January 5, 2013

"Cyclist Lance Armstrong considering public confession to drug use..."

Isn't that already a confession? But it sounds like what he's talking about doing is saying whatever it is he needs to say to get back into the sport:
The World Anti-Doping Agency code says athletes who fully confess to doping might be eligible for a reduced punishment. Armstrong hopes to compete in triathlons and other events, but many of those are sanctioned by athletic organizations that have agreed to the WADA code.
Should he get another shot... I mean... chance?
“Does he think people are completely stupid?” asked Betsy Andreu, whom the cyclist vilified as a bitter and vindictive woman because she testified in a court case that she had heard Armstrong tell his cancer physicians that he had used performance-enhancing drugs. Her husband, former Armstrong teammate Frankie Andreu, was denied jobs in the sport because he refused to lie for Armstrong, according to the damning report released by the United States Anti-Doping Agency in October that detailed the cyclist’s drug use.

“This guy is like a Mafia don,” she added. “Will he apologize to all the people who wouldn’t lie for him? Will he compensate people for costing them jobs and businesses? How do you put a price on lost opportunities?”
It's not hard to read between the lines there. Armstrong needs to hand out a lot of compensation to everyone he hurt, enough to make them back off.
“Will he pay Christophe millions of dollars for forcing him out of the sport?” Andreu asked, referring to Christophe Bassons. Bassons has said that Armstrong threatened him because he suggested banned drugs fueled Armstrong’s comeback from cancer.
“Will he compensate (Tour de France champion) Greg LeMond for ruining his bicycle business? Will he apologize to Emma (O’Reilly, Armstrong’s former masseuse) for calling her a prostitute? Forgiving doesn’t mean being a doormat. Being a Christian doesn’t mean allowing people to profit from their crimes.”
Armstrong needs to do the math. How much money does he have? How much money could he possibly make if he gets back into sports at his advanced age?


Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I'd advise Mr. Armstrong to stop dicking around and get to work autographing all those yellow bracelets.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Who cares?

It is said that golf is a good walk, spoiled.

Well, competitive cycling is a nice bike ride, spoiled.

I would think that about the last important thing about a bicycle is how fast you can ride it for how long.

Slow down. Smell the roses.

Anonymous said...

Armstrong will never give up the money.

Carol said...

Huh, I knew there was no love lost between LA and Lemond, but I didn't know Lemond's business was ruined...

KCFleming said...

He should run for office, the second act for scoundrels.

Oso Negro said...

He has a cultish following here in Texas. Despicable.

J.R. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J.R. said...

He merely wishes to compete, the money could not possibly be his motivation.

KCFleming said...

At least he still has high self esteem.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

There isn't much money in triathlons. I suspect Armstrong (despite anyone's opinion of him) genuinely wants to compete.
I know... I know - will he be clean?
I don't fully understand how the drug testing world works. It mystifies me that he got away with doping for so long.

edutcher said...

The creditors are at the door.

Michael said...

A "confession" might be in order if for no other reason than to clarify the fact that one cannot (or could not) win at professional bicycling without doping. Armstrong is too old to compete in road racing at a high level with or without drugs so any "confession" will be a statement that will doubtless condemn the entire sport.

Icepick said...

Her husband, former Armstrong teammate Frankie Andreu, was denied jobs in the sport because he refused to lie for Armstrong, according to the damning report released by the United States Anti-Doping Agency in October that detailed the cyclist’s drug use.

Did Armstrong put the whammy on Andreu, or did people in a 'dirty' sport not want to hire someone who was know to fink to the authorities? If the cheating in cycling was a pervasive as it appears to have been, why would anyone want to hire someone that would rat them out?

Unknown said...

If confessing is the path to reentering the sport then no one should be surprised that he's confessing.

Lipperman said...

He will be considered the bĂȘte noir of cycling if he returns, for sure.
But it would be great for the charities he supports, and I believe that matters a lot to him.

mccullough said...

Lance Armstrong is a narcissistic asshole. If he now confesses, he's an idiot.

mccullough said...


Lance Armstrong doesn't give two shits about charity. Everything he's done is for the glory of himself. His charities were right to get rid of him.

Aridog said...

The whole "scandal" over Lance Armstrong is a load of crap. The sport of cycling has no one anywhere near the top who isn't doping in one way or another. Just take a look at the records for the last decade alone. Armstrong won 7 fricking times on that level playing field, plus he survived cancer.

