The media are still pretending that the west coast is 3 hours behind the east coast. Shhh. We’re not supposed to know this yet…
Yep, Lance was a doper. Which I could actually forgive (even though the seeking-Oprah’s-benediction thing is totally transparent), because the fact is the whole sport does it.
But Armstrong went out of his way to smear and try to destroy people who told the truth about him, and even won several large court judgments that we now know were obtained through fraud.
Some of those people are now suing him to get those judgments back. Floyd Landis has filed a federal whistle-blower suit against Armstrong for defrauding the US Post Office. His life has become … complex.
He’ll still come out of this with a lot of money, but nobody will ever forget the things he did to try to protect his kingdom of lies.
It’s also still a fact that he was an amazing cyclist, drugs or not. In a sport where — let’s face it — all the top athletes were doing everything they could to get a slight edge, Lance had much, much more than an edge.
On his best days, he dominated the field in a way very few cyclists ever have; the epic battles with Marco Pantani and Jan Ullrich, the time trials where he absolutely blew away the competition, the insane climbs in the Alps when he would get up on the pedals and dance, and just rocket away from the lead group like a cycling god.
But athletic talent and human decency don’t always correlate, and Lance Armstrong may be the prime example.
I can’t help wondering, though, if Sheryl Crow knew he was hitting the EPO.
Lance Armstrong dropped his fight against doping charges tonight:
Lance Armstrong called it quits late Thursday in his battle to end an investigation by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, a move that will most likely mean a lifetime ban for the seven-time Tour de France champion.
And an AP breaking news alert :
Breaking (10:45PM EDT): USADA to strip Lance Armstrong of 7 Tour de France titles, ban him from cycling for life.
AUSTIN, Texas - August 23rd, 2012 - There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, “Enough is enough.” For me, that time is now. I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999. Over the past three years, I have been subjected to a two-year federal criminal investigation followed by Travis Tygart’s unconstitutional witch hunt. The toll this has taken on my family, and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today – finished with this nonsense.
I had hoped that a federal court would stop USADA’s charade. Although the court was sympathetic to my concerns and recognized the many improprieties and deficiencies in USADA’s motives, its conduct, and its process, the court ultimately decided that it could not intervene.
If I thought for one moment that by participating in USADA’s process, I could confront these allegations in a fair setting and – once and for all – put these charges to rest, I would jump at the chance. But I refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair. Regardless of what Travis Tygart says, there is zero physical evidence to support his outlandish and heinous claims. The only physical evidence here is the hundreds of controls I have passed with flying colors. I made myself available around the clock and around the world. In-competition. Out of competition. Blood. Urine. Whatever they asked for I provided. What is the point of all this testing if, in the end, USADA will not stand by it?
From the beginning, however, this investigation has not been about learning the truth or cleaning up cycling, but about punishing me at all costs. I am a retired cyclist, yet USADA has lodged charges over 17 years old despite its own 8-year limitation. As respected organizations such as UCI and USA Cycling have made clear, USADA lacks jurisdiction even to bring these charges. The international bodies governing cycling have ordered USADA to stop, have given notice that no one should participate in USADA’s improper proceedings, and have made it clear the pronouncements by USADA that it has banned people for life or stripped them of their accomplishments are made without authority. And as many others, including USADA’s own arbitrators, have found, there is nothing even remotely fair about its process. USADA has broken the law, turned its back on its own rules, and stiff-armed those who have tried to persuade USADA to honor its obligations. At every turn, USADA has played the role of a bully, threatening everyone in its way and challenging the good faith of anyone who questions its motives or its methods, all at U.S. taxpayers’ expense. For the last two months, USADA has endlessly repeated the mantra that there should be a single set of rules, applicable to all, but they have arrogantly refused to practice what they preach. On top of all that, USADA has allegedly made deals with other riders that circumvent their own rules as long as they said I cheated. Many of those riders continue to race today.
