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I posted this diary to my blog today. I'm a photographer who shoots cycling for a living so all this is very close and personal for me. Eventually a lying Romney shows up late in the piece. If you're not that interested in cycling skip down to the Age of Liars section.

I wrote in 2008.

Frankly I cannot imagine that if he had doped that he would come back to the sport with so much on the line; his legacy; his endorsements; his charity; and most importantly the hundreds of thousands of cancer survivors that continue the fight because of his inspiration. No one with that much spiritual responsibility would risk destroying so many hearts.

When Lance Armstrong announced his comeback to an excited interbike press conference in September 2008 I was sitting front row center. It was the first time I'd been in proximity to the rider who'd got me out of bed at 5:30 am each July while he ran the table in France.

At the time I wrote about how Neal Rogers from Velonews had left the seat near to me to charge his laptop. With my camera focused on the stage I'd not noticed Greg Lemond take his place, and so when Greg was recognized by Armstrong for the first question, I was as surprised as anyone in the room.

A nervous Lemond struggled to structure his question. His hands fidgeted with a phone apparently recording the exchange.

Freeze frame. I don'€™t know if it'€™s fair to characterize the general mood of the room. In those first few seconds when all attention swung to Lemond there seemed to be a collective inhalation, and the adrenalin rush that comes with a confrontation. How was this going to play out?

It didn'€™t take long to find out. Relatively quickly Armstrong took charge, deflected the technical grounds for Lemond'€™s doping question, and shut the whole thing down with "Greg we'€™re not going to go negative here"€ I suspect most felt Lemond had lost the exchange and wanted to get back to the scheduled second coming of the sport'€™s biggest attraction. I know I did, and I was wrong.

Analysis with Hindsight

The question had ostensibly been asked of Don Catlin, the testing specialist retained by Armstrong to ensure the highest level of doping scrutiny for his comeback. When I spoke to Catlin after the news conference he hadn'€™t been able to hear the full question. Catlin asked me to reconstruct the question as I understood it, and I went through Lemond's assertion that V02max was the baseline predictor of athletic performance and conversely performance enhancement. Catlin acknowledged it was a legitimate question (but I didn'€™t report that) because he really hadn'€™t answered the question he didn'€™t hear. For my part I was not aware of the question'€™s subtext.

I didn'€™t know that Greg's wife Kathy had alleged a conversation between Lance and Greg in her 2006 SCA deposition. Essentially Lance had claimed Greg must have doped with EPO to win his tours. Greg countered that the difference between the two men was Lance had a VO2max of 82, Greg'€™s was 95, and Lance "didn't know what he was talking about"€

A month later in October 2009 Armstrong spokesperson Mark Higgins responded to Pierre Bordry's (then head of the French Anti-Doping Agency) proposal to retest samples from the 1999 Tour de France, claiming all sorts of procedural and technical impediments to any retesting.

Five months later the total transparency promised by Armstrong's Catlin testing program was gone, ended I believe when Armstrong felt he didn'€™t need the cover story, and possibly because Catlin wasn'€™t prepared to spin his limited access into the indisputable validation Armstrong wanted.

Call it smoke and mirrors or spin, whatever looking back it was cold and calculated politics from the Armstrong camp.

In the aftermath of USADA'€™s chainshot volley the good ship Armstrong has lost it'€™s mast, the brand's rigging and sails are in tatters, and a once loyal crew of sponsors has abandoned ship. His defending public have fought a brave if deluded retreat to increasingly awkward positions: the level playing field; government waste; and moral equivalency between a positive (Livestrong) and a negative (doping).

The Age of Liars

It'€™s now quite clear that Lance Armstrong has been lying about his own behavior and character for more than a decade. Worse still the USADA report makes absolutely clear that he went on the offensive to pull others into the doping conspiracy, influence them to commit perjury, encourage them to smuggle drugs across international borders, hide from anti-doping tests, and collaborate with a heretical doctor running a highly lucrative and sophisticated doping program.

