Armstrong drops fight against doping charges

Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by Bartelby, Aug 23, 2012.

  1. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    1. Is there or is there not an 8 year statue of limitation on doping? If there is, how can it be dismissed so easily?

    2. Many of the riders that will inherit those Tours (or a place in the podium) have themselves been confirmed to be involved in doping.

    Ullrich has acknowledged being a doper and was part of Operación Puerto. Zülle was in the Festina doping case. Beloki was in Operación Puerto. So was Basso. Klöden was accused of having received illegal blood transfussions at the Freiburg University Clinic. Dufaux, who would get a podium spot, was ejected from the Tour in 1998 with the Festina doping case, and later acknowledged having doped. Same thing with Moreau. Botero was in Operación Puerto. Hamilton also failed some drug tests. Armstrong’s 2 Dauphiné victories would go to Landis and Mayo, both official dopers. His Midi Libre would go to Igor González, also a doper. All of them are here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_doping_cases_in_cycling

    Is the USADA prepared to go after all these guys with the same zeal and strip them of those titles and podium spots as well? If so, would they then investigate the ones taking their place? How far?

    What this effectively means is merely a transfer of titles and podium spots from one alleged doper to a bunch of confirmed dopers.

    What a joke.
     
  2. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Probably because you are unaware of life's realities. You will do the same if the circumstances warrant it. Everytime someone drives 56 mph in a 55 mph zone, he is breaking the law and hence is a criminal.
     
  3. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    1. You need to look at the judgement and you'll see they followed all applicable rules.

    2. Its up to other associations to decide if places are reassigned.
     
  4. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    This is what the statute of limitation actually says and its only about the commencement of an action against an individual:


    ARTICLE 17: STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
    No action may be commenced against an Athleteor other
    Personfor an anti-doping rule violation contained in the Code
    unless such action is commenced within eight (8) years from
    the date the violation is asserted to have occurred.
     
  5. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    It's just a semantic point. Cheating can be used to refer to rule breaking. But it's more commonly used to refer to behaviors which confer an unfair advantage to a competitor. Insofar as Armstrong's competition in the big events was other dopers, then the deciding factor becomes something other than the doping, per se.

    Keep in mind that I've mentioned that I'm against the use of PEDs. I think it's a very sad state of affairs that men and women, in some sports, who want to compete cleanly and honestly find it almost impossible to do so.

    Unfortunately, the amorality of big business and big money rules, and the desire to win (or just the need to make a decent living) often trumps the desire to do it fairly.

    I have much more respect for the people who compete without the aid of PEDs than for the poeple who do.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2012
  6. FastFreddy

    FastFreddy Semi-Pro

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    Dope

    If you remember the French showed up without warning to test him. Lance said this dude was no tester and left the sight of the tester for more than 30 mins which should have failed him right then and there. At no point is the person beging tested allowed to leave. Lance passed all 500 test you know why? I know why because someone tipped him off 20-30mins ahead of time so he could prepare and beat the test



    It would be one thing if all they were up against was cutting-edge, chemistry lab wizardry, but dishwasher crystals and contact lens fluid?

    Athletes will go to mind-bending lengths in search of a competitive edge – and to cover up the various misdeeds that provide it.

    A decade ago, at a time when Lance Armstrong was terrorizing the rest of the Tour de France peloton, that sometimes meant riders craftily altering a urine sample with a dash of protease – an enzyme found in many household soaps and cleansers.


    By dabbing powder on one’s fingers and then urinating on them during a drug test, traces of synthetic erythropoietin – or EPO, a hormone that bolsters endurance – melted away.

    Other approaches weren’t quite as low-tech: urine replacement through a catheter, masking substances, blood and muscle-boosting drugs that were not yet commercially available.

    In the international cops-and-robbers game that pits bodies such as the World Anti-Doping Agency against a sophisticated and surprisingly vast netherworld of unscrupulous chemists and exercise doctors, it is accepted that dope cheats are generally a step or two ahead.

    But the testers are making steady progress – the protease dodge, for example, hasn’t worked for years.

    Among the biggest recent advances: Testing for human growth hormone, one of the more prevalent performance-enhancing substances, is now more refined than ever.

    And there is promising research on a test for gene doping, where it is theoretically possible to alter an athlete’s genetic code to increase red blood cell production or muscle mass.

    The main weapon in the battle against performance-enhancing substances in cycling and athletics – where their use has been rampant for decades – is the biological passport.

    The theory underpinning it is mostly statistical: Longitudinal analysis reveals more about an athlete’s body than intermittent testing, so blood chemistry is monitored over time.

    Earlier this year, the International Association of Athletics Federations banned veteran Portuguese distance runner Helder Ornelas for doping with only his blood profile as evidence; you don’t need to test positive any more to get caught.

    At the London 2012 Games, anti-doping authorities partnered with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline to unleash a testing regime that WADA head John Fahey called the most stringent in Olympic history – it nabbed nine athletes, including gold-medal winning women’s shot-putter Nadzeya Ostapchuk.

    But no test is foolproof.

    An article published this month in the British Journal of Medicine acknowledged the existence of techniques that skirt the current testing procedures, some researchers have suggested there are as many as 100 undetectable EPO variants.

    And the practice of micro-dosing – a series of small courses of testosterone, EPO, corticosteroids or growth hormones – is notoriously difficult to detect.

