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Author Topic: The case against Lance Armstrong  (Read 22098 times)
ghost
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on: January 19, 2011, 09:51:57 AM

Sports Illustrated just put out their large review of the evidence against Lance Armstrong.  You can read it here, and there is a nice summary here if you don't want to spend the time. 

Quote
The Sports Illustrated article claims that sources familiar with the FDA investigation have discovered that Armstrong had access to the blood boosting drug HemAssist during clinical trials in the USA. The drug trials were ended after several patients died but athletes apparently tried to buy HemAssist because it does not raise blood haematocrit and has a very short half life, making it almost impossible to detect.

Quote
Sports Illustrated claims that Italian police and customs officials discovered performance enhancing drugs when they searched Popovych's home, as well as texts and e-mails that link Armstrong to Dr Michele Ferrari as recently as 2009. Armstrong claimed he had cut all ties with Ferrari after the Italian doctor was found guilty of sporting fraud. Ferrari was later cleared due to the four-year statue of limitations rule of Italian law. Ferrari refused to respond to the accusations when contacted by Sports Illustrated.

Perhaps the most significant section of the story regards Armstrong’s relationship with Professor Don Catlin, the former head of the US Anti-doping laboratory at UCLA. He has been a member of the IOC Medical Commission since 1988 and is also credited with identifying the THG designer drug made famous during the BALCO investigation.

Catlin left UCLA in 2007 and created his own business with his son. In 2009 he agreed to run the internal testing programme at Armstrong’s Astana team. However the programme ended after five months due to problems over costs. Armstrong was only tested once.


This is a strange case.  I would love to hear the details of it many years from now when Lance confesses.  My brain tells me he is guilty as hell, but he's managed to Houdini out of every test and trap thats been put forth.  If nothing else, his associations are very, very questionable.  The statement about Don Catlin is very interesting, and may explain a lot of how Lance may have been able to dope and get away with it. 
ghost
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Reply #1 on: January 27, 2011, 11:48:56 PM

dusematic
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Reply #2 on: January 28, 2011, 06:35:43 AM

I feel like anybody that cycled that long and under that much scrutiny would likely have botched something along the way.  I'm inclined to give the guy the benefit of the doubt without more than a bunch of hearsay from anonymous informants and associations with shady people in the cycling world (how big is the cycling world anyway?).
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Reply #3 on: January 28, 2011, 07:28:42 AM

Not to sound too flippant about it, but who the hell gives a fuck about cycling? (ok yeah... flippant in abundance)

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Nebu
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Reply #4 on: January 28, 2011, 07:32:21 AM

Cycling is a lot like soccer.  It's much bigger outside the US. 

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-  Mark Twain
Pennilenko
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Reply #5 on: January 28, 2011, 08:26:10 AM

Cycling is a lot like soccer.  It's much bigger outside the US. 

I live in the US, and I love both soccer and cycling.

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Reply #6 on: January 28, 2011, 08:39:56 AM

Cycling is a lot like soccer.  It's much bigger outside the US. 

I live in the US, and I love both soccer and cycling.

A good indicator of what's popular in the U.S. is to look at what gets air time on the sports networks. NFL is king. NBA is second. MLB is third. College sports follow with football much bigger than basketball. Then it's NASCAR, the NHL, and golf. After all that, you get to soccer.

Cycling gets nothing or as close to nothing as you can outside the Tour d'France.

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Nebu
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Reply #7 on: January 28, 2011, 09:08:00 AM

Cycling gets nothing or as close to nothing as you can outside the Tour d'France.

Most Americans have no idea who Greg LeMond or Eddy Merckx are. 

"Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other."

-  Mark Twain
ghost
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Reply #8 on: January 28, 2011, 09:18:50 AM

Cycling is pretty big in Texas.  I see riders out all the time when I'm driving.  I used to ride more, but not as much any more.  I really love the TdF, but don't follow the sport much outside of the big race.  The politics and drama surrounding cycling are great fun though. 
Sir T
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Reply #9 on: January 28, 2011, 05:26:50 PM

I feel like anybody that cycled that long and under that much scrutiny would likely have botched something along the way.  I'm inclined to give the guy the benefit of the doubt without more than a bunch of hearsay from anonymous informants and associations with shady people in the cycling world (how big is the cycling world anyway?).

The real problem is that the entire sport was on drugs. If you weren't you physically could not do the mountain parts of the tours. and cycling without the mountain parts was crap TV. It was that simple. There was a huge scandal about it about 15 years ago when the whole thing broke. Cycling was off the tv networks for years following that and it still hasn't recovered in popularity.

