a feather fly together verbomb my grandma would have dropped at this point were this a conversation with her.

Of course she also said "Don't take it so hard. It might not be true."

Why do I care about pro cycling? Why can't I just consider it pro wrestling and be done with it? 

Armstrong's drug-testing program scrapped - The Associated Press -


Armstrong's drug-testing program scrapped
The Associated Press - 59 minutes ago When the seven-time Tour de France winner announced his comeback, he said he wanted to prove he was clean by getting anti-doping expert Don Catlin to test ...
Armstrong’s Testing Plan Ends Before it Begins New York Times
Lance Armstrong Abandons Anti-Dope Testing Before It Begins FanHouse
Don Catlin and Lance Armstrong part ways BikeRadar.com
Globetrotting - Chicago Tribune Blog - The Associated Press
all 190 news articles
[Tour de France & More]


MikeB's picture

Innocent until proven guilty

It must be believed Lance is clean unless proven otherwise. For him to win 7 TdFs and have done so by cheating...well that would take a pretty large coverup. He has too many detractors, too many unbelievers hounding him and results. I just think something concrete would have surfaced by now. Plus coming back opens a whole new chapter of scrutiny. The risk to his reputation and accomplishments is too great if he's juicing. Right? I can't bring myself to think he's cheated. Then again, if he's doping then he duped this dope.
roadskater's picture

That's How I Felt for So Long

MikeB I love that you believe in Lance! I wish I could say so still and be honest. I have no proof. It's not really like Lance has an entirely clean slate. There are a couple of shadows of doubt at least...physical ones...even if explained away. And a string of former domestiques for Lance showing up later as dopers. Sure, maybe they just started after leaving Lance. But that's not what got me. I was seeing Lance with Basso and Ullrich on the podium, then finding next year they were implicated in the Operación Puerto investigation and banned before he 2006 tour. Sure, maybe they were not doping when he beat them, then they decided to start doping after he was no longer in the competition? If they were doping, and they are the best in the world beside Lance, do you think he beat the other bests in the world who were doping, but while he was clean? It was hearing his great praise of Vinokourov, then Floyd Landis, too. When Bjarne Riis admitted he did it, that was another click of the ratchet for me. Lance can be a hero for doing great things for cancer and for beating all dopers 7 times, because that's amazing even when someone's doping. But I don't need to believe he did it seven times clean. He does. He needs his sponsors to. So while I am truly sorry. I don't think he beat all those dopers without doping. I think he didn't get caught. I think he was the champion, along with the help of Bruyneel, of controlling every fine detail of the task of training, nutrition, health, accident avoidance, and winning seven tours without getting detected when getting the same boosts others were getting. It's just what I think, and like I said I believed Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton too at first. Then when Lance came back with his testing program, OK, that looked like it might end up being legitimate at first, even if he was paying the check. But now that's gone. I hope I'll never find out I was right, but that's what dopers and deniers know about us. We'll cling desperately to our perception of the purity of our heroes. Looks like Tour of California will be sweet. Starts on Valentine's Day so how could anyone suspect anyone there of impure motives?
timv's picture

"Begging the queston"

After all, Bruyneel is a careful talker like a Nixonite looking for plausible deniability in this quote... I never tested positive during my 12-year pro racing career (during which I won two stages of the Tour and wore the yellow jersey once - as well as rode off a hundred-foot cliff during one of the race's most spectacular crashes). No cyclist has ever tested positive for illegal drugs while riding for my team.

It makes my teeth hurt whenever I hear a public speaker use the expression "begs the question" when he or she means "prompts the question" or "raises the question." But there is a perfect textbook example of what "begging the question" really means. Several of them, in fact. Just what does surviving a 100-foot fall off a cliff have to do with whether or not Bruyneel doped during his cycling career? Precisely nothing! For that matter, pointing out that he won two stages of the Tour and wore the yellow jersey would actually make it more likely and not less likely, all else being equal, that he was a dirty competitor.

No comment intended on the his and Lance's legitimacy, although like you I have my doubts. That's mostly a language/logic thing for me.

And then there's "gingerly" ...


roadskater's picture

Lance Gets the Attention He Needs Once Again

I was going to write something about this whole USADA/Lance Armstrong thing, but it seems I already did. I can't believe Lance. 

Of course, he doesn't care about those who've given up believing him, but those who still pay him. He needs to worry about contracts, sponsors, money, image...and the legal and other consequences of admitting any form of doping. 

I still believe Bruyneel is the key to a generation of cyclists, successful while with him. Guys who get caught don't get caught while he's with the team. They get caught when he's away from the team, or they've moved to another team and they think they can do it without the mixmaster. I have no evidence, just beliefs. Sorry about that. 

But for the first time ever, it begins to feel like all this will come out.

People can hate those who implicate Lance one by one, and they can say how unfair it is, as if an enormous lie doesn't matter if you wait long enough. 

But if George speaks, and Levi, we'll see what people say then: "Oh, they all did it." As if it changes a big lie to be OK if you're the biggest liar. 

If I have to believe something, I choose to believe that someone finished each of those Tours de France clean. I have no idea who. But I'd rather believe that than believe that Lance beat 7 years of the best cycling dopers 7 times in a row...all while being perfectly clean. 

Really, what Lance did and still does is amazing! But I still don't believe it was or even is clean.

For me, Lance Armstrong is the Richard Nixon of pro cycling. Not everything he did was bad. But he needed us to believe, and perhaps he needed to believe, in his purity. 

When all the sponsorships are gone and the money dries up, wait for the book tour, the Frost-like interviews, and a few morsels of insignificant truth to sell books and movie rights. Then after a bunch of people are dead, some fragmented puzzle pieces of the truth will seep out.

Or after it truly no longer matters, perhaps when Lance needs attention more than purity, he'll weave tales of the old days when he ruled the world the perfect number of times and was the dreamweaver of post-9/11 patriotic magic for the good ol' USA. 

Some interesting reading, right or wrong, linked below. Read about the shower, the coffee time, the prescription, for starters. Repeating that he never failed a drug test or never had a positive does not make it true. 


And somewhat related, see "Paging Doctor Ferrari"...


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