Lance Armstrong – 99% of my Career isn’t about Doping

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Lance seems to be emerging back into the public through some media interviews. Not complete candid interviews, but snippets that really skirt the meat. I was reading this interview that Lance did with It was the same old until I got to this quote-

And I don’t want to just talk about doping. It’s obviously an element but 99 per cent of my career isn’t about doping.

I think he totally believes this. From my perspective, he has a complete warped reality.

I was talking to a friend last week about some of the doping stuff. And he told me he had talked with George Hincappie about Lance. He said that George was “defending” Lance, saying the guy (Lance) trained harder and was more focused than any other rider he’d ever met.

I reminded him of the Outside Magazine article about that guy that was training for Paris-Brest-Paris and started on a systematic doping program. His quote from the article is –

After the EPO kicked in, I rode a 200-miler and I felt strong, fresh, ready to hammer. The next day I easily could have ridden another 200.

So, here’s an “amatuer cylist” training for a long race/tour and he said the recovery is beyond belief. I obviously have never experienced, but have to believe what everyone says.

I would love to get on my bike today in La Jolla and ride the 65 miles over to Mt. Palamar and do a couple repeats and ride home. And I’d love to be able to do it again tomorrow. But, I can’t. But, Lance could. He could go and pre-ride stages of the Tour each year and do repeats on the hardest climbs in the race.

What 1% part of his career is that? What doesn’t George understand about the advantage that gives Lance? If anyone understands, he must, because he was pretty much on the same level. So George must have thought that just because he didn’t have the want to go ride and plan and organize his complete life around one race, that Lance must be so special. It is all about the personal acceptance and the justification of his/their actions. George had this underlying respect of Lance just because he didn’t possess his traits.

I’m curious if these guys wonder often how good of athletes/cyclists they really could have been?

Lance and George all giddy, probably after their 7th day straight of 250 kms.   Fresh as daisies.

Lance and George all giddy, probably after their 7th day straight of 250 kms. Fresh as daisies.

51 thoughts on “Lance Armstrong – 99% of my Career isn’t about Doping

  1. Clay Moseley

    You’re right on about this, Steve. The human body in its natural state eventually fatigues and breaks down and the response is to get tired and lethargic, and lose motivation to go out and “do it again.” All this crap about him training harder and focusing SO much more is so much bullshit. He was driven and different physiologically, I’ll give you that, but not at the level he was while on the juice.

    Speaking of someone who was a COMPLETELY different rider while on the juice…that is Hincapie himself! I remember him in like 1993, at the Tour of Redlands. We were in the same group climbing up that Oak Glen climb and he was struggling so much and eventually got dropped. Some other guys like Jeff Pierce, etc. were in that group too, so we were going fast, but still… He got really dropped and lost a bunch of time, I remember.

    This was not an isolated moment just on that particular stage. It had happened in other races about that same early 90’s time frame too. He had been such a super star as a junior, but eventually the rest of us at the same age were catching up to him bit by bit (and sometimes passing him ;-). But…a year later things really started changing. Now, I know that we all go through moments of bad form and all, but from what I could tell, he went from being just a “pretty good” young senior rider, back to being a super hero in only a couple of years. His career always struck me as very odd.

  2. Bill Laudien


    Its finally good to see that A-Hole vindicate Greg Lemond.

    He talks of a huge shift and the use of EPO occurring in 1993-1994….the same time when Greg’s results dropped off and when he retired. Confirming everything that Greg and others have claimed all along.

    At straight out apology would be better, but I don’t suspect we will see that until L.A. figure out how to make a buck off it.

  3. Fergie

    >but I don’t suspect we will see that until L.A. figure out how to make a buck off it

    ohh..I think you are so correct Bill.

    Danny Fox, you out there reading? I think I remember when you called it a career when LA arrived upon the scene seems to me that was one of the factors. Can’t compete with that type of thing..I don’t want to put any words in your mouth,care to chime in?

  4. mark

    Hincapie can probably owe 90% of his career ( as far as the $ in his bank account ) to Lance, so I’d expect to see them still being best buddies.