To perpetuate the fiction of innocence he aggressively worked to destroy the reputations of original whistleblowers, Betsy Andreu and Emma O'€™Reilly. Investigative journalism from David Walsh and Paul Kimmage was attacked and the writers ostracized. He sued and won lawsuits to benefit financially and may have bribed UCI officials to make doping problems go away.

Reading the 200-page Reasoned Decision I was struck by many of the small details. Selling team bikes to pay for dope. Levi and Floyd renting a French apartment to cover their tracks, the Hincapie Affidavit's rather insipid closing points defending Lance but most of all I was offended by Armstrong'€™s enduring belligerence. All those years, all those denials, denigrations and defamations to what purpose, but narcissism and greed.

We have it seems found the bottom of the barrel. It'€™s no coincidence at the precise historical moment that Armstrong has fallen we've seen the ascendancy of a new mendacity in American politics. In Mitt Romney we have a cipher willing to say and do anything to win. After all no principle is worth losing for.

Armstrong and Romney are two sides of the same coin that sadly has become the devalued currency of contemporary American life. Leave integrity at the door, win at all costs, cheat to get what you want, and when challenged or caught, lie some more.

I'€™m not sure where cycling goes next. Perhaps there is room for truth and reconciliation, but I'm adamant that whether Armstrong comes clean or not, he shouldn't find personal redemption having had so many opportunities to tell the truth before and crushing anyone brave enough to stand in opposition.

I'm dismayed that riders like Indurain and Contador continue to miss the point of these revelations. Armstrong has been calling the tune for more than a decade, and now the music has stopped. If you want to be fair, send a thank you note to Betsy Andreu or make a donation to the Kimmage defense fund, and as strongly and clearly as possible join the voices calling for McQuaid to resign.

Originally posted to VeloDramatic on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 05:08 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks. I don't know anything at all about cycling (12+ / 0-)

    but I was thinking about the similarities between the two (LA and MR) and the historical meaning just yesterday.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 05:14:27 PM PDT

    •  I'm not sure the analogy holds (15+ / 0-)

      I'm not sure the analogy holds.

      Even if Armstrong used illegal methods to be champion, he at least had to pedal the length of France 7 times.

      Romney came out first by virtue of having been born at the finish line.

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 06:22:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And Romney's lies are untrue (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CarbonFiberBoy, Lujane, collardgreens

        Armstrong really did finish first seven times in the Tour de France.

        It's not like Romney defeated Obama with honest intellectual debate, and only later we learned that Romney had rhinoed a few lines of meth before each debate.

        "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

        by Subterranean on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 10:42:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No comparison between Lance and Mitt (4+ / 0-)

          I'm not a huge cycling fan, but it seems to me that it should be like football plays.  If the ref didn't see it, it didn't happen.  You don't call a foul after the fact during replay.  Replays are only used to overturn calls.  "The ruling on the field stands" or "The ruling on the field is reversed."

          What are they going to do about Lance's 7 Tour victories?  Are the second place finishers going to be elevated to 1st?  What a farce.  It would be like reading that your team didn't win that game last night.  The last play was reviewed and it turns out the offense held, so the game winning touchdown pass didn't count.  Doesn't happen.  Ever.

          Even if a player is found to have doped.  No game results are altered.  They are banned from future games (unlike Lance).  

          Now to compare Lance to Romney who flip-flops with every speech, who fibs and lies about everything is ludicrous.  According to 42% of Mitt Romney's statements that they've checked are mostly false, false or "pants on fire" false.   I've read that Politifact has Romney at well over half of the total amount of “Pants of Fire” lies (58.6%) of all the candidates combined!

          These lies are all being caught before the game is over.  The refs are calling foul.  But is he being penalized?  Not so much.  Certainly, his candidacy is not being revoked (as it should be).

          Even Democrats can be asses. Look at Rahm Emanuel.

          by Helpless on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 11:25:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You are missing some information (6+ / 0-)

            In fact the current recommendation from the ASO (who owns the Tour de France) is NOT to award Lance's "victories" to any other rider. There will simply be no winner for those years. It remains to be seen whether the UCI will conform to that ASO recommendation.

