Lance’s Predicament

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I heard this numerous times- “This is going to end badly for Floyd”. That still might be true. I can’t exactly condone Floyd’s actions. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here – this is going to end badly for Lance. This New York Time’s article is just the start. It is not going to go away.

It amazed me last week, over at the Tour de France, how little press there was in Europe about this whole Floyd thing. No Nightline mention. Nothing. Then when I came back to Wisconsin, it still amazed me, hanging out with local weekend warriors, that no one thought it was a big deal. And they all believed in Lance racing clean.

Jonathan Vaughters has told his guys concerned that they need to cooperate. I think most these riders don’t have any choice other than to cooperate. And the UCI has mentioned that there might be a possibility of shorter suspensions with such cooperation. This, with the fact that most of the riders concerned are approaching the end of their careers, doesn’t bode well for Lance.

Like I said earlier, I can’t support the method that Floyd used here. Frankie Andreau did it right years ago. “I took EPO. Ask Lance if you want to know about that”.

I was hoping this whole thing was going to go away. There is no downside to have a Lance Armstrong around the sport for the next couple decades. Obviously, I don’t think that is going to be the case anymore.

7 thoughts on “Lance’s Predicament

  1. Andrew Vontz

    Hey Steve-
    I’m a journalist who grew up in Kansas City, long time fan of your career. I wrote the piece I’m pasting below for FoxSports.com in 2007, thought I would share. As more facts come out, it’s clear that the large scale doping practices in pro cycling required systemic cooperation and cover-up from everyone involved in the game–including the journalists who covered them. This piece was not very popular with my friends in the cycling media. I enjoy your blog, keep ’em coming!

    Andrew

    ARE NEW BOOKS STRAIGHT DOPE ABOUT ARMSTRONG, LANDIS?

    By Andrew Vontz

    With the start of the Tour de France just thirteen days away, proof of
    pervasive doping in professional cycling has irrevocably compromised
    the credibility of the event and of the sport itself. Three of the
    past five winners of the Tour de France have either been convicted of
    doping, or have admitted to doping to achieve their victories.
    Seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong has been accused of doping.
    2006 Tour winner Floyd Landis currently awaits the outcome of the
    United States Anti-Doping Agency hearing on his positive test for
    synthetic testosterone, a banned substance, during his ’06 Tour
    victory. While Armstrong and Landis maintain they have never used
    doping products, critics persist in claiming both doped to achieve
    their victories.

    On Tuesday, two books about doping in professional cycling will hit
    bookstore shelves. From Lance to Landis: Inside the American Doping
    Controversy at the Tour de France by David Walsh, chief sports writer
    of the Sunday Times of London, chronicles alleged systematic doping on
    American pro cycling teams that raced in Europe, including accusations
    that Armstrong doped. In Positively False: The Real Story of How I Won
    the Tour de France by Floyd Landis with Loren Mooney, the associate
    executive editor of Rodale’s Bicycling magazine (full disclosure: this
    reporter has written for Bicycling), Landis again states that he rode
    clean at the ’06 Tour and that he has never used doping products.

    Last week, Armstrong and Landis came out swinging to discredit those
    who criticize their victories. Are Landis and Armstrong dopers? Or are
    they the victims of hateful hacks hellbent on making big bucks from
    falsely accusing American heroes of doping?

    1 DOES CYCLING HAVE A DOPING PROBLEM?
    On Friday in an interview with USA Today, Landis proclaimed his
    innocence, attacked his accusers and stated that, “There is no culture
    of doping in cycling.” To better understand the accusations against
    Armstrong and Landis, it may be helpful to examine the body of
    reporting, literature, and doping admissions that have accumulated
    during the past two decades. In 1990, former pro cyclist turned
    journalist Paul Kimmage published Rough Ride, a memoir that described
    pervasive doping in European pro cycling and Kimmage’s own use of
    performance-enhancing drugs. In 1999, Willy Voet published Breaking
    the Chain, a tell-all about pervasive doping in professional cycling,
    including the events that led to Voet being thrown in jail after he
    was caught transporting massive quantities of performance-enhancing
    drugs prior to the 1998 Tour for his employer, the Festina pro cycling
    team.

