At the risk of beating a dead horse I’m going on record as saying that yesterday’s “breaking news,” also known as the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s 200-page report detailing the so-called hard evidence that Lance Armstrong cheated to win his 7 Tour de France titles, doesn’t change anything. Although headlines of USADA’s report focus on the testimony against Armstrong by 11 of his former cycling teammates, if you read on, you’ll see that the “new” report does nothing but rehash vague, unreliable, or unverifiable facts and allegations that were already known.
[A] one-sided hatchet job—a taxpayer funded tabloid piece rehashing old, disproved, unreliable allegations based largely on axe-grinders, serial perjurers, coerced testimony, sweetheart deals and threat-induced stories.
Herman also pointed out that two of the key witnesses—Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton—are “serial perjurers and have told diametrically contradictory stories under oath.”
Admittedly, I haven’t taken the time to read the whole report, and unless it becomes my job to do so, I won’t, because I consider it to be merely propaganda. It doesn’t appear that there is anything in there that we didn’t already know…or at least suspect. Essentially, it lays out a pattern of circumstantial evidence, mostly testimonial, which shows how Armstrong (and his teammates) could have been doping all along—that is, all along, during those years when he was probably the most tested professional athlete in the world.
Let us not forget that doping has been around in professional cycling for over 100 years. In fact, doping allegations have plagued the #Tdf since 1903.
The one new piece of evidence in this week’s USADA report was a statement by Armstrong’s longtime friend and teammate George Hincapie, who is distinguishable as the only cyclist to have assisted Armstrong in all 7 of his #TdF victories. Regardless of what impact, if any, Hincapie’s contribution had on the totality of USADA’s damning evidence against Armstrong, Hincapie’s statement doesn’t even mention Armstrong by name.
Something that occurred to me after reading several news accounts of USADA’s latest propaganda report is that its CEO Travis Tygart wasn’t able to garner the testimony of any unbiased witness. What I mean by that is that all of the people who gave testimony to USADA had something to gain in exchange for doing so—they were all U.S. cyclists, or in one way or another were in a position such that they could find themselves on the wrong side of what limited authority USADA actually has. For example, Armstrong’s ex-wife, Kristin Richard—who is implicated throughout the report as a key accomplice to Lance’s alleged doping regime—did not participate in any part of the investigation. Why? Because USADA couldn’t force her to.
This brings me to my final (and, sorry, more or less my only) point: USADA doesn’t have the authority or jurisdiction to strip Lance Armstrong of his 7 #TdF victories. As of today (11 OCT 2012), he still has the world record for most #TdF wins, and remains the only cyclist to have won the event seven times! That’s a fact.
Photo credit: Judi Oyama