Today was a huge day for cycling. Several weeks ago the USADA confirmed that it believed Lance Armstrong should be stripped of all 7 of his tour de France titles and that he had been the lynch pin in systematic doping at US Postal/Discovery Cycling. Today the USADA handed over its final report to the UCI for review, story and as a result today that report become public knowledge.
Without reading it fully the fall out is huge the key points
- Garmin riders Danielson, tadalafil VanDeVelde and Zabriskie have released statements confirming they had full cooperated and raced clean as members of Garmin but had doped previously, this had been previously confirmed by Vaughters a good move on his part for riders to come clean sooner.
- Michael Barry has released a statement admitting doping all during his time as team mate to lance Armstrong. He took a role at Sky at a time when they refused to work with David Millar a former doper who had come clean. It had been known for a long time what Barry had done and that Sky choose to ignore it and as such made mockery of its own rules. He come clean now but only as a retired rider.
- George Hincapie now retired also released a statement similar to Barry. Again he could have come clean but he had discussed his past with BMC when joining and he kept a veil of no comment rather than denial. Hincapie is seen as the most credible of witnesses and a close allie to Lance, his admittance is the key nail in the Armstrong coffin.
- Levi Leipheimer is the 6 of his former team mates who rode pro this year to have confessed to doping and also released his statement confirming he doped upto a period soon after Lance left. Levi I am sure could have rode clean he was a natural athlete and that shows now, he was pushed but also made the wrong calls, however per the report Armstrong harassed his wife to stop him from making a statement to the USADA
- Jonathon Vaughters is an ex team mate of Lance Armstrong he doped during his time at US Postal, got a big contract elsewhere and tried to race clean but was scarred by that past. He set up a clean side but had a wall of silence born out of fear of repercussions of speaking. But however this year he had been most vocal about doping in cycling and how it had affected his riders. H has been at forefront of progress in Pro cycling and created some sort of united front between cycling teams.
All this confirmation fro ex team mates guys without a book to sell or a corner to get out of has put Armstrongs never doped defence in a corner. He tried to stop the USADA in the courts but when that failed tried to play the unfair case card and ignore it, he had surely hoped this evidence would stay hidden, his high paid legal team got it wrong. The several mentions of witness intimation in the report is scary to say the least and only confirms the picture from many articles i have of a man who held hope for so many but in the end was but a lie.
Lance Armsrongs main issue is he made millions. money made from lies and suspect organisation and friends in high places. People like Ulrich Mayo etc doped and denied but they never pushed others or bullied riders who wanted to speak. Both Landis and Hamilton lived that same lie, but they choose to give in and open up. Anyone who has seen recent interviews of both of these men can see the weight lifted, they are men telling all their is no lie only the dirty truth.
Armstrong has played the never failed a test line among many others, but how does he explain his many team mates also passing these tests while admitting they were doping at the time. Armstrong had his cards and he went all in on the wrong hand. I noticed Horner was not mentioned anywhere a really pity a rider who i loved to watch has been to loyal to a man who destroyed so many to come forward.
Their is also a huge money trail involved alot of which USADA has tracked, payments to doctors etc all linked back to Armstrong and the team, this has been described as “the most organised doping ring ever seen” the media will love that one. Their is also the issue that Armstrong testified under oath with what now looks like lies a serious offence in the USA and interesting to see if its followed up on.
Their is also strong evidence that he doped once he returned to the sport for 2 years as a member of Astana, Leipheimer was still a team member at this stage and it is rumoured he had to move team this season due to his testimony. Armstrong is said to have had a blood profile that pointed to strong indications of blood doping. He has also sworn to work with a renowned anti doping doctor to prove he was clean but somehow that never happened. Blood doping experts have stated their is a one in million chance those values could be attained with doping being present.
All in all this is a huge day for cycling but also i hope a push for chance in the UCI. Parts of this case have revealed serious issues of corruption within the head of cycling as well as possible cover ups of a positive, advanced notice of testing and collusion with doping sides.
In my opinion it should have come much earlier but at least it has come and the sport might turn a corner, for as an event cycling is one of the best a sport were people can really mingle with their heros without a fence or a line of stewards between them.
The full report is here. https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B9YzclxcT0NHNHNQTUV4MkpSSWc/view?sle=true
Also a fellow blogger scott ferguson has penned a piece on the topic http://www.sportismadeforbetting.com/2012/10/lance-armstrong-is-sunk.html