  5. chris

    Cyclingnews interview-

    DB: I definitely want to come to the media and the narrative – even Cyclingnews had part to play in it – but just going back to the issue of the culture. You were up against guys like [Miguel] Indurain, [Laurent] Jalabert, [Tony] Rominger and all these guys. When you came over, were you clean in those early races? Did you realise what was going on or were you already ingrained in that culture that existed?

    LA: No. I mean as a young rider, I didn’t know then what other people were doing, but we were basically… I mean, I don’t know about [Andy] Hampsten or [Alvaro] Mejia or the GC guys at Motorola, but we were more or less a clean team. And then again, as young riders, you would be even a tier below that.

    Wow. Is Lance trying to smear Hampsten now?

  6. Owen

    You’re of course. But try to see it LA’s point of view; he spent more time training, living, racing, planning, travelling and maybe even being a parent that he spent actually taking PEDs. It was a small part of his job, just something else that contributed to his day. It was nothing to him, just every day cheating and undermining peoples’ belief.

  7. channel_zero

    but we were more or less a clean team.

    First was Carmichael’s “dope or go home” Junior squad, then Wiesel’s dope facilitating. That’s doping.

    But, let’s face facts, the system permits doping. Until the UCI starts enforcing the positives in the APMU, Wiesel will keep looking for his next mancrush and the IOC-permitted doping will continue.

    Sick, sick, sick.

  8. Herb C.

    Great post, Steve! Do you think Lance was juicing in the last few triathlons he did before being “outed”?

  9. Anthony Geller

    Given Hampsten’s history, perhaps Joseph Welch’s comment is the most fitting here,
    “Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

  10. mike crum

    hey steve, how about writing an article on how you train for road racing? just a basic weeks training in say june. i like to read how a 50 year old stays so in shape and fit/fast. what do you do weekly? intervals? just ride? how fast? like to hear your weekly plan.. enough about pros doping.. they all do.. lets hear how steve tilford trains. you do a long ride? intervals? how many ? how far? how long of rest between?be nice if someone of your caliber would inform us less tallented people on what someone really fast does.. thanks

  11. Brian D

    Holy Shit Indurain! How do you compete with that? You do what you have to or go home and get a job. The worst part of the whole thing that nobody is really commenting on (other than Lemond) is the bullying of employees, their family members, authors etc. This shows the true person. No character at all. If he wants to dope when most of the fields are doping let him be a cheat. But to destroy peoples lives is the worst. After all it is just sport.

  12. Ron

    Steve’s Strava page is interesting to follow sometimes. I’m glad he posts this data so we can see how much time a professional spends riding. It’s not for me:)

  13. Jim D.

    What disgusts me is now is there is no doubt that Lance and Levi both cheated to “win” the Leadville 100 and they should return the ore carts to the true winners, Dave Weins and Jeramy H.K. Leadville was true pure event before L&L sullied the event with their cheating ways. And while we are at it get rid of Chris Comical association with the event as well. Do you really think he races it clean. How many of his clients are juiced. Do you pay a special rate for the high test “coaching”. That should piss off more than a few riders that have been passed in the last few miles of the LT100 by the blue comical jerseys. How about a few random drug tests for this event that a lot of true and honest people with regular lives do, and want to believe that the person that just passed them is fairly stronger than them. The Grand Fondo in NY caught riders cheating, my bet there are a few that would be caught at leadville as well. Lance do something that maybe shows some humility and some reality, Gunnison isn’t that far from Aspen. Jim

  14. Tommasini53

    “And I don’t want to just talk about doping. It’s obviously an element but 99 per cent of my career isn’t about doping.”

    WOW…such a simple statement and it says sooo much, namely… that LA should NEVER be allowed to work in any sporting association.

    Excellent topic to post Steve..

  15. Not A. Cyclist

    Come on… really? You’re going to pull Hincapie into this? As far as I know Steve you don’t know George personally, you never raced with him, heck you never raced professionally in Europe.

    Now to go ahead and claim George is in someway defending Lance is pure bullshit. George’s career is not defined by LA. George (who is one of the most respected and well liked pros to ever ride in the pro peloton) rode for a total of 9 winning TdF teams, which two were non-LA teams.