Its taken for granted over here that Lance Armstrong was on drugs, but the kinder among us say it was probably the steroids he had to take as part of his cancer treatment that did it. Its just politely not mentioned, especially in front of the US.

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ghost
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Reply #10 on: January 28, 2011, 08:40:20 PM


The real problem is that the entire sport was is on drugs. If you weren't you physically could not do the mountain parts of the tours. and cycling without the mountain parts was crap TV. It was that simple. There was a huge scandal about it about 15 years ago when the whole thing broke. Cycling was off the tv networks for years following that and it still hasn't recovered in popularity.

Its taken for granted over here that Lance Armstrong was on drugs, but the kinder among us say it was probably the steroids he had to take as part of his cancer treatment that did it. Its just politely not mentioned, especially in front of the US.


It's interesting that people think this is a new phenomenon, this doping.  Back in the old days riders would get all jacked up on amphetamines and vodka.  People have been cheating for eons. Something I find intriguing is the suggestion that Fabian Cancellara cheated not by doping, but with a mechanical cheat in his crank case.  We will see more of that in the future, too
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Reply #11 on: January 28, 2011, 09:47:36 PM

Cycling is a lot like soccer.  It's much bigger outside the US. 

I live in the US, and I love both soccer and cycling.

A good indicator of what's popular in the U.S. is to look at what gets air time on the sports networks. NFL is king. NBA is second. MLB is third. College sports follow with football much bigger than basketball. Then it's NASCAR, the NHL, and golf. After all that, you get to soccer.

Cycling gets nothing or as close to nothing as you can outside the Tour d'France.

I think this is somewhat regional. MLB owns the hell out of the NBA in the Bay Area I am fairly sure. Cycling and soccer are both relatively popular here is my understanding too - probably because we have a lot of foreign-born people.


It's interesting that people think this is a new phenomenon, this doping.  Back in the old days riders would get all jacked up on amphetamines and vodka.  People have been cheating for eons. Something I find intriguing is the suggestion that Fabian Cancellara cheated not by doping, but with a mechanical cheat in his crank case.  We will see more of that in the future, too

Yeah. It is sort of odd to see how people get worked up about it for some sports more than others, too. Cycling for whatever reason seems to generate more outrage over it than, say, the NBA where OJ Mayo's recent positive has barely caused a murmur.

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ghost
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Reply #12 on: May 20, 2011, 06:30:08 AM

Looks like another former teammate coming out against Lance Armstrong.  Tyler Hamilton (who I don't trust a bit) is "coming clean" and pointing his finger at Armstrong.  

Quote
"[Armstrong] took what we all took...the majority of the peloton," Hamilton told "60 Minutes. There was EPO...testosterone...a blood transfusion," he said.

"I saw [EPO] in his refrigerator...I saw him inject it more than one time like we all did, like I did many, many times."

I suppose it is likely that there was a fairly sizable conspiracy involved with Armstrong.  Hell, the guy made cycling a ton of money and increased the popularity of the Tour de France significantly.  I wouldn't be surprised to see that those in charge of European cycling at the time of Armstrong's victories weren't firmly in bed with him on this, thus leading to his "500 negative tests".  I can't wait to learn the full truth about all this.
ghost
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Reply #13 on: May 20, 2011, 08:50:41 PM

Wow.  Now Hincapie is weighing in.  This is going to get really fucking ugly for Lance. 

Quote
Using unidentified sources, "60 Minutes" reported that Hincapie testified that he and Armstrong supplied each other with the endurance-boosting substance EPO and discussed having used another banned substance, testosterone, to prepare for races. Citing the ongoing investigation, Hincapie declined to be interviewed by "60 Minutes," which will air its piece on the Armstrong investigation at 7 p.m. ET Sunday.

This could turn out to be one of the biggest meltdowns in the history of sports.  Cycling is so dirty though.  If Lance actually did not use PEDs, he would probably be the only one in the peloton. 
Azuredream
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Reply #14 on: May 20, 2011, 09:05:00 PM

I don't think so, at least, not here in America. As was said earlier, we only ever cared about cycling because that's what Lance Armstrong played. If it was a baseball player with this much circumstantial evidence he'd be laughed out of the building, but we don't watch cycling so we're more inclined to defend him. Unless someone comes up with hard evidence all we're going to see is "people who admitted to taking steroids accusing other people of taking steroids."