    Minnesota-based physiologist Dan Zeman, who has written on how people evade positive results, said there’s an ever-evolving variety of chemicals to disguise banned substances.“You’re looking for the masking agent, not the drug,” he explained. “It’s really a cat and mouse game of what to look for in the blood and urine.”

    Every time an agency such as WADA discovers and bans a technique – such as saline infusions to thin suspect blood, or a new substance such as AICAR, a slimming drug that dilates blood vessels, or SARM, which mimics testosterone – a substitute is quickly found. “There’s an awful lot of money for coming up with ways to get across the finish line first,” Mr. Zeman said.

    Antoine Vayer, a former team official for Festina, a cycling team dissolved after a doping scandal in the late 1990s, speculated in the French newspaper Le Monde that Mr. Armstrong likely managed to avoid positive results through a mix of subterfuge and careful use of micro-dosing.

    “He was just better at it than the others
     
  7. TennisLovaLova

    TennisLovaLova Hall of Fame

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    ^^^^ 100% agreed: no test is fullproof
    That's why the most important affairs, Festina and Vuelta cases, were police cases, with policemen going in hotels to find the drugs and bust the teams concerned.
    All the agencies and pro federations are fed by sponsors to allow doping or at least tolerate it and defend the runners. But it's really the police who made the difference when it mattered. Wiretapes, undercovers stuff etc
     
  8. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    Great post. I remember when reading 'Game of Shadows' about Bonds and Balco how the chemists were moving on to their next concoction as soon as they finished the previous one.
     
  9. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Yeah, that French unannounced test is the kicker here for Armstrong. I recall that - didn't they try to block the door as well?

    The thing about this case now is, as I said earlier, Armstrong played his best card because he had to - he's just conveniently dressed it up as him being over defending himself.

    By pulling the plug he's able to keep many of his supporters intact by preventing the public airing of all those witness's stories... if he'd gone ahead we would have heard the detailed testimony of these people saying, amongst other things, that they were instructed by Armstrong personally to use certain drugs and that they saw him handling them. With such crystal clear stories on it he would not be able to maintain quite the veneer he does. His corporate supporters wouldn't abide that - even if many still held the view he was clean.

    For that reason alone I think they should allow those people to tell their story still. Armstrong is banking on many people thinking it was a huge or somehow corrupt system as being out to get him - when in fact the character assassinations led by his inner circle over the past few years have been the astonishing twist to the saga.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2012
  10. adventure

    adventure Banned

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    There will always be people who ignore evidence. There's nothing you can do to convince them.

    I remember arguing with my classmates in high school: wrestling was real to me, dammit!

     
  11. Fearsome Forehand

    Fearsome Forehand Professional

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    Seems like the cycling equivalent of McCarthyism. Fail a drug test and name names to get a pass. No wonder Lance said F off. I don't blame him one bit.
    It will be interesting to see if he is actually stripped of his titles since it seems the USADA is sort of a whacky, renegade organization without a lot of credibility or authority.

    On its face, it also seems extremely unlikely to me that if LA was doing something against the rules, he would not do so secretly but rather tell every other pro cyclist exactly what to do in terms of beating drug testing. That just doesn't make any sense.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2012
  12. adventure

    adventure Banned

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    There is a code of silence among elite athletes: they cheat and they all agree not to rat each other out. Those who do face constant legal pressure from Team Lance, consisting of endless lawsuits for years on end.

    Even former champ Greg Lemond faced these intimidation tactics. It's not that difficult to figure out that Lance pressured Trek to drop the Lemond line of bikes from the Trek distributor ship. Which is too bad, since the Lemond bicycle line was an exceptionally well thought out and innovative line of bicycles. Geometry and frame materials were first rate.

    But Lance's clout led to the demise of Lemond's partnership with Trek. Lance also went after his masseuse and countless others.

    The combination of legal pressure, the peloton's equivalent of 'omerta' (blood oath of silence, no pun intended), and Lance's quite obvious arrogance and sociopathic inability to feel any remorse for his wrongdoing, led to his completely open abuse of PED's for years on end.
     
  13. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    You need to back the tractor up for a minute. It may come as a surprise but most of the world don't give two hoots about the US legal system which is actually a minority even amongst developed nations in the way they handle many legal situations. It is basically a pointless line of thinking to apply your legal principles to the anti-doping system. They don't adhere to many concepts you think sound fair or would make sense if the alleged crime was theft or murder or corporate fraud.

    The anti-doping system works by the onus on all competitors (in WADA covered sports - there are a few sports which don't go with them) to comply with the rules. They have agreed to be subject to the rules by virtue of entering any competition. Those rules, unlike most common legal concepts people relate to, can be changed by the powers-that-be as they wish. Continued participation in the sport is an automatic acceptance of the system, period.

    The anti-doping system has always maintained sample storage for future testing - in a similar way the police often retain DNA from crime scenes in case one day someone involved raises the attention of the system. Similarly, there is no statute of limitations. The difference is in sports they don't have to ask for your permission or wait for you to slip up in order to get a sample of your blood - you must supply it when they want.

    Armstrong has made it a decade-long sport of confusing the issue in the public domain - muddying the waters, obfuscating what has happened and framing issues in cleverly concise sound-bites which the layman can understand and sound plausible - despite them being irrelevant in the scheme of things.

