Armstrong to be stripped of all Tour de France wins

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Chris Mayhew

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Oct 11 2012 at 3:26pm #

Actually, here:

“Cycling became a refuge for me. Long, hard training rides were cathartic and provided an escape from the difficult home life associated with a parent with an addiction. My father had a long history of substance use and addiction. Seeing what happened to my father from his substance abuse, I vowed never to take drugs. I viewed cycling as a healthy and wholesome outlet that would keep me far away from following my father’s footsteps…I attribute his untimely death to his drug use. I missed my dad’s funeral because of a race—the GP Des Nations. I won the under 23 category and Lance Armstrong won the professional category…Of course, I understood that some cyclists in the peloton fueled their success with banned substances. I suspected that some of my teammates were using performance enhancing drugs. But until this very moment, I was unaware of how involved the team leadership was in drug use by its riders on the team. Until then I had been largely shielded from the reality of drug use on the Postal Service Team… I felt cornered. I had pursued cycling to escape a home life torn apart by drugs, and no I was faced with this. I looked to Michael [Barry] for support, but it became clear he had decided to use EPO. He kept repeating [US Postal Service Team Director] Bruyneel’s opinions that EPO use was required for success in the peloton…I went back to my Spanish apartment and had a breakdown. I called home, crying. I had pursued cycling as an escape from drugs, and here I was, having succumbed to the pressure.”


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Oct 11 2012 at 4:43pm #

Lance’s legacy was trashed regardless. He could have all of his tests come back clean, tested other ways, etc, and people would still be convinced enough such that he would always be a doper.

helen s

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Oct 11 2012 at 5:53pm #

I am torn- I do (did?) enjoy watching. Some enjoyment was just for the helicopter shots of castles. Maybe I can just watch documentaries of France and skip the racing part.

Fortunately I am a big track fan, where they at least try to catch the cheaters, as opposed to most other sports.


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Oct 11 2012 at 7:01pm #

I guess, you guys (who was surprised) never were close to big sport. I was never that close to the top as LA, just won or was second on state level for 4 years and once 3rd on national level. But complex of B1-B12, Aloe, ATF, other vitamins adn chemicals were must all year around. And just one step from anabolics (no EPO was available in 70-s. And all 60 team mates did the same. Best of us (whoever competed at international level) did anabolics, drug performance, and blood transfusions. This was in track and field.


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Oct 11 2012 at 7:39pm #


Not everybody is / was. Read stuff vaughters

and all wrote after leaving LA’s teams. Other

teams were much cleaner and the riders were

not forced from the top down (ala Dave Z)…

Many of the people that have gone on record

claim to be clean before and after LA.

brian j

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Oct 11 2012 at 7:56pm #

Another person with a bit of a question mark over his head is Michael Berry. I have trouble believing he stopped doping when he left USPS for T-Mobile, which was also a doping operation disguised as a cycling team.


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Oct 11 2012 at 8:44pm #

Hey, we all quit doping in 2006. Cross our hearts. Yep, 2006, that was it, no more dope, I swear. Now I can race again next year? Cool, where do I sign?


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Oct 11 2012 at 8:49pm #

+1 Eric

mr marvelous

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Oct 11 2012 at 8:57pm #

@ steevo I disagree. I was a huge LA supporter and was naive to believe he didn’t dope. But to think that only LA teammates doped and that cycling was clean before and after LA is just as naive. Thats why naming a winner of the Tour to replace LA is hard because everyone who finished behind him doped.

I wish we could say that LA was the cause of doping and without him doping will go away. But Alberto Contador and Frank Schleck proves that wrong.

My problem with this is that this will not clean up cycling. The reason that they will not give any current riders a ban from cycling is because it would effect the rating and money if all the top cyclist are banned. Thats why we will see Levi, Contador and Schleck riding again with no real punishment. There is no reason to stop doping.


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Oct 11 2012 at 8:59pm #

Pity the poor TdF team that didn’t dope (there’s got to be at least one) — everyone assumes they did, and they didn’t get the trophies, either.


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Oct 11 2012 at 9:13pm #

For a second I read that as Team Decaf

mr marvelous

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Oct 11 2012 at 9:15pm #

That could explain why I always get dropped on the Decaf rides.