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ghost
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Reply #15 on: May 21, 2011, 05:14:33 AM

Lance has taken the defense of Rafael Palmeiro and Roger Clemens, in addition to the fact that he has been such a focal athletic figure for even people that don't give a shit about cycling.  I believe it will be a bigger deal than you think. 
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Reply #16 on: May 21, 2011, 10:00:26 AM

I agree that it will probably be a bigger deal here than you think, Azuredream. Americans don't watch cycling, but we still all know who Lance Armstrong is, and we were still told constantly what an inspiration he was supposed to be. And Americans looooooove when people like that fall from grace.

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Reply #17 on: June 13, 2012, 09:25:11 PM

Arise from the dead, thread!

Lance Armstrong faces fresh doping charges from USADA (Link: Washington Post)
Quote
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency brought formal doping charges against former cyclist Lance Armstrong in an action that could cost him his seven Tour de France titles, according to a letter sent to Armstrong and several others.

As a result of the charges, Armstrong has been immediately barred from competition in triathlons, a sport he took up after his retirement from cycling in 2011.

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ghost
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Reply #18 on: June 13, 2012, 09:36:59 PM

He's fucked.   Ohhhhh, I see.
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Reply #19 on: June 13, 2012, 10:19:58 PM

So if these guys are saying things like "...taking EPO like the rest of the peleton..." then charges should be leveled against every single one of them, no?  Who are they going to hand the titles to once they find him guilty? 

Or, you know, we could stop pretending that this is anything other than a silly bike ride through the mountains and stop wasting fucking time and money on it.  I think Armstrong is a dick and a cheater, but let's move on already.  They were all playing on a level field.

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ghost
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Reply #20 on: June 14, 2012, 05:55:52 AM

It's not a silly bike race, it's really fucking cool and pretty amazing some of the rides they are able to make.  But you're right about the prevalence of doping.  I bet it approaches 100% in cycling, at least at some level.  And I would almost guarantee that there's a significant level of "mechanical doping", i.e. small devices that give the riders a slight edge but are undetectable among the machinery of the bikes. 
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Reply #21 on: June 14, 2012, 06:38:50 AM

It is a silly bike race. It was started as part of a political demonstration and an attempt to sell more newspapers in France. Cheating was ridiculous and the riders were beaten up by fans in the first running.

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Nebu
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Reply #22 on: June 14, 2012, 06:53:20 AM

It's ENTERTAINMENT.  Who cares if they dope?  It's not like their records are meaningful.  Technology has altered that in monumental ways already.  Even down to something as fundamental as how we time events.  

Do we start boycotting actors and actresses that get plastic surgery too? "I'm sorry honey, but that breast augmentation surgery means that you have to give back your Oscar!"
« Last Edit: June 14, 2012, 06:55:06 AM by Nebu »

"Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other."

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Paelos
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Reply #23 on: June 14, 2012, 06:57:48 AM

Wrestling is Entertainment under the guise of organized sport drama.

It's hard to say cycling at the Tour de France is purely entertainment when their is a prize pool involved for the winners. That would be like saying that "everyone's cheating at the world series of poker, but it's entertainment!"

Doesn't fly with me.

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Nebu
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Reply #24 on: June 14, 2012, 07:02:11 AM

I could have done a better job in my analogy, you're right.

I say let everyone dope if they are willing to take the medical risk.  That levels the playing field just fine.  The records are already meaningless due to technology.  I'm having a hard time thinking of a sport where the records hold meaning over time.  Technology, genetics, and medical advancements have altered sports.

"Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other."

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Reply #25 on: June 14, 2012, 07:08:18 AM

The only record I hold up for anything anymore is DiMaggio's hitting streak. It's one of the few truly pure records in sports that can't be overcome with medical anything.

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Nebu
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Reply #26 on: June 14, 2012, 07:37:47 AM

The only record I hold up for anything anymore is DiMaggio's hitting streak. It's one of the few truly pure records in sports that can't be overcome with medical anything.

Batters today are facing a much more active ball and pitchers with superior fitness and training making that streak a near impossibility to recreate.  Technology (ball, pitch counts, etc.) have altered that record as well.  Hell, the high salaries alone have made MLB pitching a much more competitive and global job than it ever was. 

"Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other."

-  Mark Twain
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Reply #27 on: June 14, 2012, 07:45:31 AM

I agree that the pitching has shifted a ton, but I think the specialization in many cases is actually hurting the game more than helping it. It's not a shock to me that the teams moving their starters to longer games and even complete games have more wins than the rest of the league this season.