    The fact that there are actually millions of idiots who think it's somehow unfair that samples he submitted years ago can be retested shows how big the gap in understanding is. Armstrong's legend survives because of that gap - it's why he pulled the pin, to usurp the chance of having a lengthy procession of people stand up and state under oath that he told them to take PEDs or that they saw him take them.

    He simply wouldn't survive so many pins in his balloon. He knows it and I am surprised the power-that-be haven't called his bluff and decided to continue with their testimony. After all what harm can it do to someone who is, as of now, technically already been assumed guilty?
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2012
  14. Sander001

    Sander001 Hall of Fame

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    You sure?

    What does that even mean?
     
  15. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    No.

    It means: Armstrong usurped the process by throwing the towel in. He says, and people think, it's because he couldn't be bothered fighting anymore but the much more likely reason is he doesn't want all the damaging testimony to make it into the public domain. I suggest they should let those people testify anyway. After all - if he's already banned and stripped of his titles, what more harm can it do to him? They can't exactly strip him of them twice.
     
  16. Sander001

    Sander001 Hall of Fame

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    I don't think him being stripped is official. Not yet anyway.
    And I think he even took part in a race this weekend.
     
  17. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    It's been coming forever. I know he doped, as they all did.

    He has a lot to lose if he straight up admits it, so I can see why he has taken this route. He's looking out for himself and others by just stepping back and letting it play out. Smart play by him.
     
  18. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    The UCI might take some legal action once they receive a written determination, but that would seem an odd move that would cause self-inflicted harm.
     
  19. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    That the US legal system is not universal is so true we can call it a truism.

    But it’s not clear to me why you think you need to bring that up.

    Because few would fail to notice that, while you correctly point out the lack of universality of the US legal system, what you are in fact defending as having universal scope is the findings and determinations of an organization, the USADA, which is even far more local, whimsical, idiosyncratic and even neurasthenic in its methods than the US legal system. In any case, people the world over are quite justified in supposing that the USADA cannot possibly have among its powers the ability to strip a cyclist from titles that were conferred to him by foreign organizations, like the title of Tour the France winner. And if many nations “don’t give two hoots,” as you put it, about the US legal system, then it’s not clear why foreign sports organizations like the Tour the France or the UCI, should give more than two hoots about the particular obsessions and vendettas of the USADA.
     
  20. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    Its because the UCI ceded powers indirectly to USADA, which administers WADA's anti-doping code, that it can punish Armstrong thus.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2012
  21. volleygirl

    volleygirl Semi-Pro

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    Have the tv networks contacted you yet? When you can sum up PED usage with a comparison like driving 56 in a 55, I can see you getting a big time job as a tv analyst.
     
  22. Sander001

    Sander001 Hall of Fame

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    On FoxNews

    [​IMG]
     
  23. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Do you even see the fallacy in your post? It isn't PED usage unless it is proven in a court of law. Otherwise we would all be in prison just because someone wants it.
     
  24. dParis

    dParis Hall of Fame

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    This USADA can't touch Armstrong's Tour de France titles, but the worthless media, from the locals all the way up to the biggest nationals, splash headlines and broadcast that he's been stripped of his titles.

    It's a good lesson for you kid's out there. Just because you saw it on the news, it doesn't make it true.
     
  25. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    Yes. I’d say this fits as a minor event in the history of obsessive personal persecutions. McCarthy is definitely up there in this tradition. So is Stalin, especially with his growing obsession about persecuting Trotsky all the way into Mexico. In that light, this chapter we have just seen could be viewed as the equivalent of the Moscow show trials in 1936-37, where they ALL confessed whatever was put in front of them to confess, except Trotsky himself, who was out of the country and was condemned in absentia. They botched the first attempt to kill him in May 1940, but eventually they hired a Mexican who did him in with an ice axe a few months later.
     
  26. Sander001

    Sander001 Hall of Fame

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    So what would the cycling equivalent be to an ice pick murder? Bending the spokes on the wheels? Letting the air out of the tires? Installing the handlebars in reverse!
     
  27. volleygirl

    volleygirl Semi-Pro

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    What??? Someone needs to notify Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon then because both of them were suspended for PED usage last week and not a dam thing was proven in a court of law.
     
  28. jonnythan

    jonnythan Professional

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    Courts have nothing to do with it.

    Melky and Bartolo both failed drug tests.
     
  29. volleygirl

    volleygirl Semi-Pro

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    Suresh said its not PED usage unless its proven in a court of law. I was just giving him 2 examples from just a week ago that proves he is wrong.
     
  30. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    This is character assassination, where the murder is metaphorical (at least for the moment). The final ice axe may take several forms, I would say the most effective will be a successful attempt to strongarm or, more likely, suborn the UCI into complete submission. If that fails, then bring them to arbitration and strongarm or suborn the TAS.

    The only fair and satisfying outcome to all this would be the UCI, and then the TAS, telling these goons to get lost in no equivocal terms.
     
  31. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Well, Lance hasn't.
     
  32. jonnythan

    jonnythan Professional

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    That's what I'm saying!
     
  33. Sander001

    Sander001 Hall of Fame

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    stolen from corsair

    Here's the answer: I don't know. You don't know either. More to the point, Travis Tygart, head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, doesn't know. That hasn't kept USADA from declaring Armstrong to be guilty of charges it has not proved in public, or to attempt to strip him of his seven Tour de France titles. (It's not yet clear that USADA has the latter authority.)