    Unlike many other pros, George stuck it out after the “high-octane” years and did a lot to change the sport from within. So to go claiming he’s defending LA and has “respect of Lance just because he didn’t possess his traits.” is pure BS. And to cite some unknown source makes it pure hear-say. How about you talk to the guys on HTC or BMC???? How about asking guys like Taylor and TeeJay that he mentored. Just watch “Chasing Legends”… does that seem like a guy that defined his career by his doping years?????

    So Steve, how about keeping your criticism to something you know about, and not pulling “what you heard” into the conversation!!

  16. Steve Tilford Post author

    Not A. Cyclist- That is such an appropriate name. For one, yes I raced professionally in Europe. Yes, I’ve raced many times “against” him and yes, I know him personally. And no, he did not ride for 9 winning Tour De France teams.

    George “stuck it out” and changed the sport? Does racing make him change the sport?

    No I didn’t watch “Chasing Legends”. But, I don’t really care how he defines his career. He, just like Lance, is going to define his “career” much different that me.

    You must not read my blog much. I’m pretty sure I’ve written it a few times, but here it is again. Once a rider tests positive, confesses, whatever, his results are valueless to me forever. All his results. Anything he did in the sport. I have no ability, and no one really does, to separate supercharged athletics from normally aspirated. I have to assume that all the results were fake.

    I do know a fair amount about the subject. I know the person that I’m quoting very well and trust that what he told me was accurate and truthful. The same as I heard it myself, so I have no problem repeating “what I heard” here.

    Feel free to be a George Hincapie fan. That wasn’t what the post was about.

  17. Not A. Cyclist


    Wow…. quite interesting. I know your career quite well. Can you point me to one time you raced professionally in Europe as a professional???? I know you raced for the US team but I don’t believe you ever competed for a UCI World Tour team? So you claim to know George personally and only raced against him??? And yes George rode for 9 winning TdF team… 1998-2005 w. LA, 2007 w/Contador and 2011 w/Evans.

    As for changing the sport?? What do you know of what George did after the LA years? Do you know anything about his career post 2006? George admitted in his testimony (and under oath) that he did not dope after 2006? I don’t see you calling out other cyclists during those years? I don’t see you invalidating other cyclists?

    As for your un-named source… how about revealing said person? Just because you claim he’s reliable doesn’t make it so? How about letting us all know who has George’s ear?

    Quite honestly, I question your intentions with this post. It seems at best you are a washed up Masters racer that had some “successes’ when you were a “kid”, but you now seem to be an amateur thats still trying to make a name for himself by blogging about Lance and George and whomever you think would gain your website some traffic or get some play for your sponsors. Maybe you should stop trolling the internet and just go quietly into the night… because to most of us, you sure seem like a bitter old hack that didn’t make it on the road!!

  18. Clay M

    To “most of us” ? And… Steve sure seems like a bitter old hack? Hmm, one might say that you are harboring some bitterness yourself. We can all choose to read this blog or not.

  19. Not A. Cyclist

    Clay…. believe it or not… there’s a lot more people that talk about this crap than post here… Me bitter…. bitter about what?? I ride bikes, I race bikes… for fun. I could give two shits about Tilford’s “career”, but when he goes on about claiming to know someone’s intentions just because he raced against them… that where I have a problem.

  20. bhalls

    I want to think cycling can turn the corner and be a sport of epic effort, suffering, and toughness. Yet with the right juice riders can get that short cut to success at any level. Cycling is tough on those who cheat when caught. Lance wasn’t a victim of the times , he manipulated them for great wealth and rewarded those who helped. He was the mob boss of the peloton. All you racers out there, don’t wait for a governing body to act, when a Lance type bully’s the scene big time or local, peel off your gloves and kick his or her ass. It will be worth it to ya , more than being his ” I owe you buddy ” for life.

  21. channel_zero

    You didn’t help make your case by launching a personal attack, or for that matter not even bother to check Tilford’s results. This is very reminiscent of what/how the publicly suspicious got treated during the Armstrong myth.

    Bottom line is Hincapie and Co. stole everything from clean riders, like the rest of them.

    And before you try, no, “Everyone was doing it” is not an excuse. How about we all run fraud schemes like Armstrong, Carmichael, and Wiesel did? They did it, so fraud is okay. Right?