            I don't see how Romney lying about everything and Armstrong lying about the most important thing, over and over for ten years is that different. Is Armstrong to be given credit for not lying about where he was having dinner (his most popular twitter subject). Armstrong spent the last ten years lying about former teammates, journalists, investigators and anyone else who dared to question him.

            Without question the implications of Romney's lies are far more series, but Armstrong's integrity in no better.

            •  they share a lack of integrity (4+ / 0-)

              and overweening ambition.

              A standing army is like a standing member. It's an excellent assurance of domestic tranquility, but a dangerous temptation to foreign adventure. Elbridge Gerry - Constitutional Convention (1787)

              by No Exit on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 12:09:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I applaud this diary, but I think the attempt (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Garrett, glorificus, kaliope, Helpless

              to equate Romney and Armstrong is misguided.  

              Cheating in sports is cheating in sports.  This is a REALLY horrible example of that because Lance, it would seem, spun a huge web of lies in the process.

              But sports is not leader of the free world.  Millions of people's lives and the potential future of the planet are not at stake in the race for the yellow jersey.  

              I'd just have left Romney out of this.  The Armstrong story and insight stands on its own.

              Certainly from our standpoint, this gives us a sense of momentum -- when the United States has accolades tossed its way, rather than shoes. - PJ Crowley

              by nsfbr on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 12:13:33 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Nowhere was it suggested (4+ / 0-)

                that there's an equivalency in the importance or world impact of the lies. It's a simple observation that both men have established a new level of mendacity that's excused or approved in their respective fields.

                Lance's behavior went far beyond the know or imagined boundaries of sport

                •  I think we are going to have to agree to (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  disagree on this.  Imho, the diary is better without using Romney's name at all.  (By the way, then it becomes timeless, as on November 7th Romney is simply a resident of the trashbin of history.  Lance is going down in history for a lot of reasons.)

                  Certainly from our standpoint, this gives us a sense of momentum -- when the United States has accolades tossed its way, rather than shoes. - PJ Crowley

                  by nsfbr on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 06:32:20 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  We agree on Romney for the Trashbin ;-) (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Regina in a Sears Kit House
                    •  I don't understand how the polls can be so close (0+ / 0-)

                      Is there collusion here?

                      If course the media wants to keep the race close to boost ratings, newspaper sales, etc.  Are they shaping this contest like a crooked ref?  Calling just enough fouls to keep Romney a couple of points behind?

                      And speaking of crooked refs?  I know doping used to be common in cycling.  Could it be that everyone still dopes and the ASO (who I understand hated that an American has won 7 Tours) and the US doping agency just took him down for political reasons?  Sort of destroys the "integrity" of the sport, I know, but the temptations must be huge for such a grueling sport.

                      I assume Lance was taking stuff that wasn't banned at the time -- hence the clean tests.  Is that doping?  Just asking.

                      Even Democrats can be asses. Look at Rahm Emanuel.

                      by Helpless on Fri Oct 26, 2012 at 12:05:43 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Collusion (0+ / 0-)

                        I do believe there's plenty of evidence of media partisanship. Whether it's the mindless horse race mentality, the willful misinterpretation of the truth, the minimization of voter suppression or biased poll screening... it's all rather sad.

                        Re: Cycling

                        The French are naturally proud of their race but I don't believe they had it in for Armstrong until his performance raised legitimate concerns (that now have been proven true).

                        I don't believe the majority of professional cyclists are currently doping.

                        NO - Lance cheated taking substances and employing methods that were banned at the time. He passed the tests by employing sophisticated methods to micro dose, avoid timely tests, dilute blood and urine samples to slip past the tests. In addition it appears he paid off the UCI to hide positive results when he did test positive. Armstrong is a cheat and a liar period. He's certainly not been a victim of any political witch hunt, if anything he's benefited from political cover.

        •  No, analogy's fine. Romney, too, has traveled (3+ / 0-)

          across American multiple times in his 6-year Prez campaign.

