By spokesman | January 24, 2011
Sports Illustrated is publishing an article this week entitled “The Case Against Lance Armstrong” discussing the FDA investigation into whether Lance Armstrong used performance enhancing drugs. The article presents a lot of unsubstantiated anecdotes and rumors as facts. It is such poor journalism that I will be canceling my subscription right after the swimsuit issue arrives. Many of the allegations in the article are the same ones discussed in the book - From Lance to Landis: Inside the American Doping Controversy at the Tour de France. The book primarily documents an investigation of Lance Armstrong by an insurance company that was trying to use evidence of doping to get out of paying off an insurance contract purchased by the USPS for bonus to Lance Armstrong. I have read the book, and despite a tremendous amount of details, discussions of depositions and second or third hand descriptions of conversations, the book fails to make a compelling case. In fact, the insurance company came to the same conclusion and paid the bonus to Lance. The current federal investigation is also discussed in a recent article in Outside Magazine. The only thing new in the Sports Illustrated article is some information from Floyd Landis, and we all know about his stellar reputation. Landis doped, Landis got caught, Landis lied about it (including under oath in civil depositions and in court) and now suddenly he is the source of all truth. Is Landis talking now to avoid prosecution for perjury?
Lance have been tested throughout his entire career. He was tested randomly during races and the off-season. He was tested as part of the protocol after each of his stage wins in the Tour De France. If you add up all the vials of blood that he supplied, testers have probably drained all of the blood in his body. The organizations who tested him found plenty of other people who doped. Yet Lance never failed a test. The Sports Illustrated article and other publications claimed he had failed tests or have published data on tests indicating he exceeded permissible test thresholds, but the simple fact is that no race organization has produced a test that he failed or published the data. These same organization caught Landis and Contador (among others) but never Lance. Given the length of Lance’s career and his wins, he probably took more tests than Landis and Contador combined. The obvious conclusion is that he didn’t dope.
It is a waste of taxpayer money to investigate Lance. This is not like baseball where there was no real league wide testing program and the league operated under a Government granted anti-trust exemption. Cycling has aggressively been testing athletes for years. The outlandish justification that if Lance doped, he had defrauded the Government since the US Postal Service was the lead team sponsor is bogus. The Postal Service is no longer a Federal agency like the Department of Treasury. Any issues should be pursued as a civil case involving a commercial entity. Under any circumstances, it is a stretch for the FDA to be leading this investigation. It is not part of their mission as shown on the FDA website.
The real question to investigate about Lance is not “why he rides his bike fast?” but rather “how is riding a bike at all?”. In 1996, he was diagnosed with stage III testicular cancer. The cancer spread to his lungs, abdomen and brain. After surgery and chemotherapy, he has been cancer free ever since. That is the amazing thing about Lance Armstrong. The FDA or the National Institutes of Health should be studying him to understand his cancer recovery. That would be a worthwhile endeavor that might actually help some people. As a taxpayer, that is the investigation that I would rather be funding.
Topics: Professional Racing |