  22. chris

    Not A,

    There really isn’t so much in the post to get so trolled up over. The tired old invention which Big George is allegedly unable to let go of, that Lance could just train harder than anyone else as a function of his own willpower and natural talent, is the same old bullshit Team Lance has been repeating for nearly two decades.

    It would be refreshing for a few of the remaining fans of cycling, at least, to hear one of these same, glorious, self-soiled champions admit that even the myth of their daily training was dependent on dope. But they can’t. Training is all they can do these days.

  23. Steve Tilford Post author

    NOT – When do think the World Tour was created? You know my “career quite well”? I can’t really reply to anything you wrote because you are mistaken in your facts and beliefs.

    Plus, you are just mean.

  24. Daniel Russell

    I always thought a limetime ban was too harsh, but not anymore. If you knowingly cheat, facilitate or participate in cheating you are done, first time. You can’t work in organized cycling, sponsor teams or coach cyclists, ever again. I think it’s the only way forward.

  25. SE

    The only problem I have with ANTI Armstrong posts is that people seem to think he was the first and only one doping. He wasn’t. Secondly, he STILL had to train or the other dopers would STILL have beaten him. So, from a pure competition standpoint, he was still the best. He used the training, the tactics, the psychology, and yes, even the knowledge of how to be the best doper, to be the best of his era. If he hadn’t doped, then it would have just been the SECOND best doper to win all the awards. I think what people are REALLY pissed about is that so many people say he was a jerk as well. Had he been the nicest guy in the world, and it was still found out he doped, I’m not sure people would “hate” him so much. Point of proof? The VAST majority of anti-doping articles are about Armstrong. Why are there not just as many about Contador since he was the most recent guy to be stripped of the TdF title and should REALLY have known better since so many people were already IN hot water. At least when LA did it, it was pretty much known to be the norm in the inner circles of the sport. I’m not so much trying to raise LA above anyone else, but I’m really tired of seeing him punished MORE than everyone else who was doing the same thing. At least give him credit for being the best at playing the game; even if the game was dirty. There are a LOT of people on bikes, and still on bikes, because of his impact on Cycling in the US. That has to count for something…

  26. SE

    I think there are two types of sports fans: Ones who can appreciate competition between equal competitors and ones who can appreciate pure skill. I will COMLETELY agree that dopers are not pure. So to that, there is NO WAY a doper will be the best PURE rider in history. However, in the years that LA competed, he was on equal ground with at least the top 20% of the peleton and he was the best of that 20%. Again, if you want to put him down and punsih him, fine, but put down ALL 20%, not just one or two.

  27. David Huntsman

    It really doesn’t matter that there are a lot of people on bikes because of Armstrong and Co. They, or others, and probably not so many and probably of a different quality, would have gotten there anyways, just without the skewed image of the sport Armstrong created.

  28. Not A Retard

    Not A Cyclist,

    Enlighten us please on what George did for Cycling on the “Inside Out”? From where I stand he stood silent like the rest until shit hit the fan.

    With his knowledge, first hand experience with LA, George could of done wonders for the sport by “outing” it years ago, so please sight some examples for us, post LA “High Octane” years while he was still racing?
    And while I am not a huge Lance fan, you can’t straight out blame the guy for what he did. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but the whole industry was behind these “dark” years of doping from teams, owners, governing body’s, coaches, sponsors etc.
    Where LA really goes wrong with me is he is a lying, narsassitic Mother Fu$ker who went to great lengths to lie and cheat, and then destroy anyone who challenged or threatened his validity.
    I didn’t see Ullrich, Heras, Hamiliton, Landis or the dozen of other dopers do the shit Armstrong did to people. And for that, he’s just a piece of shit to me and many others.

  29. Skippy

    ” Not a Cyclist ” cus He was a RACER? Seems to me he is one of the Lance ” fan club ” , then saw him do Oprah and lost it ! Well YOU are not the only Lance fan that bought his spiel :

    Seems even those that ARE Pro World Racers suffered ” Fool me Once , shame on ME, ..”!

    As regards George , he got a ride with every Team , he chose to be with , gave advice and maybe led by example ? Who knows what else ?

    EACH of the Racers from the mid 80s made a decision THAT suited THEIR purposes , some even hasd their arms twisted ! There was an English Champion that lived & trained with Lance on the Italian Lakes , he was ” interviewed ” by Lance on his ” PED views ” , then lost his contract , since they were discordent ? Les Earnest writes about US Cycling , don’t you think that all that he has reported over 20+ years , has not been noted ?

