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« Bicycle Rights Video | Home | Lance Armstrong and Rahm Emanuel »

The Case For Lance Armstrong

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.

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Topics: Professional Racing |

4 Responses to “The Case For Lance Armstrong”

  1. Invisiblehand Says:
    January 24th, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    You’re right that this is a waste of time and resources. Instead it is more about Novitzky’s personal agenda than anything else. But I in regards to whether Lance doped or not, there are different levels of proof: “beyond a reasonably doubt”, “the proponderance of the evidence”, and so on. I’m not sure whether he would be guilty by the highest standards. That said, the circumstantial and eyewitness testimony are suggestive.

    I’ve actually concluded that everyone — including Lance — has in all likelihood been doping. There was an excellent article in Scientific American a few years back on steriods and such with a specific emphasis on cycling. It convinced me that doping leads to large performance gains in cycling and that no one could win without doping. But I doubt that the argument would hold up in court.

  2. Bob P. Says:
    January 25th, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    <p>Thanks for this excellent analysis of the data. I agree whole-heartedly.</p>

  3. mountain bikes Says:
    February 3rd, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    I totally agree with your point. Nice blog, by the way.

  4. denise Says:
    February 18th, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Interesting posts about the doping and others too. Can you explain more about why baseball doping went in front of congress but the cycling is not worth taxpayer money? I never understood why congress cared about baseball doping! Thanks and keep up the good work.

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