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My computer, my bike and everything else disappeared. Wait a minute -- no they didn't. Whew!

I'm having difficulty putting it into words, but it's an odd sort of argument that someone like Hamilton is "discredited" because he was caught doping, denied it, then admitted it (under penalty of perjury).

The details of these reports are pretty credible, and they're corroborated by multiple sources. The fact that every single major rival that Lance dropped in his Tour wins have since been revealed to have been doping is pretty compelling circumstantial evidence as well.

I think people are extremely loathe to let go of a fantasy, but at some point you need to accept facts.

I suspected Lance was doping as the Tour victories mounted, but it wasn't until Landis was busted in 2006 that I became convinced that there was a wholesale culture of doping at Postal/Discovery. I followed Landis from his days as a local MTB racer, and the idea that he managed to make it to the upper echelons of the European peloton by masterminding a complicated regime of doping--without recourse to a systemic culture of doping--was simply not plausible.

As it is now, what's killing pro cycling isn't doping; it's the way in which the governing body (particularly the UCI) has the power to promote and terminate careers. Several witnesses gave testimony that Lance paid off the UCI to have at least one doping violation covered-up. Landis was sanctioned immediately, and pilloried publicly. In 2007, Rassmussen was stripped of his yellow jersey, and kicked out of the Tour for suspicion of doping (evading doping controls). Contador tests positive for a banned substance (including traces of plasticides indicating blood-doping), but is allowed to continue to compete in UCI events.

It's one thing to impose strict controls to ensure a level playing field; it's another entirely to use those controls to promote some while holding back others.

That's what turns the sport into professional wrestling.


As far as doping goes, I've been tempted to say, "So long as everyone has access to the same dope, let them dope!", but that ignores the conundrum that young riders coming into the sport are faced with: you either dope, or you go home. No one should be put in that position.

I think Hamilton is somewhat discredited because he's a known liar, who only came clean when he was forced to. Of course, that doesn't mean he's not telling the truth.

Your thoughts on doping reminds me of the "All Drug Olympics" from SNL.

Color me unconvinced. The argument that he had to have been doing it because everyone else was is singularly meaningless. As for the detailed descriptions, those are troubling, although I think you overstate the degree to which any specifics have been corroborated (only broad brushstrokes) and by how many. Let's see if the fed's hounddog can sniff something out with them. Indications lately are that the investigation has stalled.

I think Lance has a little more credibility, not because of who he is, but because he operated under the spotlight, with hundreds of clean tests and no proven dirty ones. Until we have better evidence than the words of largely discredited rivals, we should presume he was clean.

I think Lance has a little more credibility, not because of who he is, but because he operated under the spotlight, with hundreds of clean tests and no proven dirty ones.

Landis had hundreds of clean tests, too. Only one came up positive. And if it's proven that Armstrong was funneling large amounts of cash to the UCI to supress positive tests as Lance, the UCI, and the laboratory that flagged his positive 2001 Tour de Suisse sample have admitted(and as the reporting documents should prove or disprove), I think "clean tests" is a bit meaningless.

My question about Hamilton's credibility was poorly phrased, here's a better example: now that Hincapie has reportedly fingered Lance, is Hincapie discredited? After all, he's a "known liar" as well, given that he denied doping in the past, and now is admitting it.

He's either lying about using drugs (in order to "cash in" presumably?), or he has been lying for the last decade.

My point is that it's much more complicated than just saying, "you've got no credibility because you lied" when what everyone has supposedly lied about is the thing in question. It's not as though Hamilton has claimed to be the grandson of Anastasia, to have been abducted by aliens, and to know where the treasure of the Sierra Madre is buried.

He was doping; he was caught; and now under penalty of perjury, he's told what he knows.

Your thoughts on doping reminds me of the "All Drug Olympics" from SNL.

Right, but all evidence is starting to point to the fact that we've had that pretty much since the end of the LeMond Era, right?

http://joepapp.blogspot.com/2010/04/lemond-was-clean-maybe-ullrich-could.html

:)

And Landis enjoyed the prsumption of innocence right until it was proven he wasn't. That's still better than every professional cyclist having to prove a negative all the time, and having every win tainted, and every story of personal triumph blighted by suspicion.

I think Lance has enjoyed the presumption of innocence as well. But there is a massive preponderance of evidence that leads to the conclusion he has participated in the same systematic doping participated in by every other successful cyclist of his era.

Again, I think we're conflating the presumed innocence regarding doping for folks like Hamilton, Landis, and now Hincapie--which clearly they're no longer entitled to--versus the question of whether they're reliable witnesses. There's still no compelling argument I've read that indicates that Landis, Hamilton or Hincapie are discredited on the issue of doping.