          He has given zillions of talks to people he doesn't care for.

          He has participated in dozens of debates.

          Still, a crook is a crook. Just like Armstrong, whom - I must admit as a total outsider to cycling world - has always seemed a bit fishy to me.

          That Bushesque Texan swagger rarely comes from a real place.

  •  I didn't want to believe it (14+ / 0-)

    He was one of my heroes.

    I feel sad.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 05:15:28 PM PDT

    •  I believe it, but don't care (0+ / 0-)

      Even Democrats can be asses. Look at Rahm Emanuel.

      by Helpless on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 11:28:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Armstrong helped save my life (5+ / 0-)

      I've biked a lot and am a consistent 20+ mile/week runner.

      Six years ago I was suddenly diagnosed with stage 4 throat cancer. The docs just told me "you have this, go get this CAT scan, and we'll figure out what to do" and sent me on my way.

      A sleepless night and at 9am the next morning I walked into Pueblo Radiology in Santa Barbara and walked down the hall to the CT machine...and there on the wall, in a huge frame, was one of Lance's yellow jerseys, signed, from his second win.

      Oh! Lance had cancer that had spread to his brain and lungs, and he not only beat it, but became the greatest cyclist ever. I'd read his book and knew the details, his struggles and weakness during treatment, his long road back to health. But I got it:

      I can do this. I can win.

      And I did just that. I went into the radiation room every single day with a smile to lie there and get my treatment. I was happy to have the chemo for seven weeks, 'cause I knew this worked.

      It did work, the cancer is gone and even at sixty I can run farther and faster than six years ago.

      So the point of this is that I'm so mixed up about Lance and his cheating. He didn't have to do that. He could have just come back, competed in world-class rides, and still been a hero, someone who could help save people like me who need a healthy model for fighting their cancer.

      At this point Armstrong is, to me, both scum and a hero. He was stupid, threw it all away, just to win. He didn't understand that when we was cured, when he was able to ride again, hard and fast, he'd already won.

      He didn't need to cheat to win; he'd already won.

    •  Too bad bush sold his ranch. Could have (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      whenwego, davidincleveland

      used another middle-aged, performance-enhanced pair of arms to help clear the shrubs

    •  Armstrong's politics are probably closer to (10+ / 0-)

      the Democtratic Party than the Republicans.

      He stated that he considered himself "middle to left".

      Though he was on friendly terms with Bush, he indicated that he disagreed with him politically. In 2003 Armstrong said regarding Bush, "He's a personal friend, but we've all got the right not to agree with our friends."

      A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

      by slatsg on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 06:28:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm hard line Liberal (9+ / 0-)

        I cannot fathom being friends with someone who willfully stole an election and then worked to destroy the Constitution he promised to defend.

        It's like saying, I think [insert deadliest mafia boss ever] is a great guy. But we disagree on many things.

        Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

        by MA Liberal on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 06:00:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Tip O'Neill and Ronald Reagan were friends (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Go figure.

          A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

          by slatsg on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 12:42:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Don't forget Hunter and Nixon talking football (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            MA Liberal

            In the back of the car on the way to the airport. Exclusive interview if Hunter Thompson was willing to only talk football.

            There were only two of us in back: just me and Richard Nixon, and we were talking football in a very serious way.  It was late —almost midnight then, too— and the cop was holding the beg Merc at exactly sixty-five as we hissed along the highway for more than an hour between some American Legion hall in a small town somewhere near Nashua where Nixon had just made a speech, to the airport up in Manchester where a Lear Jet was waiting to whisk the candidate and his brain-trust off to Key Biscayne for a Think Session.

            It was a very weird trip; probably one of the weirdest things I’ve ever done, and especially weird because both Nixon and I enjoyed it.  We had a good talk, and when we got to the airport, I stood around the Lear Jet with Dick and the others, chatting in a very relaxed way about how successful his swing through New Hampshire had been…and as he climbed into the plane it seemed only natural to thank him for the ride and shake hands….

          •  Different times (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            That Republican Party no longer exists.

            Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

            by MA Liberal on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 04:18:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Lance was trying to raise $1 billion for cancer (2+ / 0-)

          As much as I liked Lance at the time, it seemed like Lance was simply kissing ass to raise money.

          i just baptized andrew breitbart into the church of islam, planned parenthood, the girl scouts and three teachers unions. - @blainecapatch

          by bobinson on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 03:14:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  You can say that he anticipated the age of (11+ / 0-)

    liars, and helped bring it about. If doping in cycling was petty crime, Armstrong turned it into organized crime.

  •  The poor (13+ / 0-)

    people he crushed under his boot heel. Horrible.

    This episode does give you an idea of how sophisticated this type of behavior can become with many enablers all around. Romney fits the profile unfortunately.

    Truth is harmonious, lies are discordant.

    by Babsnc on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 05:27:59 PM PDT

  •  I must admit (21+ / 0-)

    that I never liked Armstrong's arrogance or the way he treated his wife or Cindy Crawfod.  But I am totally floored by the magnitude of what he did and how he not only got away with it but was a hero to many. On his own, he must be a phenomenal athlete (or the doping would not have helped that much) and a leader (or he could not have to influence the others) but apparently that simply was not good enough.  

    They say that you can never be too rich or too skinny or too "winningest", but that assumption is wrong. It seems to me that when you find cheating and lying a natural way to behave, you have lost your humanity. I really doubt that either Armstrong will regret the cheating, lying and unethical behavior ... they will just regret that they did not get away with it forever.

    "Life without liberty is like a body without spirit. Liberty without thought is like a disturbed spirit." Kahlil Gibran, 'The Vision'

    by CorinaR on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 05:31:56 PM PDT

  •  I'd been following this story for a while (20+ / 0-)

    We bitch about the political press, but sports press isn't a whole lot better. Most cycling reporters were all too happy to dismiss Floyd Landis' allegations about Armstrong's doping as sour grapes. Landis was the villain, Armstrong the hero. They were all so confident that Armstrong would never dope up, although they would put a little caveat about how if the allegations were true, hoo boy, that would be sad day.

    Which is not to say that Landis didn't fuck up and deserve all the scorn he received.

    Cycling has been corrupt for ages, most cyclists just don't want to admit it.

    I like how you tied this all in with politics, though. There are many  parallels, including a complacent press that doesn't want to question anyone in a way that would be unpopular.

    (I hope I'm not insulting you about the cycling press!)

    P.S. I am not a crackpot.

    by BoiseBlue on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 05:32:49 PM PDT

  •  Lance was a hero to me (10+ / 0-)

    So these revelations are really sad.  All things considered, though, it's not surprising, considering his ascendancy to the pinnacle of cycling came at the very same time Major League Baseball was in the midst of its "steroid" era.  They may have not been able to pin down Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens in federal court for steroid use, but the initial hearings into the widespread steroid/HGH use eventually opened the floodgates and caught several well-known superstars in the wave, including Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Manny Ramirez, Rafael Palmeiro, Jason Giambi, and Alex Rodriguez.

    While this was not related to doping, it was also the period where coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots sent out a team of scouts to film the New York Jets football practice.  It just goes to show what lengths people will go to get an edge on their competition.

  •  So how do we ever know? (9+ / 0-)

    If this went on so long and was such a huge conspiracy how can we know if anyone is clean?  As we have heard many times Lance was the most tested athlete in history and never had a positive result.  As long as we keep treating athletes as heroes and pay them obscene amounts of money they will always look for an edge to make them better than the opponent.  Whether its performance enhancing drugs, illegal equipment on race cars, stick um on your hands or a pitcher using a spit ball and batters with corked bats can we ever trust sports again?

    I don't.

    "The work begins anew, the hope rises again, and the dream lives on." Ted Kennedy 2008

    by rscopes on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 06:54:07 PM PDT

  •  I recall two good friends of George W. Bush (5+ / 0-)

    this guy and Rafael Palmeiro.

    A couple of questions for any kids out there:

    What do these two athletes have in common?

