Recently the USADA (Anti-Doping Agency) announced Lance was back under investigation, faces sanctions and is banned from competing in triathlons. This just after Federal Prosecutors announced they were dropping changes.
Armstrong responded, “I have been notified that USADA, an organization largely funded by taxpayer dollars but governed only by self-written rules, intends to again dredge up discredited allegations dating back more than 16 years to prevent me from competing as a triathlete and try and strip me of the seven Tour de France victories I earned. These are the very same charges and the same witnesses that the Justice Department chose not to pursue after a two-year investigation. These charges are baseless, motivated by spite and advanced through testimony bought and paid for by promises of anonymity and immunity.”
Speaking of spite, VeloNews reported longtime Armstrong detractor — and wife of former Motorola/U.S. Postal rider Frankie Andreu — Betsy Andreu was disappointed by the Federal Prosecutors decision to drop charges against Armstrong. She must be delighted at the news from the USADA. Betsy is probably pissed her husband was a super-domestique and not a super-star. Oh that and the fact her husband got busted for doping as well.
These latest charges stem from Lance’s comeback attempts in 2009/2010 where he didn’t fare as well as previous attempts.
USADA alleged it had collected blood samples from Armstrong in 2009 and 2010 that were “fully consistent with blood manipulation including EPO use and/or blood transfusions.” Keep in mind Lance’s Tour de France wins are between 1998-2005. Normally a race can only be called into question within 8 years; so this would be the USADA’s last chance to bring up accusations. They also are relying on the testimony of two known dopers, Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis. Hamilton and Landis both denied doping once caught and then after mounting evidence conceded their guilt.
In response Armstrong said, “I have never doped, and, unlike many of my accusers, I have competed as an endurance athlete for 25 years with no spike in performance, passed more than 500 drug tests and never failed one.”
Many people figure that Lance Armstrong must be doping since many of the athletes he beat were using performance-enhancing substances and drug use was rampant in cycling at the time. Most of this is sour grapes. The French authorities have always been upset that an American upstart came and demolished every European in the race. In 500 tests they didn’t find any evidence of wrongdoing. If the USADA did find evidence back in 2009 why not press charges then?
Chances are they will not be able to make these changes stick, and the charges need to stick if they expect to strip him of the 7 Tours. But it begs the question, “who cares if Lance Armstrong doped?” Seriously, digging it up now will only hurt the cycling world.
photo: Mark Gunter