January 31, 2013

Cycling News to Lance Armstrong: "When you came into the sport, it probably wasn't to dope, it wasn't to cheat..."

"... but at what point, specifically, did you realize that was how cycling worked and that the governing body weren't dealing with the situation?"

Armstrong: "My generation was no different than any other. The 'help' has evolved over the years but the fact remains that our sport is damn hard, the Tour was invented as a 'stunt, and very tough mother f**kers have competed for a century and all looked for advantages. From hopping on trains a 100 years ago to EPO now. No generation was exempt or 'clean'. Not Merckx's, not Hinault's, not LeMond's, not Coppi's, not Gimondi's, not Indurain's, not Anquetil's, not Bartali's, and not mine."

46 comments:

Jim said...

Preach on Brother Lance. I'm tired of all of the hypocrisy. It's only cheating if you get caught using the technology available when you competed.

Shouting Thomas said...

Armstrong is undoubtedly right, although that's still a piss poor defense.

A-Rod, after the weepy confession about prior doping, seems to be doping again.

The Yankees are trying to find a way to dump his contract. NY sportswriters agree... The real issue isn't A-Rod's ridiculous contract, or his doping. The real issue is that he is no longer a franchise player who can take the Yankees to a championship.

carrie said...

I always wonder about LeMond. He was Armstrong's loudest critic, but I can't help but believe that he is in the same boat as Armstrong when it comes to outside advantages. I think that LeMond was just lucky not to get caught.

carrie said...

I always wonder about LeMond. He was Armstrong's loudest critic, but I can't help but believe that he is in the same boat as Armstrong when it comes to outside advantages. I think that LeMond was just lucky not to get caught.

Henry said...

Quote: I'd say that if you are alive today and you podiumed in a GT, WC, or Grand Tour then you should be called.

Lance Armstrong is still a competitive mother fucker, that's for sure. Go for the jugular. Smear everyone.

But I actually agree with him on the idea of a TRC.

Shouting Thomas said...

Everybody in Chicago knew that Sammy Sosa was juicing. How could you not?

His head and body blew up to the size where he looked like a cartoon character. Same with Mark McGwire.

Baseball featured these two obvious juicers as the heroes of the great "comeback" of baseball in 1998.

And, everybody knew they were juicers. So, Armstrong is correct.

Craig said...

A beer in the clubhouse before the game in 1927 was clearly in violation of the Volstead Act, yet some players claim it helped them relax and focus on the movement of the ball as it approached the plate.

Patrick said...

Sounds like more bullshit from Armstrong. "Everyone cheated, they're no better than me." This asshole destroyed a lot of people while keeping us his charade. If he had any character and was truly repentant, he'd just shut up and go away.

He says LeMond cheated? Sorry Lance. You're the last guy I'm going to listen to.

Kit said...

If other's need to be called-out, I say do it. Let's pull the curtain back and really see what's happened over time.

wyo sis said...

From what I have observed about dedicated cyclists Armstrong represents them well. Selfish and ego driven.

m stone said...

What Patrick said.

Paul Brinkley said...

Sometimes I feel like this issue is a welcome break from politics, since so many voiced opinions end up being "well, I dunno..." and "on the other hand...".

I agree with carrie that LeMond ought to be tested, given his vocalism. In fact, sure: test everyone who podiumed. But why stop there? Why not test everyone for TdF, since it's such a high profile event? Is it a logistical issue? Or is it fear of what it may reveal? "If you test positive for steroids in the Tour, you have a problem. If thirty people test positive, the Tour has a problem."

Not only that, but there's the general problem of "which drug is a bad drug". Are vitamin supplements all right? Why? What if something is invented that rides the line between "ought to be okay" and "undue advantage"? What's "undue"? I fear it will be based on what's detectable, or worse, on what everyone thinks one athlete could use simply because that athlete had rich friends. Makes NASCAR look tame by comparison.

Friend of mine and I were discussing this a few weeks ago. We're about ready for a "no drugs barred" event. Do whatever you want to make your body perform, short of an easily checked mass allowance or external power sources. The only risk for you to worry about is your personal health; everything's voluntary. Let's see what some megacorp manages to produce then. Bring on the freaks.

Mark said...

What Patrick said. People need to let Lance know what it is like to have no one care, no one run his story.

This is still all the Lance Armstrong show, just as he wants it. Irrelevancy is what he deserves.

PETER V. BELLA said...

For once he is probably telling the truth.

Lem said...

The Clintonian everybody does it defense.

Larry J said...