    And there lies what is, in fact, the nub of the matter. It shouldn't matter if you believe Armstrong doped in winning his titles. You should still be appalled, even frightened, by the character of the prosecution.


    Now, this is from the business section, not the sports section. It goes on to point out that since it is arbitration, and USADA writes the arbitration rules - and rewrites them retroactively if the rules work against them. - it is judge, jury and executioner. And it stacks the process against the athlete, bludgeoning them with financial costs and time. And I'm surprised they haven't tampered with the drug test results by now.

    Federal Judge Sam Sparks of Austin, Texas, who was asked by Armstrong to block USADA's case against him, found lots not to like about the agency's pursuit of the cyclist. He called USADA's charging document, a letter that listed Armstrong's purported doping violations, "so vague and unhelpful it would not pass muster in any court in the United States." The deficiency, he said, "is of serious constitutional concern."

    http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hiltzik-20120825,0,2080853.column
     
  34. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    I'd say all that is indeed scary, or at least pretty disgusting, though I don't expect a lynch mob to have any patience with what they considered technicalities once they've made up their mind.

    The more I look into this, the more it looks like a lynching. The usada IS acting like a kangaroo court, and the refusal of an accused to cooperate with such proceedings or acknowledge any authority by such a court is probably the only reasonable course of action.

    I liked this comment to a Forbes article on the matter (I've taken out the insults)

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/richkar...e-armstrong-quit-the-fight-to-hide-more-dirt/
    The USADA is a nonprofit organization. It is not a government entity. The witnesses could lie all they want and not risk being charged, as this would not be a court of law. This would have been an arbitration hearing ruled over and by the CEO of the USADA. No one would be in a court of law! Get your facts straight you ***. The USADA receives a government grant of $10 million a year, but is not governed by out government and can do whatever it wants to do. There would be no city, county, state or federal judge presiding over the arbitration hearing had it come to that. You are an *** that hasn’t done any research at all other than draw unfounded conclusions. Shame on Forbes for allowing you to report on a story you do not really know anything about. Go get your facts straight.

    http://www.theroar.com.au/2012/08/25/is-armstrong-plotting-to-take-down-the-usada/
    This investigation by the USADA has become much more of a personal attack against Armstrong that it is a policing of doping charges. Somewhere along the way, the cockiness of Lance Armstrong rubbed someone the wrong way in that organization and they have had a vendetta against him ever since.

    http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/sma...t-doping-charges-and-will-be-banned-for-life/
    Armstrong goes on to allege that USADA CEO Travis Tygart and FDA agent Jeff Novitzky are obsessed with “getting” Armstrong, a “big fish” to justify USADA’s existence—and the $10 million in federal funds it receives annually.
     
  35. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    Here is a press release by the UCI earlier this month (on the subject of USADA).

    http://www.uci.ch/Modules/ENews/ENewsDetails.asp?id=ODU0NA&MenuId=MTI2Mjc

    04.08.2012

    Following public statement made by USADA on the position of the UCI regarding the disciplinary proceedings it opened against six persons the UCI wants to clarify.

    After the Federal Department of Justice dropped its investigation into alleged doping fraud within the US Postal Cycling team, USADA continues to allege that such conspiracy took place indeed with the participants having committed the most serious doping offences over some fifteen years of time.

    When Floyd Landis formulated his accusations in an e-mail sent on 30 April 2010 to USA Cycling, a UCI member federation, the UCI asked several national federations to conduct investigations. This included USADA that was acting on behalf of USA Cycling.

    The UCI received no other information from USADA than that it opened disciplinary proceedings against six respondents on 12 June 2012.

    Three respondents were banned for life because they didn’t respond or didn’t respond in time to USADA’s letter of accusation. USADA refused to provide UCI with evidence that these respondents received the letter of accusation in due time. In any case it is a matter of fact that these respondents didn’t receive the case file with the alleged evidence that USADA claims to exist against them. Nevertheless USADA claims that these respondents have accepted to be banned for life. Yet it seems that these respondents were banned for life for not having reacted to a letter of USADA. Furthermore the evidence that USADA claims to exist against the respondents was not reviewed by a neutral instance.

    Likewise none of the other respondents have seen the evidence that USADA claims to have collected. Two of them are expected to file their defence by 15August 2012, yet still don’t know what is the evidence that USADA alleges to exist against them. It is amazing to see how USADA accuses the respondents of cover up whilst USADA refuses to reveal the evidence that it claims to exist.

    According to the World Anti-Doping Code and UCI’s Anti-Doping Rules that USADA claims to apply, the UCI is the authority having results management for this case. USADA claims that there are elements with vest results management authority in USADA, yet refuses to show what these elements are.

    For the UCI it is clear that USADA claims an authority that it does not have and uses procedures that violate basic principles of due process.

    The absence of any evidence that has been made available to the respondents and to the UCI, the fact that USADA has no results management jurisdiction in this case, the fact that USADA refuses to have its file assessed by an independent results management authority and the fact that USADA continues to claim in these circumstances publicly that a doping conspiracy has taken place indeed brings UCI to the conclusion that USADA has no respect for the rules and for the principles of due process. This raises great concern.