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ghost
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Reply #28 on: June 14, 2012, 07:49:06 AM

It is a silly bike race. It was started as part of a political demonstration and an attempt to sell more newspapers in France. Cheating was ridiculous and the riders were beaten up by fans in the first running.

Why it was started is really fucking irrelevant.  

Have you tried riding up Mont Ventoux?  Have you ever rode a bike in the mountains, even tame mountains like in New Mexico?  It's amazing what some of these guys can do, doping or not.  It's anything but silly.

As to the other arguments-  I agree with Nebu that we should just let people dope if they want to.  It will eventually self regulate at a certain point on the risk/reward scale.  The powers in charge have already proven that they can't control it so might as well let it fly.  I read in a recent report somewhere that as many as 50% of MLB players use amphetamines or some other stimulants.  If even close to true it's a sham to bother trying to test people.  And if Armstrong was truly doping over his 500 tests (which I personally doubt that he could have done without help from the highest levels of the cycling sport) that is just more evidence.
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Reply #29 on: June 14, 2012, 08:04:50 AM

It is a silly bike race. It was started as part of a political demonstration and an attempt to sell more newspapers in France. Cheating was ridiculous and the riders were beaten up by fans in the first running.

Why it was started is really fucking irrelevant.

Bullshit. Why is was started, and the fact that people were rampantly cheating at the race's inception is very fucking relevant. It started with cheating, it's continued to support cheating, and it's never stopped being about cheating to this very day.

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ghost
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Reply #30 on: June 14, 2012, 08:06:36 AM

But it doesn't make it a silly bikerace.  It's a very fucking serious bikerace, with lots of money on the line (as you pointed out) and very serious risks to life and limb.

And even your points are not even remotely connected to why it was started.  You can say that there has always been cheating in the Tour de France, but the reasons behind its inception are still irrelevant to that point.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2012, 08:08:11 AM by ghost »
01101010
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Reply #31 on: June 14, 2012, 08:09:10 AM

Have you tried riding up Mont Ventoux?  Have you ever rode a bike in the mountains, even tame mountains like in New Mexico?  It's amazing what some of these guys can do, doping or not.  It's anything but silly.

It's also amazing that people climb Everest, or any fete of endurance/man-against-the-elements.

And if these guys are racing for the money and not the sport, they should not be in it to begin with... but that is another issue. The money is for sponsors and corporations backing certain contestants.

Even if you allow everyone to dope, it will have to come from a single source. Otherwise you will get companies competing to create the best drug combos for that specific event and more or less testing out on individual athletes. Then what happens when one or several have their hearts or heads explode on the track? The only real even playing field you can get is without outside enhancement - which then becomes about a person's biology/genetics. It is not a bad idea to let everyone dope across the board, but it becomes a nightmare when sponsors start influencing the contest because they can make a better drug paired with someone who is better able to handle the cocktail. Begs the question: can we manufacture athletes through drug enhancement? Or better yet, have we already?

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Paelos
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Reply #32 on: June 14, 2012, 08:09:43 AM

When you can't keep the participants from rampantly cheating, I think that makes it pretty silly. Your solution to just let them dope is even sillier.

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Nebu
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Reply #33 on: June 14, 2012, 08:17:25 AM

Your solution to just let them dope is even sillier.

When you say this, you should at least offer an explanation as to why you feel this way.  Otherwise it just seems condescending.

"Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other."

-  Mark Twain
Paelos
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Reply #34 on: June 14, 2012, 08:25:49 AM

Because for one thing it's not impossible to keep people from doping. MLB, despite the problems with the steroid era, has dramatically cleaned up the sport. The new influx of lower runs, lower ERAs, and more no-hitters is not an accident. Their tacit acceptance of doping did more to harm the sport than help it back in that era, and now they are slowly beginning to fix their issues.

Doping creates a gap between the common fan and the athelete. We want to believe that these people are great at what they do, and that we could do what they do if we had such talent. We don't need to have the inherent knowledge that the only way to be great is through drugs. Not only is that a terrible message for the next generation, but it's a terrible message about the human condition that we aren't good enough on our own merits anymore. It's the type of drug culture with prescriptions crap we're already falling into, and we don't need to just throw our hands up in sport.

It's the type of shit that Huxley warns us about in A Brave New World. That's engineering our athletes instead of just letting them compete. It's using drugs to replace or enhance any experience.

CPA, Sports blogger, Mount and Blade enthusiast
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