He says LeMond cheated? Sorry Lance. You're the last guy I'm going to listen to.

I don't know if he's specifically saying LeMond cheated or not. He is saying that cyclists of LeMond's generation did cheat and I doubt he's wrong.

It's true that he caused a lot of grief for people who tried to expose his cheating. That's inexcusible. But his point about everyone cheating appears to be pretty accurate. From what I've read, there are no declared TdF winners for those 7 years because the guys who came in second also were caught doping. How far down the leader board would you have to go to find the first finisher who didn't dope?

Perhaps cycling should just ignore the farce of enforcement and allow doping. If everyone is really doing it then it isn't cheating. If they ruin their health, that was their choice.

AustinRoth said...

I am still of the opinion that while I have been a long-time fan of cycling (before even LeMond), it has indeed always been a 'dirty' sport. He is 100% correct there.

But that has not been my issue with him. No other championship level rider, when accused of cheating, ever went out with an agenda or personal destruction and ruin of everyone who dared speak the truth.

That is the unforgivable aspect to me, and many others I have spoken with here in Austin and elsewhere.

Forgiving the doping is easy.

Forgiving the wanton destruction of innocent people who simply spoke the truth is impossible, at least without some real contrition and amends on his part towards them.

MayBee said...

Once cheating becomes widespread, those who don't want to cheat end up being forced to cheat or quit. Armstrong was in the aggressive cheater category, while others may be in the reluctant cheater category.

If doping is what the sport wants, all cyclists should refuse to compete until it is made legal.

furious_a said...

Sorry Lance. You're the last guy I'm going to listen to.

This needs to run in the scroll in every TV interview and as a disclaimer in every magazine interview featuring Armstrong.

Armstrong, before he fades/is indicted/is sued/all-of-the-above, will try to take his sport and contemporaries down with him. Sort of a sports family annihilator.

Re: Lemond -- Armstrong's already destroyed Lemond's bike-building business, what more does he want from the poor guy?

furious_a said...

Professional cycling's sponsors need to collectively grow a pair and put a marquee event like le Tour on hiatus while the sport cleans itself up.

It used to be we rooted for individuals or teams or countrymen. Anymore, to paraphrase Seinfeld, we're rooting for pharmacies.

mccullough said...

Time for Lance to take his ball and go home.

Mitchell the Bat said...

Why am I thinking of that argument that political corruption is a drag on the economy?

Michael said...

There is nothing said in this interview that doesn't strike me as being true. He does not name anyone else, just makes the point that doping has been widespread for a long time. Anybody that thinks that Armstrong was the only one on the podium with him who never took drugs is not someone who follows cycling or knows the sport. His suggestion of a truth commission sort of airing of the abuses is a good one and perhaps the only way to "clean up" the sport and start afresh.

sonicfrog said...

But that has not been my issue with him. No other championship level rider, when accused of cheating, ever went out with an agenda or personal destruction and ruin of everyone who dared speak the truth.

Nail... Meet head. Armstrong didn't just lie and try and slink away, he very actively took a personal interest in destroying the careers and lives of those who were telling the truth. The Armstrong organization became a cycling mafia. That to me is much worse than the cheating, not that I excuse that either.

On LeMond... Could he have cheated and doped???

Sure. It's possible.

But, unlike Armstrong, there are no shady characters around him. His career arc, he won when he was younger, faded as he got older, does not suggest doping, at least as a way of competitive life.

PS. I'm biased! I ride a LeMond bike. It's pretty sweet! :-)

Michael said...

wyo sis: I think you are right about the ego thing with pro cyclists. But remember that most of these guys are high school (if that) drop outs, poorly educated and often from working class backgrounds in underdeveloped countries. The peleton is not paid particularly well for showing up and only makes a decent living if they are on a winning team where awards are spread among the domestiques as well as the stars. It is a very interesting culture, one drawn in many ways to suffering.

furious_a said...

His suggestion of a truth commission sort of airing of the abuses is a good one and perhaps the only way to "clean up" the sport and start afresh.

...and since doping charges force the accused to prove their innocence, all Lemond needs to do is provide a 23-year-old blood sample (last Tour win 1990) for testing. No problemo.

Mitchell the Bat said...

Fortunately for us all, to this very day, the noblest of all sporting events, Olympic weightlifting, remains untainted by PEDS.

tiger said...

geeze, I'm getting sick of driving a *car* in Winter, whyTF would I want to ride a bicycle in 10 degree weather?

Farking hipsters.

edutcher said...