Chris Mayhew

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Oct 11 2012 at 9:24pm #

@Brian j some versions of T-Mobile were for sure but not the last year or so when it was basically High Road under another name.

That said, I call total BS on all the guys (all!) that say they stopped after 2006. More omerta.


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Oct 11 2012 at 10:36pm #

Maybe they are able to dope now without it being picked up by current technology? Yeah they’re all dopers. I dislike pro athletics. I feel like I am getting cheated out of seeing what people are naturally able to do.

Also, let’s face it- the tour is pretty boring. When they sprint at the end of the stages and when they ascend/descend in the mountains, that may be only slightly entertaining.

brian j

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Oct 12 2012 at 1:27am #

A friend and I were chatting, and we made some connections. Levi was apparently still doping while with the Disco team. Guess who else was riding on the Disco team? Alberto Contador. While that team wasn’t the focus of the investigation, most of the staff came from USPS.

Also, Tom Boonen was another Postie. Granted, it was just for a year, and it was several years later that he truly rose as a classics specialist (and sprinter…remember when he took the green jersey?). I wonder if he took away any habits from USPS? The rabbit hole is likely going to be pretty deep here.

Chris, thanks for the clarification. I had forgotten about that transition prior to becoming High Road.

Also, if you purchased Michael Berry’s book Inside the Postal Bus, you can now file that in the “Creative Non-fiction” section of your bookshelf.

Jacob McCrea

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Oct 12 2012 at 2:01am #

Lots of crow and humble pie on the menu these days for the Armstrong groupies, supporters, apologists, etc., who are now in about the same category as folks with tin foil on their hats to ward off alien mind control waves from outer space.

I can admire someone for pushing the envelope and reading between the lines of a sanctioning body’s rules (google “Smokey Yunick Cheating” for a good example). But that’s certainly not what LA and company were doing, to say the least!


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Oct 12 2012 at 12:59pm #

Mr. Marvelous,

Im not naive and have probably read more about

this than anybody on the board. However a few

years ago an AIM convo between vaughters and

Frankie A came out about when JV switched to

CA from postal and how clean the team was. It

blew his mind.No pressure to dope. No top

down program.

If you read Tylers book, lance seems to be

a pusher as much as a user. Reading Dave z’s

affidavit is much the same.

He wasnt the only one, but he was surely

pushing the limits and winning the arms

race so to speak.

mr marvelous

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Oct 12 2012 at 1:38pm #

@ steevo, I’m sorry I didn’t mean to say you are naive. It’s not what I was saying but re-reading what I wrote thats how it sounds. In fact I trust your knowledge on this subject.

I do agree with you that LA was a user and a pusher. I just don’t believe he brought doping to cycling and that doping left with him. I think if all the names and the extent of the doping truly came out it would kill the sport. Making LA the Kingpin of doping and saying that it’s over now sounds like another cover up.

Chris Mayhew

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Oct 12 2012 at 3:39pm #


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Oct 12 2012 at 3:51pm #

I’m hardly surprised that a bunch of guys who got a deal to rat out Lance are claiming that he was the kingpin of the whole thing and their poor sweet innocent selves never did anything bad like that before or since. Seems to me a whole ton of riders who weren’t on Lance’s teams have already been busted for doping.

I’m no Lance apologist but I’m also not buying that he’s the source of all evil.

brian j

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Oct 12 2012 at 4:06pm #

Salty, I think the better way to look at it is that at USPS, Lance and his advisers/coaches built an incredible doping machine. If you read the documents, Dr. Ferari had a long list of clients from other teams. I suspect, however, that no one had the deep pockets that Lance and company did to really build a comprehensive program. If the other teams could have afforded/organized such a program, I’m sure they would have.

The only person I feel sorry for is Zabrinski–he had a lot of baggage when he came to USPS (not PED doping baggage), and he made some bad decisions. He was at least the most forthcoming with his feelings about how screwed up things had become.

I’m also not sure what to make of guys like Devolder and Van Den Broeck saying they didn’t see anything as USPS. I would kinda believe that given they weren’t Tour specialists, they were outside the inner circle, but Devolder also just had his career resurrected by a contract with Radio Shack/Nissan, so he has to say the right things, or he’s riding in the Belgian B league next year.