The bottom line is I played by the rules that were put in place by the UCI, WADA and USADA when I raced. The idea that athletes can be convicted today without positive A and B samples, under the same rules and procedures that apply to athletes with positive tests, perverts the system and creates a process where any begrudged ex-teammate can open a USADA case out of spite or for personal gain or a cheating cyclist can cut a sweetheart deal for themselves. It’s an unfair approach, applied selectively, in opposition to all the rules. It’s just not right.
USADA cannot assert control of a professional international sport and attempt to strip my seven Tour de France titles. I know who won those seven Tours, my teammates know who won those seven Tours, and everyone I competed against knows who won those seven Tours. We all raced together. For three weeks over the same roads, the same mountains, and against all the weather and elements that we had to confront. There were no shortcuts, there was no special treatment. The same courses, the same rules. The toughest event in the world where the strongest man wins. Nobody can ever change that. Especially not Travis Tygart.
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 underserved communities. This October, my Foundation will celebrate 15 years of service to cancer survivors and the milestone of raising nearly $500 million. We have a lot of work to do and I’m looking forward to an end to this pointless distraction. I have a responsibility to all those who have stepped forward to devote their time and energy to the cancer cause. I will not stop fighting for that mission. 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.
Before the start of Stage 10 in the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong gave an in-depth interview to reporters about the recent doping allegations from Floyd Landis; VeloNews has a good report on it: Lance Armstrong hits back at systematic doping allegations, addresses ownership of USPS team.
Speaking to reporters in depth for the first time at this Tour de France about swirling accusations leveled by Floyd Landis, Lance Armstrong on Wednesday flatly denied being involved in systematic doping at the former U.S. Postal Service team for which both men rode.
“As long as I live, I will deny that,” he said before the start of stage 10. “There is absolutely no way I forced people, encouraged people, told people, helped people, facilitated… Absolutely not. One hundred percent.”
The New York Times reported Tuesday that federal investigators issued subpoenas to riders to appear before a grand jury regarding allegations of doping on the Postal team. No names have been revealed, and Armstrong said Wednesday he had not been subpoenaed nor contacted by Jeff Novitzky, an investigator for the Food & Drug Administration who is pursuing Landis’ claims. The New York Daily News on Wednesday reported that team sponsor Trek Bicycle received a subpoena.
As for what other USPS riders may or may not have done, Armstrong said that was beyond his control.
“I can’t speak to what they did themselves,” he said to reporters outside the RadioShack team bus. “I can’t control that. It would be like me asking you, do you think there is any abuse of performance enhancing drugs in the NFL in the offensive line? Most people would say probably yes. But does that mean that (NFL quarterback) Peyton Manning is guilty? I mean, I can’t control what other riders do. I really can’t.”
He also said he did not believe any former USPS rider would corroborate Landis’ claims that Armstrong doped while on the team, and along with team director Johan Bruyneel, taught Landis how to dope.
The Atlantic Wire has reactions to Lance Armstrong’s poor performance in yesterday’s stage of the Tour de France.
Today is a rest day, and Armstrong and the rest of the peloton will need it. Tomorrow’s Stage 9 is a real beast, with two Category 1 climbs and one “beyond category” (HC) climb, up the legendary Col de la Madeleine.
Bottom line: Lance Armstrong probably isn’t going to make it to the podium in this year’s Tour de France. This morning was the first serious mountain stage, with two very difficult Category 1 climbs, and Armstrong couldn’t hang. He ended up almost 12 minutes behind in the General Classification.
And there are several more difficult climbing stages in the Alps coming up this week. Unless Armstrong makes an incredible recovery, he may have to grit his teeth and be happy with winning seven Tours in a row.
If you’ve been watching the Tour de France, I don’t think it will be a spoiler to let you know that at today’s finish the three men standing on the podium were the ones who’ve been leading for the past week — Contador, Schleck, and Armstrong, in that order: Contador crowned Tour champion.
Although the disagreements never really surfaced in public (unlike Greg LeMond’s legendary feud with Bernard Hinault), there isn’t much camaraderie between Lance Armstrong and teammate Alberto Contador; Armstrong skipped Contador’s victory party on Saturday night.