The Willie Defense, "Ah'm not so bayud. Look at ol' Vitter. He dun it, too".

(of course, Vitter didn't wait to get caught to apologize...)

Original Mike said...

I think he's saying it was Bush's fault.

Cedarford said...

Shouting Thomas said...
Everybody in Chicago knew that Sammy Sosa was juicing. How could you not?

His head and body blew up to the size where he looked like a cartoon character. Same with Mark McGwire.

Baseball featured these two obvious juicers as the heroes of the great "comeback" of baseball in 1998.

And, everybody knew they were juicers. So, Armstrong is correct.

==================
Dead on true - and all the managers, fellow players, GMs that gave them "incentive based power statistics compensation and hired them in after they bulked up", and sportswriters that were shocked!, shocked! and appalled as well are fucking liars.
They knew.
Not just Sosa and McGwire, but hundreds in the Majors and minor leagues.

As for people that claim to be knowledgable sports fans - STFU!! Either you are clueless or like Armstrong said, you were part of the "everyone with a brain knew and didn't care" as long as the winning and the stinking "spectacular records!!" continued.

Shocked! that steroids and HGH and PEDs are sucked down like candy in the NFL?
STFU. You knew and don't care as long as Green Bay or the Giants or whomever wins.

Its basically the Free Market for Freedom Lovers, and that even includes the hairy huge East German swimmers.
As long as you dangle glory, keeping your job, and possible huge rewards bestowed on you by a grateful nation or private corporation that has you on contract on athletes, even workers - you have every fucking incentive in the world to cheat. For many people, the choice is even simpler - cheat or you don't make the big show because without juice, the scouts and hiring managers won't take a look..Choice is "drug-free" and working as muscle for a celebrity guard service at 40K a year, or you get the 3-year, 1.1 million annual NFL linebacker gig.

If it was outside sports, and say your coke-snorting, steroid using CEO believed that the best execs have ripped muscled massively bods...and do lines to clear their minds for business - and only hired in coke users and juicers to 550K a year exec ranks from the "pool of potential" candidates making 85K a year???? Provided his hirees didn't get caught??
Can you say there would be a huge interest in coke, PEDs, steroids, and wannabe execs going to shady expert consultants and paying them to learn how to avoid being caught in testing programs??

Look, outside sports, the militaries have long had interest in and use of performance enhancing drugs.
From feeding bomber pilots and tankers on the move for days without sleep methamphetamines and giving snipers beta blockers to the great interest in special ops in getting their guys up to Lance Armstrong levels.
To jihadis using drugs to fight better, to great Chinese and Russian interest in PEDs for select troops.

Even clean sports like golf and tennis rely on doctors, prescriptions for "cortisone, testosterone based drugs that heal injuries but ooops...also enhance strength and stamina"...Tiger Woods has a hyperbaric oxygen chamber he used to accelerate his healing and some tennis athletes are going with that as well to aid in muscle repair to shorten recuperation time back to 100% after grueling or high heat matches.

bpm4532 said...

It says something about a man who willingly participates in a sport feeling he is required to violate the rules to succeed and lie about it.

Cedarford said...

Shouting Thomas said...
Everybody in Chicago knew that Sammy Sosa was juicing. How could you not?

His head and body blew up to the size where he looked like a cartoon character. Same with Mark McGwire.

Baseball featured these two obvious juicers as the heroes of the great "comeback" of baseball in 1998.

And, everybody knew they were juicers. So, Armstrong is correct.

==================
Dead on true - and all the managers, fellow players, GMs that gave them "incentive based power statistics compensation and hired them in after they bulked up", and sportswriters that were shocked!, shocked! and appalled as well are fucking liars.
They knew.
Not just Sosa and McGwire, but hundreds in the Majors and minor leagues.

As for people that claim to be knowledgable sports fans - STFU!! Either you are clueless or like Armstrong said, you were part of the "everyone with a brain knew and didn't care" as long as the winning and the stinking "spectacular records!!" continued.

Shocked! that steroids and HGH and PEDs are sucked down like candy in the NFL?
STFU. You knew and don't care as long as Green Bay or the Giants or whomever wins.

Its basically the Free Market for Freedom Lovers, and that even includes the hairy huge East German swimmers.
As long as you dangle glory, keeping your job, and possible huge rewards bestowed on you by a grateful nation or private corporation that has you on contract on athletes, even workers - you have every fucking incentive in the world to cheat. For many people, the choice is even simpler - cheat or you don't make the big show because without juice, the scouts and hiring managers won't take a look..Choice is "drug-free" and working as muscle for a celebrity guard service at 40K a year, or you get the 3-year, 1.1 million annual NFL linebacker gig.