    In recent months, 1997 Tour winner Jan Ullrich was banned from the
    sport for doping, current CSC team director Bjarne Riis admitted he
    used doping products during his 1996 Tour victory, and 2006 Giro
    d’Italia winner Ivan Basso was banned from the sport after copping to
    attempted use of doping products prior to the ’06 Tour. Before his
    suspension, Basso rode for the Discovery Channel team. Five of
    Armstrong’s former teammates tested positive for doping or have
    admitted to using doping products while teammates with Armstrong. 1998
    Tour winner Marco Pantani was busted for doping during the 1999 Tour
    of Italy and died of a cocaine overdose in 2004. With the exception of
    Kimmage, all of the riders named above vehemently denied all charges
    against them until they admitted to doping or were conclusively proven
    to have doped.

    2 WHAT DOES ARMSTRONG SAY?
    In Daniel Coyle’s book Lance Armstrong’s War, Armstrong made his
    opinion of Walsh abundantly clear when he said, “Walsh is a fucking
    scumbag. He’s a liar. His angle is that he hates me, and I hate him.”
    (p. 204). Armstrong made these comments in response to allegations
    that he doped in L.A. Confidentiel: Les Secrets de Lance Armstrong, a
    book that Walsh published in 2004 in France. When Fox Sports contacted
    Walsh regarding From Lance to Landis, he confirmed that the book
    contains accusations that Armstrong doped. Last week, Armstrong
    responded to the accusations in Walsh’s book with a statement that
    read in part: “We proved in court that Walsh and his sources have no
    credibility. . .He violated fundamental principles by paying his
    sources for ‘information’. . .I am sick and tired of those who try to
    profit off the tactics of smear and guilt by innuendo or association.”

    As a seven-time Tour champion who never tested positive for
    performance-enhancing drugs, Armstrong’s anger is understandable.
    Further, his press release raises important questions about the manner
    in which the public receives information that informs their opinions
    about athletes accused of doping.

    Armstrong has repeatedly cited the outcome of his lawsuit against the
    insurance company SCA regarding a contract dispute between the two
    parties as proof that he did not dope. Sworn statements given for the
    suit included the depositions of Armstrong’s former teammate Frankie
    Andreu and his wife Betsy who were subpoenaed for the case. The
    Andreu’s both stated that as they sat in a hospital room with
    Armstrong during his battle with cancer, they heard Armstrong tell a
    doctor that he had used EPO, growth hormones, cortisone, steroids, and
    testosterone—all doping products—while competing as a professional
    cyclist. Armstrong and SCA settled the case out of court and Armstrong
    received a $7.5 million settlement. “There was no ruling. It went to
    the settlement and that was it,” says Jeffrey Dorough, SCA’s corporate
    counsel. Armstrong did not respond to an interview request from Fox
    Sports.

    “We received no money (sic) no financial benefit from the Walsh book
    at all,” Betsy Andreu wrote to Fox Sports in an email. Further, she
    wrote, “I’d like to say I don’t care about him. I wish he would leave
    me and Frankie alone and stop with the character assassination. I deem
    it important to defend my character which he is trying to impugn. I
    don’t have a PR firm to do it for me.”

    Armstrong has also publicly criticized Greg LeMond. Fox Sports
    contacted LeMond and asked if he had profited from the Armstrong
    controversy. LeMond says, “It’s cost me a tremendous amount of money
    for making some very benign remarks about being disappointed that he
    was seeing Dr. (Michele) Ferrari,” a controversial Italian physician
    linked to doping that Armstrong worked with closely during his career.

    3 WHAT DOES LANDIS SAY?
    Falsely Positive is written in the first person in the voice of Landis
    and begins in part by saying, “I have nothing to hide. . .There’s
    nothing to hold back. I don’t feel the need to be selective in order
    to create some image of a person who isn’t me.” Landis was the subject
    of a cover story in the June 2007 issue of Bicycling magazine, which
    hit newsstands about a week prior to the start of the arbitration
    hearing to determine whether Landis doped to win the ’06 Tour.
    Bicycling describes itself as the “world’s leading bike magazine” and
    has an audited circulation of 400,000.