    The UCI wants that the case is judged according to the rules, upon facts established on the basis of sound evidence and by a neutral instance, including in the stadium of results management. The UCI wants that justice is done. Justice cannot be done by violating rules on jurisdiction, with files that have been kept secret so far and results management proceedings that are not fair.

    By having condemned the respondents in advance in public USADA has no option but to use all means to have its case pushed through. By having proclaimed itself as the representative of the millions who want to have a clean sport, USADA has made this case the one in which it cannot afford to lose its face or its very existence.

    This is not a sound basis for justice to be done, not to the respondents, not to the whole of athletes in the world and not to the world of sports as a whole.

    This is the reason why the UCI, although being the competent authority for this case, wants the case to be given in the hands of a third results management authority independent both from UCI and USADA.

    That authority has to decide whether there is enough evidence for the case to proceed and for the respondents to have a case to answer, even if ultimately the merits of any disciplinary proceedings should be judged by an independent body as well. Indeed due process is required also for results management in order to protect athletes and other persons from being dragged into disciplinary proceedings without sufficient basis and without respect for the applicable rules.
     
  36. Sander001

    Sander001 Hall of Fame

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    That is quite damning. I hope they're able to stick to their guns, not cave to external pressure and do the right thing by not accepting the unilateral, summary judgements of USADA.

    That last point in your previous post is what we've been speculating for a while now. They've seemed to turn up the heat, spreading the self-serving arms of their octopus since budget issues have surged government cutbacks.

    Thanks for posting these, glad to see some sanity here.
     
  37. fundrazer

    fundrazer Hall of Fame

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    Eh, I've already said numerous times how the UCI is corrupt. They'd rather protect their "clean sport" then actually bother to clean it up. But again, it is much cleaner than during the Armstrong era. Pat McQuack is a joke and needs to step down.

    Did anybody bother listening to the radio interview I posted earlier? It was actually quite interesting.
     
  38. Sander001

    Sander001 Hall of Fame

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    Considering past performance, you'll forgive me if I hesitate to affirm you.
     
  39. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    The important thing is not whether Armstrong is guilty or not. It is the abuse of power by a quasi-government body not subject to judicial oversight. For that alone, Armstrong deserves to keep his titles, even if he doped. It is a small problem compared to the abuse of power by a body receiving government aid.
     
  40. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    That statement by UCI was made only 3 weeks ago. It's pretty clear they are in open war, and I would not expect them to change now. The behavior they describe by USADA is beyond unacceptable. I can't believe people are actually defending this inquisitorial organization.

    There is a lot going on; the Usada seems to have recruited the French anti-doping agency to their case. The head of that agency came up today with the story that Armstrong was never caught because he commanded a wide system of control whereby he was always warned of a coming test at least 20 minutes in advance, which gave him time to do this and that manoever. This was all over the French and Spanish press today. See for example: http://tinyurl.com/9m7plf6 Even Sarkozy was supposed to have some hand in the deals. You can expect ANY form of BS from now on, any kind of fabrication offereed with no corroborating evidence of any kind. When all this is over, I hope some form of justice will prevail and the USADA be put in its rightful place: the trashbin.
     
  41. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    The people who're "convicting" him have said it's happening - I guess it's a matter of them to make their case to the people who run the Tour de France. As far as I understand sporting bodies are obliged to accept the word of drug bodies.

    So far as taking part in a race... Isn't he doing triathlons now? > different sport = probably a clean slate.
     
  42. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    Good article here (though I was never a fan of Armstrong, but I may still become one if this disgusting spectacle continues long enough)

    http://my-bicycle-and-i.co.uk/2012/an-auto-da-fe/

    [...] As for me I find the denouement of this whole sorry tale rather disquieting. I was a Lance fan for years, wanting very much to believe the fairytale success story of the young man who defied life threatening cancer to come back and win the world’s toughest sporting contest seven times on the trot. At the time, back then, the rumours of cheating seemed more the product of jealousy and an iconoclastic delight in tearing down, or trying to, a heartwarming success story. I liked his ghost-written book It’s Not About The Bike and if his character came across as rather *****ly, he also came across as driven, intensely focussed and fanatically competitive. I don’t think even his bitterest detractors would say he didn’t train incredibly hard or that he didn’t have an immense native talent (however he nurtured it).

    In that regard he seemed believable – an exceptional athlete, and an exceptional man, if not exactly a likable one. In the light of subsequent events, and the parade of confessions, investigations and aired dirty laundry we’ve all been treated to over the past couple of years, I am no longer a believer. There is just too much dirt flying around, too many of Lance’s old team mates have been busted and/or ‘fessed up for me to believe he alone raced clean all those years – and not only raced clean but was blithely unaware of all the cheating, doping and shooting-up going on around him. I just don’t see Lance as that much of an ingénue.

    So he played dirty – in a dirty game where it seems as though everybody was playing dirty. Do I care? Well, no, not exactly, not anymore, and not because I think his good works should outweigh the bad or that cheating doesn’t matter. It does. Or did. But seriously, where do you draw the line? And more importantly, when? The man has retired; he is no longer in the peloton. The most recent of the Tour victories he has forfeited occurred in 2005, seven years ago; the oldest dates back thirteen years, to 1999. That’s ancient history in an age of Twitter. And to whom do you award these vacated wins? Jan Ullrich? A list of Tour winners and podium finishers from 1996 to 2010 makes for some pretty dispiriting reading. That was a very dirty age.