    Are you surprised they were good friends of W?

  •  VeloDramatic, so well written and easy (28+ / 0-)

    parallel to Mitt Romney.

    My DH and I follow cycling very closely: I have the zeal of a convert. We have been really uncomfortable with Armstrong, as we have seen narcissism close up and have developed some kind of sense about people.

    He seemed to be arrogant and somewhat of a bully just from watching him on Tours de France and encounters with the press and other riders.

    What took the cake for me was his unneccesary lapping of George Hincapie who had a good chance to win, and denied an aging trooper his last chance for a simple stage win.

    Having watched this year's Tour, I think that not having so much doping has opened up the field, and the race could have gone to many, which made it more exciting.

    The NYT had a good article this week, and the story that saddened me the most is Dave Zabriskie's. Cycling was his refuge from a doping and dealing dad, then there is Johann Brunyl (SP?) pushing this kid. Johann gets a lot of my ire in this saga. NYT: How Lance Armstrong fell one rider at a time.

    Romney gives me the creeps. He is downright scary to watch, and I find I cannot bear to hear his voice. Gods and Goddess help us if he wins and Republicans hold the Congress hostage.

    I must add that I have been very ill, and just this week am at least for now able to read DKos again. I am glad I was able to read your well crafted piece and see that the Rescue Rangers think so too.

    I hope we see more of your incisive, crisp and truthful writing.

    Science is hell bent on consensus. Dr. Michael Crichton said “Let’s be clear: The work of science has nothing to do with consensus... which is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right,”

    by Regina in a Sears Kit House on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 08:13:53 PM PDT

    •  Be Well (18+ / 0-)

      Thank you Regina for the thoughtful comments. I hope you are on the mend and feeling better. Fingers crossed we have some great news to celebrate on Nov. 7th.

      I spent this July in France photographing a group of amateur women who rode the entire Tour de France one day ahead of the men. First time that's been done.

      I agree Dave Zabriskie's story is a particularly poignant one. It's also tough to see riders I've photographed like Levi be part of this mess. I watched the Levi Effect documentary film last night and the recent revelations have certainly changed his life. I expect it will take a year or more for the full impact of this to ripple through the cycling world.

      Greg Lemond actually released an open letter tonight calling for the UCI president Pat McQuaid to step down. A lot of cyclists owe him a tremendous debt for speaking out when it wasn't popular. He's now the only legitimae US Tour de France winner.

      •  Dave Zabriskie (9+ / 0-)

        Has long been a favorite of mine too.  I cried when I read that he had doped (albeit for a very short period), because I was somewhat familiar with his back story.  

        I have been following cycling and particularly the Tour de France since prior to Lemond.  I remember reading Lemond's challenging criticism of Lance long ago and chalked it up to Greg having sour grapes, as he was known to do at times.  We all owe Greg an apology. It was Betsy Andreu's charges that got me to thinking that Lance probably was cheating and had found a way around the testing system.  Her story is inspiring in that this one person stuck by her principles despite the pressures and most likely that it led to Frankie's release from the team. Despite all the evidence, I did not want to believe it.  I should have known better.  It was all too good to be true.

        One thing I noticed this year at the Tour was that most riders were actually getting tired and many looked very worn near the end of the Tour. While doping does not make up for lack of talent, but it does give an edge when abilities are equal. Does that mean that doping is totally gone?  Probably not.  Afterall, Frank Schleck got caught this year and honestly, doping was not going to help him.  But what it may mean is that the majority of riders now are probably clean.  I do believe that most riders would prefer to ride clean as long as they know that the playing field stays level.

        "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

        by gulfgal98 on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 03:21:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  glad to see you, my friend. (5+ / 0-)


      please excuse my OT, velodramatic.

      Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle. -Helen Keller

      by ridemybike on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 04:26:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent. What I've been thinking for awhile. (4+ / 0-)

    What will future generations think about a society with athletes like Armstrong and Bonds?  And how truly they do reflect the shamelessness and gracelessness of our times.