His detractors are also-rans who would have been also-rans under any circumstances, or bureaucrats who couldn't bike around the block with a bag of groceries.

Landis? LANDIS?...Dope up and recover from a 13 minute deficiency in the last half of one race. Duh...how dumb can you get? Waaaagh..."but Lance" did it! I can't prove it, but he did it, I swear!" Sniffle.

All that aside...who gives a fuck anyway?

Aridog said...

mccullough said...

Lance Armstrong is a narcissistic asshole.

Hot Dang!! Presidential material,eh whot?

Lyle said...

Has he cured cancer yet?

Lyle said...


He's a self-aggrandizing liar who has harmed peoples' lives. It's not about his athletic ability.

Lyle said...

Oso Negro,

He has a cultish following all across America. It's insane.

Michael said...

He is a self aggrandizing ass who inspired millions stricken with cancer to fight for survival and perhaps milions more to take up cycling as a serious sport. I cannot think of another sports icon whose impact on non-sports fans was as profound. It is safe to assume that no person standing on the podiums of the last 25 years had gotten there without the boost of drugs.

Penny said...

Confess, then shine a bright light on the sport and their sanctioning bodies.

I suspect Armstrong knows more about the sport than those who are making rules of "fair play".

After the dust settles, Armstrong could set out to form a new, unsanctioned tour.

And we all know that everyone eventually wins when a new competitor enters the picture.

Michael said...

Penny. Well put.

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Josh said...

It appears that a number of the commentators on this post are unfamiliar with the saga surrounding Lance and the USPS cycling team. One of the reasons I read Althouse's blog is that when she has long posts it is about things she understands. If you have an extra 6 or 7 hours I suggest reading.

Icepick said...

plus he survived cancer.

Which may well have convinced him that it was, in fact, possible to live better through chemicals.

wildswan said...

Doping is wrong. All the same if you knew anyone who had cancer, especially a child, you would not be so hard on the man. He has contributed. It was great to be able to point to a winner and say - don't give up, you can be healthy again, look at Lance Armstrong.

Ernst Stavro Blofeld said...

I didn't know Lemond's business was ruined.

Lemond was partnered with Trek to sell bikes under his name while Trek was at the same time sponsoring Armstrong. Lemond went public about his suspicions of Armstrong doping, and Trek killed his bike line. Trek figured they had more to gain from supporting a doper than in continuing with Lemond.

Trek was effectively complicit in the doping, IMHO. The racing team is a separate corporate entity with different owners that receives sponsorship money from other companies and runs the day to day operations of the team. It was painfully obvious for years that Armstrong's teams were dirty, yet Trek continued the relationship.

The real money for Armstrong is in corporate endorsements, and he's box office poison there. He's not going to get back his Nike endorsement income even if he's allowed to compete in triathalons again.

Michael said...

Ernst S B: All. All professional racing teams doped not just Armstrong's. Doping was required to win. Period.

Peter Hoh said...

The non-confession confession can join the non-apology apology.

Ernst Stavro Blofeld said...

All professional racing teams doped

Doesn't matter if they did. Armstrong still cheated.

Bobby Julich seems to have ridden clean in 2004. He finished 18th, as I recall, because cheaters like Armstrong were doped to the gills. Armstrong also used his influence to punish those who were trying to clean up the sport, or who merely testified truthfully under oath.

He's an asshole in addition to being a cheater.

What's more, Armstrong and Bruyneel kept up doping longer and more blatantly than most other teams. In the 90's there was no test for EPO, and taking EPO increases aerobic performance by 10-15%. The question as to whether teams were using it answers itself. By the mid-2000's after the Festina affair and Operation Puerto some teams were riding mostly clean. The Garmin/Slipstream team today has an exemplary anti-doping program and has since the mid-2000's.

It was ridiculous to watch Alberto Contador, a climber riding for a dope-riddled Armstrong/Bruyneel team in the 2009 TdF, finish a flat stage 18 TT faster than the time trial specialist Fabian Cancellara. Contador was actually gaining time on the muscular Cancellara on the downhill sections. As Greg Lemond put it,

LeMond, who writes an opinion piece in France's Le Monde newspaper during the Tour, questioned Contador's performance on the final climb to Verbier on stage 15, which the Spaniard won ahead of Andy Schleck by 43 seconds and took over the race lead. The climb came at the end of a 207.5-kilometre stage that also held five other categorised climbs.