    But was it any dirtier, one wonders, than the ages that preceded it? Lying, cheating and drug use at the Tour have been around for decades, almost from its inception, with quite a few former champions having (once safely in retirement) acknowledged using performance enhancing drugs during their careers. Are the authorities now going to open investigations into the golden eras of Merckx and Anquetil? And what of Tommy Simpson? He’s actually kind of a hero these days – his Byronic death on Mt Ventoux given a more wholesome patina by the passage of time so that he is seen today more as swashbuckling than dirty, in the same way, I suppose, that the old-time Pirates of the Caribbean are seen as romantic and colourful, while the modern versions lurking off the coast of Somalia are thoroughly reviled.

    I don’t have any answers, nor even suggestions or opinions that I wouldn’t find myself contradicting in the very next breath. I do believe these things needed to be sorted at the time, not years later. I am not trying to be an apologist for Lance, or for any of them, but there is something in the note of vindictive self-righteousness about all this and a sense of burning in effigy that I find unsettling, and does indeed suggest a witch hunt. Bagging Lance is not the same thing as stamping out original sin.
     
  43. Mustard

    Mustard Talk Tennis Guru

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    The UCI was backing Lance Armstrong in his former legal case against USADA, and rightfully so. What I see is a corrupt USADA, which has zero objective, physical evidence, and they have broken their own rules to pursue a witch hunt against Armstrong.

    As far as Travis Tygart and co are concerned, Armstrong is guilty until proven innocent. How can anyone come to any other conclusion when they took Armstrong's decision to end any legal fight as an "admission of guilt"? They don't seem to realise that Armstrong doesn't have to prove anything.
     
  44. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    Lance Armstrong: the whistleblowers

    Three witnesses – who could have provided vital evidence if Lance Armstrong had mounted a defence – speak out


    Lance Armstrong's detractors were silenced or sued. Photograph: Srdjan Suki/EPA

    The journalist


    "I wrote four books about the guy. All the evidence was out there since 2004 and people will still say there is no evidence. To me there was a wilful conspiracy on the part of sporting officials, journalists, broadcasters, everybody. Now we see the fruits of it: high-level cycling has been destroyed by corruption.
    "I would have preferred it if Lance Armstrong had gone to a tribunal and we would have had all the evidence out there. But he has decided to accept these charges because it was the lesser of two evils from his perspective.
    "It is not good for him because he has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and has been given a lifetime ban. He has lost every victory he has had since 1998, but the alternative was even worse – to have a tribunal in which the evidence from 10 former team-mates who all say they saw him doping would have been aired in graphic detail.
    "That detail would have portrayed Lance Armstrong as a doper. It would have opened the eyes of the public to what the US Anti-Doping Agency believe was one of the greatest, most sophisticated doping conspiracies in the history of sport.
    "How did Armstrong get away with this for all these years? Who was complicit in helping him avoid detection? Because there is one certainty – he did not do this without help.
    "Bradley Wiggins is the patron of the Tour and the whole sport. As the winner, he is the spiritual and almost moral leader of the peloton. As an anti-doping Tour winner, I would expect Bradley to say this is good for the sport … we want the guys who cheated to be outed, but there is not a lot of that coming from the sport and that makes me wonder if they are truly committed to cleaning themselves up."
    David Walsh, author and sportswriter on the Sunday Times, has written four books on Lance Armstrong. He was speaking to BBC Radio 5 on Friday
    The masseuse


    As Lance Armstrong's masseuse, Emma O' Reilly saw much of the cyclist's body and spent a lot of time with him after his races. She was also a key member of the US Postal cycling team during the 1999 Tour de France and was given important tasks.
    O'Reilly was a source for David Walsh's book about Armstrong, LA Confidentiel. According to the book, O'Reilly said she heard team officials worrying about Armstrong's positive test for steroids during the Tour. She said: "They were in a panic, saying: 'What are we going to do? What are we going to do?' "
    Their solution was to get one of their compliant doctors to issue a pre-dated prescription for a steroid-based ointment to combat saddle sores. O'Reilly said she would have known if Armstrong had saddle sores as she would have administered any treatment for it.
    O'Reilly said that Armstrong told her: "Now, Emma, you know enough to bring me down." O'Reilly said on other occasions she was asked to dispose of used syringes for Armstrong and pick up strange parcels for the team.
    In a letter to Bill Strickland, a Bicycling magazine correspondent, last year, O'Reilly described her experience. "Since I spoke to David Walsh, I have received so many subpoenas that the policewoman who brought them got friendly enough with my boyfriend that she would call before coming and he'd put the kettle on for her.
    "If my word is so worthless, why did I go to France and testify to the French drug squad? I worked the '98 Tour de France, and I know how scary these guys can be, yet I was prepared to go to France, to their territory. I went because I was telling the truth, and also because a certain Mr Armstrong sued me for a million euros because of my interview with David … why did Lance feel the need to terrorise me for more than two years? Why did Lance feel the need to try to break me?"
    The cyclist