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Oct 12 2012 at 5:54pm #

Its been a couple of years, but their was some leaked testimony from I think Franky Andrieu to the effect that Lance told the Doctor back when he was first diagnosed with cancer that he took a whole list of stuff — including Human Growth Hormone. So its possible that PEDs caused his cancer in the first place.


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Oct 12 2012 at 9:00pm #

@Boazo So its possible that PEDs caused his cancer in the first place


I’ve always suspected that.


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Oct 13 2012 at 1:01am #

For what it is worth…

It seems to me that

A: someone had/has a big hard-on for Lance, chasing after this for so long. Why I don’t know… but he obviously pissed someone off.

B: I dont know that I can find the link, someone had done an analysis of one year of the Tour which Lance had won. The next person to have finished the Tour, after Lance, who has not since either been caught doping, or has not admitted to doping was something like 23rd, or 25th place. If I can find the link I’ll either edit this post or post it later.

C: a lot of the testing evidence was done on old samples using current technologies and testing for substances which are now known and how to test for – which was not available at the time.

Which is why, I assume, he passed ALL of his testing.

For more then 7 years, at every race Lance won, he was tested, and EVERY TIME he tested clean.

To Me – what Lance and company did was what most racing teams in auto racing do, as an example. They read the rules (in the case of auto racing the specifications for the vehicle), and find/found loop holes. The rules don’t say we can’t use <fill in the blank> so we can/will. This applies to all of the various technologies that can be brought to bear.

For example :

Can we use a covered wheel? no, can we use a solid disk wheel? rules don’t say we can’t – so we do. Next year, or next race, the rule maybe changed to specifically outlaw solid wheels, so we don’t use a solid wheel, we use something else.

Can we use testosterone? no, Can we use “Ultrasuperspecialcalifragilious” – rules don’t say we can’t. so we do. The rules change and “Ultrasuperspecialcalifragilious” is no longer legal, so use something else.

Is the doping ethical? no. is it against the spirit of the rules? yes. Was/were the specifics of USPS’s team doping specifically outlawed? I don’t know, but if it wasn’t then it wasn’t “illegal”.

Going back and taking his wins – I see this as applying rule changes retroactively.

Using NASCAR as an example, taking a victory away from a winner because he didn’t use a restrictor plate (a device to limit the amount of fuel the engine can use at one instant, and indirectly limit speed) BEFORE restrictor plates were required.

you are all welcome to disagree :)


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Oct 13 2012 at 1:40am #

Wow. Still with the head in the sand.


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Oct 13 2012 at 2:43am #


… someone had/has a big hard-on for Lance, chasing after this for so long. Why I don’t know… but he obviously pissed someone off.

Like maybe anyone who didn’t do exactly what Lance wanted when Lance wanted it and then faced the consequences?

Seems Lance doesnt’ get the “Sportsmanship Award” for this one.


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Oct 13 2012 at 2:59am #

In a reply to “Been there done that”all of of L.A. teammates finally came clean and admitted L.A. took E.P.O. including themselves.A couple of his teammates pleaded the “fifth”,because they stated Lance was their friend. But even leaving that aside,they found a number of enhancing performing drugs in his blood!! I also used to admire L.A.,but I now know he’s nothing but a cheat and a liar!!


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Oct 13 2012 at 4:02am #

here are some excerpts, links follow, the people with there heads in the sand – are anyone thinking cycling is, or ever has been ‘clean’.

Jacques Anquetil is the five-time Tour winner who in **1961** took the yellow jersey on Stage 1 and wore it all the way to Paris, not a boastful cheater who said, during a French television interview, “Leave me in peace—everybody takes dope.” And Fausto Coppi is il campionissimo, the champion of champions, not an admitted doper who said on Italian television that he only took drugs when necessary—”which is nearly always.”

(** added be me),0

I wonder why the gap in 1985… and look there is a doping issue in 1886 ! ! !

Tour specific doping

there are 2 (count them TWO) riders of the next 4 finishers of the Tours of the 7 years, in which Lance won, who have not, yet, been caught or confessed to doping.


