Friday, August 26, 2005



STRONG WORD FOR A SET-UP. The governing body for United States professional cycling, USA Cycling, is denouncing the assertions by French newspaper L'Equipe that Lance Armstrong used performance-enhancing EPO in his 1999 Tour de France win. "Preposterous is a strong word, but it is warranted in this case," said Gerard Bisceglia, chief executive officer of USA Cycling. Read the AP story by Jim Vertuno.

COMPLETELY WITHOUT CREDIBILITY. Quoting from Vertuno's article: "'Lance Armstrong is one of the most tested athletes in the history of sport and he has come up clean every single time,' Bisceglia said. 'This kind of years-ago testing of a single sample with new technology is completely without credibility. What's worse is that Lance cannot defend himself because there is no mechanism for final resolution,' he added. Although Armstrong has not said if he'll pursue legal action, Bisceglia said USA Cycling will support him in whatever way he chooses to 'denounce these accusations.'"



REVEALING WHAT'S HIDDEN. I've been following this story that broke on Wednesday very closely, reading multiple media outlets and monitoring Lance Armstrong's own responses. Amid my initial shock at the "news" and disgust for the manner in which L'Equipe has pursued him, I've been thinking of what the Bible says: "There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed." L'Equipe calls Armstrong a liar; Armstrong labels L'Equipe cheap tabloid journalism. Someday we may know something nearer the truth. I'll have a lot more to say about this developing story than I will now post, but here's the way I see it right now...

SUCKER PUNCH. Since 1999, the French sports daily tabloid L'Equipe has reported and/or fomented every possible story from every non-credible source in its long-standing accusation that the unlikely American has used banned performance enhancing drugs to aid his wins in the Tour de France. Up to now, none of L'Equipe's negative innuendos or unfounded accusations have stuck on Armstrong. The day after Armstrong won the 2005 Tour de France, L'Equipe effectively said "good riddance." But it appears their resentment of an American champion in Paris hasn't died down. Working with a French lab to test 1999 urine samples for EPO, this latest shot is L'Equipe's swan song...or sucker punch.

BAD SCIENCE, QUESTIONABLE ETHICS? From what I am reading, both from Armstrong's rebuttals and from the main World Anti-Doping Authority's lab director, it appears that all kinds of confidential and ethical protocols have been breached, the possibility of tainted samples is relatively high, and the science used on the testing is in question. Even at that, the fact that only 6 of 17 urine samples Armstrong gave Tour officials in 1999 have apparently tested positive for a substance that takes 3-4 weeks to disappear from one's blood calls the testing science into question.

RESPONDING TO A WITCH HUNT. This is a witch hunt and a smear job, at best. Still, Armstrong, amid his strident denials of ever having used performance enhancing drugs and seven years of negative drug tests, is on the hot seat. If he wants to leave his reputation in the hands of those who desire to discredit him, he can do just as he is doing--counterattack the attackers and try to win a public opinion battle. If he does that, a question of credibility will likely always hang over his head for many people. He will be the American who won an unprecedented 7 consecutive Tours de France. But there will be an asterisk attached to his name (like that of Major League Baseball players who, despite denials, appear to have used steroids) unless he pursues the accusations legally and with utmost professionalism.

ONE MORE MOUNTAIN TO CLIMB. Armstrong may be in an unwinable quandary. Bad science may be justified in court. If samples were tainted, a detective may never prove it or trace down the culprits. Those who have breached ethical standards may never be discredited or reprimanded. At the end of a long court battle Armstrong may have spent much to gain little. But the fact that he is willing to climb this one last mountain, to go through this post-race time trial--that will count in the hearts and minds of many of us who have admired, supported, and cheered madly as he has competed and won on the open roads.

Saturday, August 06, 2005



LANCE ARMSTRONG RETRO. For those interested in a concise but well-written review of the life and career of Lance Armstrong, follow this link provided by Here's how the story begins:

"NO REGRETS." "The fourth oldest Tour de France winner at 33 years and 10 months, Armstrong said in his final Tour de France press conference, 'It's nice to finish your career on a high note. As a sportsman, I wanted to go out on top. I have absolutely no regrets. I've had an unbelievable career. I've been blessed to ride 14 years as a professional...I've been blessed with financial rewards that I never thought would be possible. There's no reason to continue. I don't need more. It's time for a new face...(I have) no regrets.'"

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

ARMSTRONG ON LETTERMAN. David Letterman presented Tour de France champ Lance Armstrong a bicycle handlebar basket during The Late Show interview Monday night. A few years ago, Dave presented Lance with a saddle-shaped bead seat pad (like the ones used by NY taxi cab drivers). With the addition of the basket, Lance joked that he might be equipped to come back for an eighth attempt at the Tour. The video clip of the exchange is accessible at .

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