    Christophe Bassons became an accidental star of road cycling when he was the only member of the notorious Festina team who was not implicated in drug-taking. His reputation as an honest cyclist made it impossible for him to prosper in the world of professional cycling in the 1990s.
    Festina was immersed in scandal in 1998 when a carload of drugs for the team was discovered. In the subsequent police investigation, Bassons was the one rider who emerged with his character enhanced after his team-mates told police that he was the only cyclist who did not take drugs.
    From obscurity, Bassons emerged as one of the few cyclists who would criticise drug-taking in the sport. He spoke for many when he complained that the sport had "two speeds", one for the drug-takers and one for people like who him who did not cheat.
    During the 1999 Tour de France Bassons was asked to write a column for the newspaper, Le Parisen. The Tour featured the return of Lance Armstrong after his battle with cancer. Basson wrote that the riders were shocked by the speed of Armstrong. Armstrong later cycled up to Bassons to remonstrate with him and encouraged him to leave the Tour. Later on French TV, Armstrong admitted the conversation. "His accusations aren't good for cycling, for his team, for me, for anybody. If he thinks cycling works like that, he's wrong and he would be better off going home," he said.
    Other riders threatened him and most ignored him. Bassons could not take the pressure and left the Tour.
    Bassons tried to race elsewhere but his reputation preceded him and he gave up in 2001. The cyclist had been a very successful amateur rider but his professional career was overshadowed by his refusal to take drugs and remain quiet about it. He now works for the French ministry of sports and youth, with responsibility for drug testing.
     
  45. Torres

    Torres Banned

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    Identifying the precise moment when the fall from grace began for Lance Armstrong, once the world's greatest cyclist, is not easy.
    Did the fatal moment occur two years ago, when Floyd Landis – disgraced 2006 Tour de France winner and Armstrong's former team-mate – met a special agent of the US Food and Drugs Administration, Jeff Novitzky, to describe how he had seen the seven-times Tour champion doping in his own apartment?
    Or were the seeds of his downfall sown far earlier than that – in 1999, the year of Armstrong's first Tour win, when he is said to have "bullied" a young French cyclist, Christophe Bassons, telling him "he would be better off going home" after Bassons criticised doping on the Tour, effectively ending his career?
    Or was it eight years ago, when the French anti-doping laboratory decided to conduct retrospective research using its new test for the blood agent erythropoietin (EPO) on samples taken from riders during the 1999 Tour? The lab identified six positive results from a batch of 15 that the sports newspaper L'Equipe matched to blood-sample records Armstrong and the world cycling federation had agreed to supply to the newspaper.
    Its subsequent article – "The Armstrong Lie" – would set in train a sequence of events that culminated on Friday with the decision by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to ban the Texan for life and recommend the stripping of all his awards, after Armstrong refused to defend himself against allegations of cheating.
    Armstrong explained his decision himself thus: "Over the past three years, I have been subjected to a two-year federal criminal investigation followed by Travis Tygart's unconstitional witch hunt … It's an unfair approach, applied selctively, in opposition to all the rules. It's just not right."
    The suspicion had always been there – alluded to in the French media, and made explicit by Pierre Ballester and David Walsh in their French-published book LA Confidentiel, which baldly asserted that Armstrong was a cheat.
    Now Armstrong has been found guilty by virtue of a "non-analytical positive" – not a blood test, but the testimony of witnesses: the same way that former US sprint champion Marion Jones was stripped of her of her medals.
    Now a competition that, through its long history, has been tainted with substance-abuse scandals – from the brandy and strychnine taken by early riders to the steroids and complex compounds of later times – is in the spotlight again.
    Since the scandalous 2007 Tour, the UCI, cycling's ruling body, has made stronger efforts to tackle drugs cheats. That year saw the entire Astana and Cofidis teams withdraw after pre-race favourite Alexander Vinokourov was caught blood doping, and Bradley Wiggins's Italian teammate Cristian Moreni was arrested after testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone. And despite Armstrong's repeated claims of innocence, it was during the 1990s and 2000s – the most notorious doping – that he ruled the sport.
    The reality – as Walsh told the BBC in an interview last week– is that many had suspected for years that something was rotten at the very heart of cycling: a rottenness in which not only cyclists and team managers were complicit, but the administrators themselves.
    In the end, it appears the unravelling of the Armstrong myth, and the uncovering of what some have called the greatest doping conspiracy in sport, occurred because USADA had accumulated so much testimony – including from 10 former team-mates, some unsullied by accusations of cheating.
    The extent of Armstrong's surrender is underlined by the knowledge of what he has previously said about the "guiding principles" taught to him by his single mother Linda: that "to give up was to give in". Armstrong reiterated that view in his first autobiography, It's Not About the Bike, written in 2000. "Pain is temporary," he wrote then. "If I quit, however, it lasts forever." And quit is what Armstrong did on Friday.
    As World Anti-Doping Agency chief John Fahey said on the day it happened, Armstrong's decision added up to nothing less than an admission of guilt.
    While it is not clear what pressure was brought to bear on those former teammates who gave evidence to USADA investigators – after a US federal case examining whether Armstrong's US Postal Service (USPS) team had "misused federal funds" was dropped – it has been suggested that some faced threats of perjury proceedings if they did not speak.
    Perhaps what has been most extraordinary about the whole saga is the extent to which suspicions about the American champion had been documented for so long yet never properly investigated, as Armstrong used the force of his personality – and legal challenges – to shut down all criticism.
    That included even the testimony of those such as Armstrong's team masseuse – a woman with no real axe to grind – who insisted that she had heard team officials discussing how to get round Armstrong's positive test for steroids, and described how she was asked to travel to Spain to deliver "material" across the French border.
    But it has been the USADA finding that has been the most damaging, not least because it stands unchallenged by a man who has long insisted that he is the victim of a witch-hunt.
    USADA said its evidence came from more than a dozen witnesses "who agreed to testify and provide evidence about their first-hand experience and/or knowledge of the doping activity of those involved in the USPS conspiracy".
    The unidentified witnesses said they knew or had been told by Armstrong himself that he had "used EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone and cortisone" from before 1998 until 2005, the year of his seventh Tour victory, and that he had previously used EPO, testosterone and human growth hormone until 1996, USADA said. Armstrong also allegedly handed out doping products, encouraged banned methods – and, USADA says, even used "blood manipulation including EPO or blood transfusions" during his 2009 Tour comeback.
    For his part, Armstrong has tried to characterise the investigative process against him as tantamount to bribery – offering those willing to give evidence the promise of more lenient sanctions if they admitted their part.
    Certainly in the last two years the net has tightened very quickly around Armstrong. After Landis's meeting with federal investigators, they spoke to Tyler Hamilton, another former teammate, who has admitted to doping.
    "It really wasn't until the last few months [that] we were able to reach out to all the witnesses we believed had information," said Travis Tygart, USADA's chief executive. "They all agreed to testify truthfully."
    In a separate interview, Tygart added: "I think Mr Armstrong also knows the truth and decided that instead of a fact-by-fact, piece-by-piece coming-out in open court under oath, he decided his better move at this stage was just not to contest and hold on to baseless soundbites about witch hunts and vendettas."
    All of which leaves some serious questions still unanswered: such as whether cycling's administrators turned a blind eye to Armstrong's behaviour, particularly when he was patron of the Tour, its leader by virtue of his victories.
    That is the view of Italian rider Filippo Simeoni, who clashed with Armstrong in the 2004 Tour after giving evidence in an Italian court that Armstrong's trainer, Dr Michele Ferrari – also named in the USADA doping allegations – had advised the Italian to take EPO and testosterone in the late 1990s.
    "When I protested, [Armstrong] was in charge of cycling and nothing was done," he told an Italian radio station. "I paid for things that weren't just. I only told the truth."
    There will be more fights and scandal ahead. Others accused in the affair have opted – unlike Armstrong – to fight their case in the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The UCI has also not yet accepted USADA's judgment, and its own officials may take up cudgels for Armstrong's cries of "injustice".
     