    "To recognize error, to cut losses, to alter course, is the most repugnant option in government." Historian Barbara Tuchman

    by Publius2008 on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 11:03:43 PM PDT

  •  Outstanding diary (21+ / 0-)

    The denigration of honesty in America is terrifying.  Mitt Romney.  Lance Armstrong.  

    We're living in the Golden Age of the compulsive liar.  

    The slippery use of half-truths and outright fiction among other politicians; among Hollywood celebrities (faux relationships and bearding, not to mention plastic surgery and blatantly exaggerated PR); the obvious mendacity of "reality" TV; the fact that journalism students don't even understand anymore why it's wrong to plagiarize; the ability of the internet to make people unidentifiable and free to assume false identities...

    ...there seems to be no honor in truth and transparency any more.

    We live in dark times, all around.

    "When a man tells you that he got rich through hard work, ask him: 'Whose?' Don Marquis

    by hopesprings on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 11:09:33 PM PDT

      •  An interesting coincidence (13+ / 0-)

            Just yesterday I made a comment on another diary: Romney-KNOWS-the-Press-is-Stupid

             which makes the comparison between Romney and Armstrong in reference to the first debate.  I didn't think much of it at the time, but now it looks like the comment has received more recs than any other comment I've made so far, so I guess it struck a chord.  Since the comment seems so relevant to this diary, I'll repeat myself below, after adding one more observation:

             I'm not familiar with Friday Night Lights, either the book, the movie, or the tv series, but after reading Buzz Bissinger's endorsement of Romney in the Daily Beast, I was inspired to do some cursory research.  I learned that one of the themes of the original book was that behind the mythic spectacle of sports, there is a corrupting influence resulting from the desire to win at all costs.  Which makes it ironic that the main thrust of Bissinger's Romney endorsement seemed to be purely based on spectacle and not substance.  He acknowledged that Romney's policy positions were either  lacking or deceptive, but his bottom line was, he was voting for Romney because he LOOKED better on the debate stage than Obama.  Romney LOOKED like the winner, and that was all that mattered to him.  Assuming that Bissinger views sports through the same lens he views politics,  he seems to have abandoned the belief in sports as a means to both build and reveal character, and he apparently doesn't see any value in exposing truth to preserve a sport's integrity if such exposure serves to undermine the heroic mythology that makes sports so attractive.  So it's not surprising at all that just as Bissinger considers Romney's dishonesty to be irrelevant, he feels exactly the same way about Armstrong's deceptions, as expressed in his August opinion piece for Newsweek:  I still believe in Lance Armstrong.

        The original comment:
        Mitt Romney won the first debate in the same way that Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France.  By lying and cheating.  When Armstrong's deception was exposed, he was stripped of his champion titles, and the media gave it plenty of coverage, even though the races occurred years ago.  So why is it that after Romney was exposed as a perpetual liar in the first debate, which occurred just a few weeks ago, the press still calls him the winner?  Why isn't the media disqualifying Romney's "victory" as a disgrace, just as they have called Armstrong's "victories" a disgrace?  I guess a bicycle race is just more important than choosing the leader of the free world.
        Link to Original Comment and Replies
        •  Buzz lives up to his name (5+ / 0-)

          thanks for the insightful comments. I didn't know anything about Buzz either. I read both of his opinion pieces (and disliked them) I thought this comment by one reader summed it up nicely.

          "I believe that Romney’s move to the center is not yet another flip-flop sleight of hand, perhaps naively." -- Buzz on Romney's debate performance, 10/8/12

          "Did he use enhancers? Maybe I am the one who is blind, but I take him at his word and don’t believe it." -- Buzz on Lance Armstrong's doping charges, 8/27/12

          Buzz is never more right than when he's talking about how he might be wrong


          Given how much stock he put in Romney's performance in the first debate I would assume that the drubbing he received in debates 2 and 3 would have reversed his decision. I thought his reasoning was silly.

    •  "the Golden Age of the compulsive liar" (4+ / 0-)

      Top notch phrase.....but I don't think anyone would mistake you as a history buff.