    Even my blogs get read by people and i only get to talk with these guys .

    OMERTA is alive and thriving , even NOW , more than ever , despite my creating ” Petitions ” , that NONE OF YOU , chose to add your autograph .

    Attacking Steve , reminds me of that guy in Marathon , it didn’t change anything ? Some of the comments were as biased as Cycling News Forum , the ” Mushroom ( fed on b/S & kept in dark) farm ”

    BTW , Lance is STILL treating the Tifosi as lacking intellect !

  30. Not A. Cyclist

    Steve… I apologize if you think I am being mean. However when you drag a guy through the mud just because someone told you he thought LA was the most talented, hardest working rider at the time… is a veiled attempt to bring someone into this fight that doesn’t really belong in it… well at least from the point of your blog post.

    As for my “personal” attack I apologize but it does make me question your motives… I’ve read your posts here… posts about Horner, Ryder, et al. It seems you have a bone to pick with these guys (and such you’re attempt to sling mud at George). For some reason you think because you didn’t dope that something was stolen from you…. maybe some of it was… I can see that when you raced against Ryder… but on the road???? Guys like George, Lance, Tyler all made it to the top and were on the top teams way before 1995 when they started doping. They were already the elite racers of the time. And quite honestly is irks me when people like yourself, Myerson and others all take stabs at these guys when you guys clearly couldn’t compete at the international level BEFORE the doping started.

    Maybe I missed it somewhere but are you telling us that you knew the doping was going on and you made a conscious decision to not dope?? Because if thats the case where was your outrage then???? I think its more likely guys like you didn’t make it and now after all these years when it comes out that they doped you NOW cry foul play.

    And Mr. Retard (yes your nickname… not an insult). I suggest you talk to the guys on his team at HTC and BMC… the stories are out there… maybe you need to be a little on the inside to know about them, but guys like Taylor, Teejay all speak of how great a mentor George was…. sure maybe they didn’t come out and say George told them no to take take PEDs but read between the lines…. now that you know the history…. I sincerely doubt George was just merely shouting words of encouragement in their ears.

    Hopefully one day Hincapie will ride a memoir or something and tell us what actually went on during that time, but until everything is finally out there (and all the guys are implicated and outed or take ownership of their role in doping) we are all left with “marketplace justice” and the guys that keep quiet are rewarded with contracts and those that admit their past (like Julich) are kicked out of the sport.

    In summary… was LA a nice guy… its seems not! Did he vehemently deny his doping, did he maliciously go after those that attacked him… all yes. But that only makes him an asshole… and someone that has admitted so.

    Lastly just look at the guys from during the high-octane years, they all seem recognize that LA was the best rider (even Ullrich has kept his medals and thinks LA should be able to keep his titles). If the guys that raced then (and were dopers too) say it was an even playing field then why do the guys who never made it even into the pro peloton feel like it wasn’t????

  31. Larry T.

    I tried to read the BigTex interview but a rancid stench seemed to be coming out of my keyboard and I had to stop. From what’s been written here it doesn’t look like I missed anything. If I was a guy who decided NOT to dope and raced clean for my entire career while watching others dope (and later confess to it) going on to fame and riches, I’d share Tilford’s view 100%.
    But since I’m not, I can be a little less angry about it and perhaps even glad when a guy who has cheated in the past (caught or not) decides to compete cleanly. They certainly know how fast and good they felt while on the juice, so to get off the stuff and still compete seems……well……almost admirable….in a way? There was a study done awhile back where the author, after having experimented on himself with EPO, admitted he’d simply quit his sport because he was so distraught about never feeling that good or going that fast again without cheating.

  32. DS

    I don’t have a dog in this fight, but what makes me a little curious is about today’s riders in the peloton. So do you guys all think that Froome would not have won the TDF if everyone was on the juice? Contador still finished 4th so it doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal. Schleck finishing 20th could be an argument. Of course you guys will probably say that they are still finding a way to dope.