    The cover story, titled Floyd vs. the Man, reported on Landis, his
    defense team, his defense strategy, the evidence in the case, and the
    prosecution’s case, as Landis prepared for the arbitration hearing
    that would determine whether he would be suspended from professional
    cycling or get to keep his ’06 Tour crown. The piece was written by
    Loren Mooney, the co-author of Falsely Positive. The piece ran without
    a disclosure that Mooney was the co-author of the forthcoming Landis
    book. The piece has also been published on Bicycling’s website without
    a disclosure that Mooney is Landis’ co-author.

    “There’s not necessarily anything wrong with her ghostwriting a book
    for the guy, but it’s better to tell the readers about it so they can
    have proper context for reading the story,” says Lance Williams,
    co-author of Game of Shadows, the expose of the Bay Area Laboratory
    Cooperative (BALC) doping scandal which implicated athletes such as
    Barry Bonds and Marian Jones.

    “She has his side of the story so she’s purporting to write it
    objectively and effectively she is literally compromised, immediately
    compromised because of her financial relationship with him,” says
    Kimmage.

    Mooney attended part of the Landis hearing and reported via blog about
    the proceedings for Bicycling’s website. There was no disclosure in
    the blog that Mooney was the co-author of Landis’ book. The day that
    Landis identified Mooney as his collaborator for Positively False at
    the hearing, the book was listed at #4 on the Amazon pre-sold sport’s
    title list. Mooney’s blog included reporting on what was perhaps the
    most dramatic day of the hearing when LeMond testified and revealed
    that Landis’ business manager Will Geoghegan had called LeMond and
    threatened to tell the world of the sexual abuse LeMond suffered as a
    child if he testified. Positively False includes information about the
    hearing including an account of the events leading to the Geoghegan
    phone call that differs from the version Landis gave in the hearings.
    The publication of Positively False violates a gag order placed on
    both Landis and USADA until a ruling has been issued on the case. When
    contacted directly and via Bicycling’s publicist, Mooney declined to
    comment on her coverage of Landis for Bicycling. Mooney responded to
    an interview request to discuss Positively False with an email that
    stated: “It’s Floyd’s story. He’s the one to elaborate on it.”

    Citing the gag order in the Landis case, USADA declined to comment on
    the Landis book when contacted by Fox Sports.

    SO WHAT IS THE STRAIGHT DOPE?
    The 2007 Tour will start July 7th, twelve days after the publication
    of Walsh’s From Lance to Landis and Landis and Mooney’s Positively
    False. With their publication, the debate about whether these past
    Tour winners doped will become more heated. The doping controversy in
    cycling will once again eclipse the actual racing at one of the
    world’s most challenging and important sporting events. Ultimately,
    sports fans can pick up either book and decide who to believe for
    themselves.

     
  2. H Luce

    As for what Floyd did, it’s the most common thing in the world for criminals to do: rat out your buddies, turn State’s evidence, and get a lighter sentence. It doesn’t excuse what Floyd did, but at least there’s the possibility that it shed light on real problems in the sport. If cheating and fraud are this rampant, then pro cycling should be abolished and amateur cycling should be the only kind allowed. It’s the seemingly inevitable result of lots of money being put into a sport, the degradation of that sport by people in search of a payoff. Get rid of the money and compensation, and there’s no more incentive to cheat on this massive scale. If Lance goes down and a lot of other riders go down with him, that’ll be the end of US pro cycling anyway.

     
  3. CurbDestroyer

    Maybe Lance is Clean, but on the face of it just look at it. Correct me if I’m wrong. He does the TdF two years and If I remember right DNF’s or he finishes in a position down the line. He gets cancer. Then comes back to beats the best in the world . . . The best in the world who are “Super Charged . . . by a sizable margin . . . pretty miraculious I say.

     
  4. Paul Deninger

    Be it a good or bad thing for the sport, this is going to end badly for Lance now that it’s in the hands of the feds.
    I don’t have to respect him, but I can understand Landis’ motives.
    Lance is an international hero while Floyd has been marginalized and made into a pariah.
    They did the same shit except one got caught.

     
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  6. Carl Sundquist

    @ H Luce: There is a big difference. Landis was not the subject of any investigation, criminal or otherwise, when he made his claims, so state’s evidence has no application to *his* situation. Other riders may be in a different situation.

     
  7. Folding Bikes

    Thanks for such an insightful post. I have long been attempting to explain the exact same thing to my homies but I think it’s better if I just email them the link to this site instead!

     

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