The Lance Armstrong Saga

What bicyclists around the world failed to do, Travis Tygart and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency did. On August 24, 2012, after failing to agree to accept arbitration from the agency, the agency announced it would strip Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France victories.

In an official statement Lance Armstrong announced that he will no longer fight the US Anti-Doping Agency over doping allegations. ‘There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, “Enough is enough.” For me, that time is now.’

Armstrong has faced accusations for years over illegal blood transfusions and anabolic steroid, growth hormone and erythropoietin (EPO) drug use. He and has consistently been able to either avoid tests for these substances or passed them for those that were given. At the 1999 Tour, he failed a test for a corticosteroid but produced a doctor’s note indicating that the drug had been used for therapeutic reasons. The government investigated him and filed no charges. The anti-doping agency picked up the baton.

The sports version of Jean Veljean, Tygart, decided that he needed to protect and clean the sport. He wasn't concerned about enforcing criminal laws. Tygar claimed “Our investigation into doping in the sport of cycling is continuing and we look forward to obtaining the information developed during the federal investigation.” This was a reference to Floyd Landis, a former teammate, who claimed in 2010 that Armstrong and other riders on the Postal Service team engaged in systematic doping.

Landis won the 2006 Tour de France only to have the title stripped after he tested positive for testosterone.

This is the kind of proof used to support the USADA's conclusions. The world of public opinion should refuse to accept your punishment.

On his Tour de France days, ‘I know who won those seven Tours, my team mates know who won those seven Tours, and everyone I competed against knows who won those seven Tours". ‘Today I turn the page. I will no longer address this issue, regardless of the circumstances. I will commit myself to the work I began before ever winning a single Tour de France title: serving people and families affected by cancer, especially those in under-served communities. Going forward, I am going to devote myself to raising my five beautiful (and energetic) kids, fighting cancer, and attempting to be the fittest 40-year old on the planet.’

In my opinion it appears Lance Armstrong definitely used erythropoietin (EPO), probably used growth hormone and surely had designer steroids offered to him. Using any of these drugs, which are described elsewhere, is cheating. That's the rules. But proving it is the sport's responsibility and their agencies failed.

Word of mouth, even eyewitness testimonoy is not enough to warrant their decree.

Proof. Irrefutable proof. That is what is needed. And they don't have it.

There are many instance in which referees have lost a title for a team or player. Instances recorded and reviewed. Clear as day. But never has a game been reversed.

Let Armstrong go. He beat the USADA and is entitled to his victory.

 

But for someone who cheated death, the turmoil that would follow if it were discovered by the incompetent agencies that monitored him, that he cheated would pale beside the accomplishment of winning even one race. Never mind seven.

For him, the decision was probably a no-brainer.

Lance Armstrong, in my opinion, is the greatest cyclist ever. The advantages he gained from the drugs are insignificant. At least when it is compared to the dangerous drugs he took in fighting cancer.

If anyone else had done this, I would be the first to condemn them but for a cancer survivir to use drugs to live is ok, but to win a race it is not.

Armstrong's case is so different from all the other cheaters that the anti-doping agencies should cut him some slack. Who is the new winner. Are you sure he didn't cheat. Who would believe the agency now?

The US Anti-doping Agency (USADA) and the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) are the regulators who monitor and enforce the rules. They have continuously been one step behind the cheaters.

 

Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong was born in Texas in 1971 and named for Lance Retzel, at the time, a receiver with the Dallas Cowboys. He began riding a bicycle early in life and by the time he was twenty, turned pro.

By the age of twenty-five, Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer, which had already spread to his lungs, abdomen and brain.  He chose an alternative chemo-therapy regimen in order to avoid the lung toxicity associated with standard treatment.  He also required surgeries to remove the brain tumors and the diseased testicle, which started the disease.

After defeating cancer, Lance Armstrong resumed his training and defeated his former rivals to win the the Tour de France. The victory was the first of seven, all consecutive.

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