It'd be one thing if these guys stood to gain from lying--but they don't. In the case of Hincapie, he has everything on Earth to lose. The only compelling incentive they have is to avoid federal perjury charges.

That increases, not decreases their credibility in my opinion.

@Krickey:

Leaving aside Hamilton and Landis, I'm still interested in your opinion:

"Now that Hincapie has reportedly fingered Lance, is Hincapie discredited? After all, he's a 'known liar' one way or another, given that he denied doping in the past, and now is admitting it. He's either lying in his admission about using drugs, or he has been lying for the last decade."

Hincapie has refused to say what he testified. 60 Minutes says they know what he testified, but he says he isn't the source of their information.

It's hard to weigh in on whether he is or is not telling the truth when he isn't saying what he said. That's why we have to wait.

Some confessed dopers never tested positive, but were caught because of other investigative measures. E.g., David Millar (cyclist) and Marion Jones (runner). If Hincapie did testify that Lance used PEDs as was reported (Hincapie has neither confirmed nor denied, and the actual testimony is secret) that's credible because he is a close friend of Lance. It remains to be seen how this plays out.

@Michael Roy:

And that's the bottom line. What we have now is a system where with enough resources and clout you can circumvent doping controls. Marion Jones was never caught. The controls are simply never good enough. So some are advantaged over others.

All you've done is make it harder to prove the negative. After all, if they kept testing negative, that only proves that they had the resources to circumvent the tests! How incredibly nefarious.

I'm a bit curious as to the strategy of requesting the old samples that purportedly tested positive but which the official investigation ruled could not be trusted because they had been improperly frozen and controls to prevent contamination were not followed.

I think the prosecutor's trying to sweat Lance. Even if he "knows" that's a dead end for the prosecutor, he has to wonder about it, and worry about what the prosecutor will find there.

On the other hand, a prosecutor with a solid hand does not waste time on marginal leads like tainted blood samples.

which the official investigation ruled could not be trusted

Who is "the official investigation"? Look, I'm a cycling fan. I'd like to believe that LA was beyond dominant for the entire decade of the most proliferate decade of systematic doping in the history of sport, but was the only rider who was riding clean. Just not plausible in my opinion.

I still don't understand what the alleged ding to the crediblity of folks like Landis and Hamilton is supposed to be. It's like saying there's two guys who are arrested for murdering someone, and they finger a third guy (with no quid pro quo, or reduction in their sentence). All circumstantial evidence points to this third guy as implicated in the murder, yet we cannot trust the testimony of his erstwhile partners because...what? They initially lied about committing the murder? The logic just seems "off" to me.

Anyway, obviously nothing is "known" yet, but things are looking mighty grim.

The International Cycling Federation hired an investigator. The investigator went a little off the reservation in how far he went to clear Lance and trash his critics, but his essential conclusion was sound--no proper records were kept of the samples and the chain of custody was fatally flawed, as indeed was evidenced by the fact that the entire investigation was prompted by L'Equipe magazine obtaining one sample for its own use AND obtaining the documentation linking the unidentified sample with Armstrong, which should have been impossible.

The investigation hinted strongly that Armstrong was cleared. That was too far. It is true, though, that these samples can't be relied on for anything, which is why I wonder at this turn in the investigation.

The prosecutor's MO has been to turn smaller players in the scandal to use to get bigger people and hard evidence. He seems to be getting the people, but he may be having trouble getting hard evidence.

I think the prosecutor knows he'll never win a battle of witnesses.

Do you mean UCI? I'm not sure they're an objective third-party at this point. I'm much more interested to see what the feds determine.

Regarding the new bike lock (and current Kryptonite locks), here's some info on disc-detainer locks and their weaknesses that may be of interest:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nT0PDQUZi74
http://www.lockwiki.com/index.php/Disc_detainer

Here's a handy pick tool you can purchase for £12.99:

http://www.withoutakey.co.uk/disc-detainer-pick

An interesting "general audience" article on Lance, the UCI, and "too big to fail":

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/magazine/05/23/lance.armstrong/index.html

"USA Cycling sent a request to the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory in 1999 for past test results -- testosterone-epitestosterone ratios -- for a cyclist identified only by his drug-testing code numbers. A source with knowledge of the request says that the cyclist was Armstrong."

That's symptomatic of the major problem I have with the current frenzy. Too much of it relies on anonymous leaks of supposedly confidential information, like this, the similar L'Equipe magazine piece and the purported Hincapie testimony.

One shouldn't have to be a Lance fan to recognize when rotten deeds, even if taken in furtherance of a righteous cause, still stink of hypocrisy, backstabbing and perhaps outright manufacture.

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