If it was outside sports, and say your coke-snorting, steroid using CEO believed that the best execs have ripped muscled massively bods...and do lines to clear their minds for business - and only hired in coke users and juicers to 550K a year exec ranks from the "pool of potential" candidates making 85K a year???? Provided his hirees didn't get caught??
Can you say there would be a huge interest in coke, PEDs, steroids, and wannabe execs going to shady expert consultants and paying them to learn how to avoid being caught in testing programs??

Look, outside sports, the militaries have long had interest in and use of performance enhancing drugs.
From feeding bomber pilots and tankers on the move for days without sleep methamphetamines and giving snipers beta blockers to the great interest in special ops in getting their guys up to Lance Armstrong levels.
To jihadis using drugs to fight better, to great Chinese and Russian interest in PEDs for select troops.

Even clean sports like golf and tennis rely on doctors, prescriptions for "cortisone, testosterone based drugs that heal injuries but ooops...also enhance strength and stamina"...Tiger Woods has a hyperbaric oxygen chamber he used to accelerate his healing and some tennis athletes are going with that as well to aid in muscle repair to shorten recuperation time back to 100% after grueling or high heat matches.

Michael said...

furious_a: I think you misunderstand the idea of a truth commission. It would be a forum for people to "confess" their doping openly but without recourse to legal or financial reprisals. It would not involve submitting to drug tests. Conceptually one or two leading riders would set the stage and others, hopefully many others, would follow suit. It would be, is, in the riders' best interest to stop doping and reset the playing field. Anyone who follows the sport has seen that after the first major doping scandal a few years ago the times on various legs of the TdF slowed for one or two legs of the race. Then they began to go faster including on the climbs. Anyone with eyes knew that the riders were doping again. You cannot ride long distances at 40kph and then step up to nearly 50kph without "help."

Levi Starks said...

At what point did The Tour De France riders discover that smoking cigarettes probably wasn't enhancing their performance?

Michael said...

"It says something about a man who willingly participates in a sport feeling he is required to violate the rules to succeed and lie about it."

Says more, wouldn't you think, about the sport? Remember that over the course of three weeks in the TDF, after cycling more than a thousand miles, the time difference between first and second place is often less than one minute. Remember too that all three of the podium finishers over all those years of Armstrong's winning were dopers.

X said...

still don't care about your "cheating" Lance. still do think you're an asshole for trying to ruin people who told the truth. that's the takeaway of who you really are.

Colonel Angus said...

This is much ado about nothing. Performance enhancing drugs in a professional sporting event?

Insert Captain Renault line here.

DADvocate said...

Armstrong's right about cycling. I began following the Tour de France in the 1960s when I was in high school. I had read about it and thought it was really neat.

During the 1970s and 1980s I rode avidly myself. 60 mile jaunts were common. I also subscribed to "Bicycling" magazine where I learned the French and other Europeans to a lesser degree hated Americans in cycling. When LeMond won, they hated him. That's the main reason I doubted accusations coming from the Europeans. Many of them would sabotage any American if they thought they could get away with it.

SteveR said...

Lance Armstrong deserves all manner of criticism and disdain. I don't think he expects otherwise or is offering an excuse, But to the extent anyone cares about cycling (I don't) what he's saying is its not pure and never has been. Forget about the messenger, what about the message?

Crunchy Frog said...

How far down the leader board would you have to go to find the first finisher who didn't dope?

If you eliminated everyone who has been implicated in PED use (and not just those who has been caught) - 27th place.

Michael said...

Crunchy Frog: Yes, but only because the authorities never bothered testing middle or back of pack riders. The lowliest domestique still had to keep up with the elites to perform their duties. Granted they had the benefit of a peleton in front of them, pulling them, but those positions likely needed "help" too.

Methadras said...

I say, let them all dope if they want to. It would level the playing field.

MayBee said...

Once cheating becomes widespread, those who don't want to cheat end up being forced to cheat or quit. Armstrong was in the aggressive cheater category, while others may be in the reluctant cheater category.

If doping is what the sport wants, all cyclists should refuse to compete until it is made legal.

MayBee said...

Once cheating becomes widespread, those who don't want to cheat end up being forced to cheat or quit. Armstrong was in the aggressive cheater category, while others may be in the reluctant cheater category.

If doping is what the sport wants, all cyclists should refuse to compete until it is made legal.

DEEBEE said...

My predecessors made me do it. Give that man a presidency.