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Oct 13 2012 at 4:37am #

Doping on the tour started off with wine & a cigarette before a big climb to open up the lungs 100 yrs ago. 40+ years later, meth, steroids, & coke kept everyone going. It was always a dirty sport.

By today’s standards, I wonder how clean Hinault, Indurain, and Merckx actually were.


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Oct 13 2012 at 6:48am #

If you ain’t first, you’re last.

That there is trademarked, not to be used without written permission of Ricky Bobby, Inc.


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Oct 13 2012 at 7:19am #

Merckx has admitted to it..


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Oct 13 2012 at 1:11pm #

Perception is reality.

The investigation of Armstrong was so intent on proving their suspicion that it basically offered immunity to ELEVEN other riders for their testimony. (So, ELEVEN riders basically walk, to catch the one big fish.)

And to what end? Has the investigation proved to anyone the sport is clean? (No.) That the sport is serious about getting clean? (No.) That the sport even has the means about how to get clean? (No.)

The lingering perception now, is this is a sport where everyone cheats. Where the governing body was so intent to catch the one big bad guy they were willing to accept the PED use of ELEVEN other riders. Where it’s okay those eleven other riders get to continue their careers.

So the reality is, it was all window dressing.

Finally, this (courtesy Outside magazine):

“”Twenty of the 21 podium finishers in the Tour de France from 1999 through 2005 have been directly tied to likely doping through admissions, sanctions, public investigations or exceeding the UCI hematocrit threshold. Of the 45 podium finishes during the time period between 1996 and 2010, 36 were by riders similarly tainted by doping.” —USADA Reasoned Decision Against Lance Armstrong”

brian j

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Oct 13 2012 at 1:28pm #

@Been: Malcolm Gladwell made the point you are making. Deep down, there is an ethical/philosophical discussion about the science of pushing limits. I think the auto racing analogy falls apart, however, because it’s much more difficult to break the rules without getting caught. I’m not very familiar NASCAR, but I do know in rallying (at least in the WRC), the homologation rules are quite strict, and in my memory, several top teams have lost results because of technical infractions.

As for your claim that the USADA is applying new rules to Armstrong’s career, that’s just wrong. Blood doping (auto and homologous) was banned by the IOC in 1985. The first reliable tests for EPO started in 2000, I think.

So, as far as retroactively punishing Armstrong for new rules, I guess the only results he should keep would from 1998 and 1999.


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Oct 13 2012 at 4:56pm #

How about – instead of trying to ‘clean the sport’ and chase technological ghosts, why not just turn the rules upside down.

Everyone must divulge all doping they are using <period>.

Then potentially dangerous cocktails can be caught and the users informed.

It becomes an open system, no possible problems with dirty needles, hiding in ‘shadows’, potentially dangerous mixtures of doping agents, etc. The competitors know what they are up against. Hell, they could even have a new category of winner ‘clean’. Of course the penalty for failure to divulge would be the same as it is now for getting caught doping.


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Oct 13 2012 at 11:55pm #

I love the way Merckx admitted it: “Do they expect us to ride the Tour de France on water?”

As far as an open doping regimen goes, the problem is those guys would do serious damage to their bodies, not entirely voluntarily. They would end up dying young. No one would want to watch that.


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Oct 14 2012 at 6:17am #


they are probably doing that now. With an open system multiple experts can examine the cocktails and stop/warn extra dangerous combinations


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Oct 14 2012 at 3:35pm #

@jonawebb – that was anquetil who is reputed to have said that (though i can find no reliable source that gives the exact quote).

merckx tested positive three times in his career, but always maintained his innocence, once claiming that the test was wrong, and twice blaming team doctors.


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Oct 17 2012 at 1:43pm #

Armstrong Dropped by Nike, Steps Down as Chairman of His Charity

Sometimes I feel the need to double-check and make sure the Onion hasn’t jumped the shark.

mr marvelous

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Oct 17 2012 at 2:14pm #

Also Levi was terminated from his team. Its been an interesting week

brian j

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Oct 17 2012 at 2:20pm #

I wonder if LA is preparing to “come clean” and throw a bunch of other people other the bus to make himself look like a bit of victim.

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