  46. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    This is the thing. You have a privately ran agency, outside the government but funded by government grants, whose mission is: find dopers. The bigger the better. Do anything you have to do to get them. You can act as both prosecutor and judge. (That will make life very pleasant for the prosecutor in you.) You can make up the rules for each case as you go along. You don’t have to provide the defense with any concrete evidence you have until the show begins, and you can impose on them deadlines to respond as tight as you want. You run the show. And of course you can feed the press any story you want to make sure the suspects are tried by public opinion before the show starts. Here’s 10 million dollars a year. Put them to good use. This is not a joke even if it sounds like one.

    Such an organization is not at all different from an Inquisition. You can convict anybody of anything with that kind of “court”. How can anyone believe it can act with even a modicum of fairness? It can't. It’s a travesty.
     
  47. Bartelby

    Bartelby G.O.A.T.

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    USADA has to act within its remit and can be challenged legally.

    Armstrong challenged the arbitration from taking place and lost.

    He could have defended himself and challenged any aspect of it that he thought was outside its powers in court.

    He could even try to challenge the judgement in a court and maybe the UCI will.

    For better or worse, there are harsh doping controls for all competitors so its the price you now pay to play sport.
     
  48. Benhur

    Benhur Hall of Fame

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    The justice system feels it can’t get involved in the way sports administers its own justice, even if it makes it clear it finds its proceedings unacceptably arbitrary. So the matter is left for sports organizations to vye for supremacy among themselves. It will become a matter of budgets determining clout. I notice that the UCI press releases are not reproduced anywhere in the press (not even the French press) except as passing mentions. You need to go into their site and look for them. But any tale spun by anyone against Armstrong gets full coverage. It’s a bizarre show. If they were consistent they should just vacate the podiums in all the main cycling events for the last few decades.
     
  49. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I am not surprised the ADA will have contacts in Europe. Somewhere there might be "research grants" and contracts handed out to make their case seem international. If Lance was informed about imminent testing, that is all in the past. It should have been proved when it could have. Now no one can be sure who is partially or fully lying.
     
  50. fundrazer

    fundrazer Hall of Fame

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    New article on CyclingNews discussing the corruption of UCI. Journalist featured in the article is was also featured in the radio interview I linked to earlier.

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/kimmage-uci-needs-root-and-branch-surgery

    And another article:

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/kimmage-uci-needs-root-and-branch-surgery

    Among interesting bits of the 2nd article is this gem:

    "Pound was in charge of WADA in 2005 when Damien Ressiot, a reporter from the French newspaper L'Equipe, managed to get a hold of both the research results of an EPO test study which used samples from the 1999 Tour de France and the anti-doping control forms from the race, and in doing so matched up the control numbers of six EPO positives to forms signed by Lance Armstrong."
     

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