British sprinter Mark Cavendish won the final stage on the Champs Elysees, his sixth stage win of the Tour. I know Lance says it’s not about the bike, but it doesn’t hurt when your bike looks really fast.
Alberto Contador collected the final yellow jersey of the 2009 Tour de France on Sunday as Mark Cavendish won the 21st and final stage on the Champs-Élysées.
“The Tour is the hardest race in the world, but this year it was particularly difficult. That’s why I am so happy,” said the Astana captain after finishing the 96th Tour with 4:11 over Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) and 5:24 over teammate Lance Armstrong.
The runner-up credited his brother for his success. “I owe part of this achievement to my brother Fränk, who for three weeks sacrificed himself trying to help me,” said the younger Schleck.
As for Armstrong, the seven-time Tour champ said he had no regrets about finishing third. “I came here to do my best and I came across some guys who were clearly better than me,” he said. “I don’t have any regrets. I got put out a couple of times, but considering my age and recent racing, it’s not a bad performance overall.”
Here’s the official Tour de France Summary of the Day video, complete with French accent:
The Tour de France is heading into the final stretch, and Lance Armstrong is still within striking distance of the win — but he’ll have to really dig deep to surpass Astana teammate Alberto Contador, who is looking incredibly strong this year, rocketing away from the pack on difficult climbs: Lance Armstrong drops to fourth as Alberto Contador moves closer to Tour de France title.
LE GRAND BORNAND, France — Alberto Contador tightened his grip on the Tour de France when he survived attacks by the Schleck brothers in the 105.3-mile 17th Stage on Wednesday.
The Spaniard was the only rider strong enough to stay with Luxembourg’s Frank and Andy Schleck in the last two of five climbs and the three finished together, Frank winning the stage ahead of the Tour leader and his younger sibling.
If the brothers’ repeated strikes could not wear down the 2007 Tour champion, the did hurt Lance Armstrong and Briton Bradley Wiggins, who lost touch in the hardest climb of the day, the Col de Romme.
Armstrong finished 2 minutes, 18 seconds adrift, which was not enough for him to keep his place on the podium.
Contador now leads Andy Schleck by 2:26 with Frank Schleck third, 3:25 behind.
Seven-time Tour champion Armstrong slipped to fourth, 3:55 behind. Wiggins, who was third at the start, sixth, 4:53 adrift.
ESPN has a cool Flash-based Tour de France Tracker with lots of info on the race.
Today’s stage of the Tour de France started in Barcelona on a beautiful route that finished with one of the first real climbs, and this is where the eventual leaders started to take charge. Fabian Cancellara couldn’t hang with the climbers, and lost the yellow jersey: Feillu wins stage 7, Nocentini grabs yellow and Contador asserts supremacy.
We may be in for an epic battle between Astana team members Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong. Contador attacked in the final climb today, gaining 20 seconds on Armstrong; after the race, Armstrong said that wasn’t the plan, but he wasn’t surprised.
UPDATE at 7/10/09 1:42:57 pm:
Here’s today’s official TdF video of the stage:
Velonews has a good account of today’s team time trial at the Tour de France, in which Lance Armstrong and his Astana team won the stage and came within a fraction of a second of taking the yellow jersey. If anyone still doubted Lance could make a comeback, he ended all the speculation today.
Team Astana blazed through the team time trial to win stage 4. Astana came across the line 40 seconds ahead of the Saxo Bank squad of race leader Fabian Cancellara — the exact margin by which Cancellara led Lance Armstrong on general classification. After some careful math by race officials, Cancellara now holds the yellow jersey by a fraction of a second over Armstrong.
Garmin-Slipstream finished second on the day, 18 seconds down.
Astana came into the stage with four riders in the top 10 thanks to their time trialing ability, and that strength showed again on the 39km stage around Montpellier. Held largely on narrow roads, the technical course featured more than a few dicey corners that put riders from several teams on the ground.