    Maybe I am ignorant, but honestly I doubt the results would have changed much through the LA years. I think what could be debated is whether he would have won all 7 titles or not……probably not. He still had the best team of riders through the years so I say he still would have won 3 or 4, but we’ll never know………

    I’m just a weekend warrior bike racer, but I do know that cycling at the speeds they do in the TDF does take a certain amount of skill. The year Lance narrowly missed that crash and rode down the embankment through the grass and kept it on two wheels was nothing short of amazing if you ask me. Doping or not he still pedaled across the finish line all of those years in first position even with all of those racing incidents. There are so many things that can happen in the TDF it’s incredible that he was able to achieve those feats in themselves if you ask me.

  33. Just Crusty

    Not A. Cyclist,

    Once again, you present an opinion based on information that is incorrect.
    It is common knowledge that while Lance was a hard worker and certainly an accomplished athlete, he was not a “top ten” level Tour de France cyclist before he started on a program of performance enhancing drugs. Hincapie’s opinion is based on his experience – experience (and a perspective) acquired after enrolling in a similar program of performance enhancing drugs.
    On the other hand, Mr. Tilford’s experience was that of getting replaced on his team by a cyclist who was subsequently found to be on a program of performance enhancing drugs. At the time, I doubt that Mr. Tilford was aware of the reason for that cyclist’s performance.
    Mr. Tilford has spent the past 20-30 years winning races and championships without the use of PEDS.
    Read the books by Tyler Hamilton and David Walsh.
    Get your facts straight.

  34. Not A. Cyclist


    I have read the books!! You cannot compare LA pre-cancer to LA post-cancer (he was down at least 5 kilos and produced the same power)… so theres now way to know what he would have done, but all the riders at that time all claim he was the best and it was a level playing field. So how you can say that he wasn’t the best?? Because he doped? Everyone did, Ullrich, Pantani, Levi, etc, etc. they couldn’t touch him. Shit. the whole Postal team was doing the same thing as LA so why weren’t they 1,2,3???? Because LA was the best of the time. Sure a time when everyone was doping, but again a level playing field.

    As for Tilford getting replaced? Do you care to elaborate on which team he was replaced on??? As far as I know he never made onto the World Tour team.

  35. mike crum

    just crusty
    how do you know mr tilford won all the races these past 20 years drug free????? i didnt, but alot of cyclists thought lance was clean, and think cycling is, and has always been clean.. how exactly do you know mr tilford is clean????

  36. jpete

    Dude, Not A, please, man, you are killing me. Where to start with the ignorance of your arguments? “the whole Postal team was doing the same thing as LA so why weren’t they 1,2,3???? Because LA was the best of the time.” OK, here, they were not 1,2,3 because it obviously doesn’t work that way. They were not competing for places, they simply, and effectively rode hard on the front, pulling off, until it was just LA and a Lt. They were able to effectively burn off all but a handful of riders by themselves and not pay the price the next day (unless the refill wasn’t available) Same tactic every year, change the name, strategy is the same. What always made me chuckle was seeing the big guys like Hincapie and Andreau pulling up the first mountain and shelling climbers. (Or hincapie winning the queen stage in 05 or 06). If you remember your history and put things into context, that 99 team was a group of nobody specials at the time. Within a year they are heralded as one of the stronger teams. As far as your assumptions about GH being a nice guy and respected, that is true, however, the culture at the time dictated that nice guys do not rock the boat, do not rat on others, and do not talk about the dirty little secret that would implicate everyone. I had friends at the OTC in 96 or 97 and knew an Olympic cycling coach from the time frame in which the switch would have been going on and can tell you doping was a poooooorly gaurded secret at the time. I am more astonished that people are shocked now. Like the interviews with LA on stated, there was always just the assumption even with the press that they just knew and didn’t ask those questions until the doping became the story.
    DS- skill is always involved, but another thought is that if you are overly fatigued, something starts to give sooner or later – either handling gets sloppier, decisions get more desparate, or you get slower. Doping surely helps this out late in the race. Lance not on dope is A) already dropped or B) much more likely not to make that athletic move so gracefully. He was not at his limit, so he was cool, calm, and in control.
    Who is or isn’t doping since the early 90’s in the Euro peloton is about as mysterious as a clogged toilet is to a plumber and perhaps both need a good roto-rootering and flushing.


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