"Alberto Contador established a speed record: he went up the 8.5 km climb in 20:55. How to explain such a performance?" wrote LeMond. "He would have required a VO2 max [maximal oxygen consumption] of 99.5 ml / min / kg to produce the effort. To my knowledge, this is a figure that has never been achieved by any athlete in any sport.

But Trek didn't see nuthin', and continued shipping money to the dope-riddled Armstrong/Bruyneel team to advertise the Trek name.

These days the teams seem to have backed off on the O2 vector doping. The time to climb the Alpe d' Huez has been tracked for years, and it's back down to the pre-EPO, mid-1980's level.

Aridog said...

Ernst Stavro Blofeld responded to...

"All professional racing teams doped"

With ... Doesn't matter if they did.

I understand your position, and it may be oddly rational, but it still makes no sense to me. If everyone is cheating, how can that not matter? How is it immaterial to cheat unless you cheat more than some others?

I think it might be easier to identify the 3 or 4 cyclists who don't cheat and have never cheated than to pursue those who have and do. In short, the sport is corrupted and has been for a long time. Wishing it otherwise will solve nothing. Fact is, the issue may be unsolvable.

Technology and chemistry have impacted almost all sports to a great degree...and the instances of those sports I've competed in myself, the "improvements" are no such thing over 75% of the time. In one sport, the measurement of the boot worn cannot be 1 millimeter over a given standard, in various dimension spots,...what is next? Clinical measurements of competitor's Tibia bone length in relation to boot heights to determine leverage quotients.

This in a sport where any one of the top 5 or 6 in the world can win with borrowed gear, and have done so. Among them, some have been DQ'd for that errant 1 millimeter too much. It's pretty much a feature of sports today that whomever is winning too much will be technically removed one way or another.

As for who is "cheating" ... in most cases, as rules evolve, they all are.

Ernst Stavro Blofeld said...

If everyone is cheating, how can that not matter? How is it immaterial to cheat unless you cheat more than some others?

The rules prohibit racing cyclists from taking PEDs. Armstrong took PEDs. He richly deserves to be stripped of all his titles. If others took PEDs they deserve to be punished as well.

Even within the Postal/Discovery team there was an inner circle of dopers and an outer circle that wasn't as involved. Armstrong was hip deep in it.

Different people respond differently to doping, so it's not just a matter of leveling the playing field. It's not the case that if you give everyone in the peleton EPO every rider's performance will increase by 10%. The doping distorts the relative as well as the absolute performance levels of athletes.

Ernst Stavro Blofeld said...

An interview with Jonathon Vaughters, an excellent rider who occasionally doped:


It's a good account of the pressures placed on people who don't want to be dopers by cheaters like Armstrong. Vaughters was trying hard to stay clean. If he had the same doping regimin as Armstrong he'd probably have been a TdF winner or contender.

Jose Luis Nunez had the same damn dream and the same damn conviction I did. But his timing was incredibly bad. He held out for 30 months of his dream and then he cracked. And the athletes, once he cracked, the dam broke.

Aridog said...

Ernst Stavro Blofeld ... I'm really having a difficult time seeing your point. Cheating is wrong, as an absolute. Okay, I accept that as a principle. Where does that make Armstrong any guiltier than everyone else who has cheated?

And given the extent of the admitted blood doping and PED use in cycling, is there any chance for redemption and resolution? When a crowd says we cheated and so did so and so, what is the result?

Why is it usually a "so and so" who is a winner of one or more races? Is winning bad now as well as cheating?

Landis got caught in a test following an obvious super human performance. So he caves and points fingers at everyone else, Armstrong in particular? Yep.

Everyone seems to know everyone else is cheating...except for the bureaucrats who run things, who lie about it instead and act shocked. Oh, my.

I know that makes no sense. But it seems to be your point...correct me, please.

Ernst Stavro Blofeld said...

Where does that make Armstrong any guiltier than everyone else who has cheated?

I'm for stripping the titles of anyone who cheated. You'll note that there is no winners listed for 1999-2005; the result was simply vacated.

And Armstrong was guiltier than the average bear. In the 2000's it wasn't the case that every team was doping. Credit Agricole was running a clean team for a while, as were others. Read the testimony of the Postal riders who left the team. While on the team they were told everyone in the peleton was doping. After they left and went to other teams they discovered this wasn't nearly the case.

Armstrong was leading the culture of omerta towards doping in cycling. He was a ringleader, one of the organizers, and one of those using his influence to punish those trying to clean up the sport. Fuck him.

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