      •  Indeed (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The difference between the past and now is that now we catch the cheaters on occasion. In the past, they had a free pass.

        "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

        by sagesource on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 11:30:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Interesting point. (0+ / 0-)

        I do think that in the past, the compulsive liars got away with it...because people couldn't believe they'd actually lie.

        In the present, they not only get away with it - their lying in itself is seen as an admirable "predator" strategy by some.

        IMHO it's never been a better time to be a liar who gets caught - if you can talk your way through the controversy, you could very well walk away scott free.

        "When a man tells you that he got rich through hard work, ask him: 'Whose?' Don Marquis

        by hopesprings on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 08:58:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Bicycling in same league as World Wrestling Fed (5+ / 0-)

    It is instructive that when the Tour de France declared Lance's victories forfeit, they couldn't declare replacement champions because the also-rans also had been implicated in doping. Maybe when Linda McMahon gets beat in her Senate race she can take over the International Cycling Federation.

    •  20 of the 21 platform standers doped or were (3+ / 0-)

      implicated in doping according to the report. Who is to say the 4th-6th place riders didn't dope as well? The Tour can't award the title to another rider now. Basically pro cycling is dirty, dirty, dirty and every rider is under suspicion for cheating.

      Good job, guys! You've made your sport into a joke.

      What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof. - C. Hitchens

      by sizzzzlerz on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 06:56:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  True, but wrong. (0+ / 0-)

        The ban on doping is idiotic. Caffeine isn't regarded as doping, yet it certainly is. They all take every kind of supplement known to humans - it's just certain supplements that are banned. EPO is made by your kidneys. Everyone makes a different amount. It's just supplementing your own with exogenous EPO that's banned. Why not outlaw meat-eating? The whole thing is stupid, stupid, stupid. It's the anti-dopers who are ruining cycling, not the dopers.

        People wish to be settled, only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them. - Emerson

        by CarbonFiberBoy on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 11:35:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I hope that journalists will follow up (3+ / 0-)

    on the incriminated riders years later to let us know how they're coping with the aftermath of the scandal but also of coming clean.  It must be hard on their kids.

  •  Really nice synopsis (9+ / 0-)

    ...and I had the same thought process as you did when Armstrong decided to un-retire.  And I still wonder why he risked so much, except perhaps ego and arrogance that he was better than he actually was.

    And I like the tie-in to Romney.  Yet for as bad as the Armstrong lying and deception was, the significance of Romney's lies is so much greater.  And he's doing it plain sight.  

    I believe Romney's arrogance is based on the teflon effects that the Bush White House engendered: "We do not torture", "know for a fact" that Iraq had WMD development, etc.  And when each of those lies were proven to be untrue, there were no consequences.  Zero. "Ho hum," responded the MSM, "It's all conventional wisdom now so nothing to report."  Same with Romney.  Of course he lies and that's old stale news now.  And, God help us, it'll probably be the same in 2016.

    In comparison, Armstrong and other dopers did   eventually faced consequences for their lies.

    - - - -

    On a side note, I've followed the Armstrong & Co saga closely over the past 10+ years.   There always seems to have been a back story that the peloton could only survive with drugs, and that this has been the case for decades.  Those who didn't do drugs literally and figuratively were left by the wayside.   Of course, Armstrong portrayed himself as a unique physical and mental specimen who didn't need drugs.

    But with that peloton-does-drugs back story, it always puzzled me that the legacy winners of prior TdF (LeMond, et al) seem to push the same argument as Armstrong--that they didn't need to do drugs because they were unique and strong.  But the back story is that drugs have long been common in the peloton.   If drugs have long been common at the pinnacle of competitive cycling, why should I believe that LeMond didn't benefit from drugs other than he tells me so?  

    •  You're absolutely right (7+ / 0-)

      Romney sets a whole new level of mendacity with much higher stakes for the whole planet.

      I think Lance's return was motivated in no small part by Contador. I believe he saw Alberto's talent and saw a rider who could potentially challenge his records. By coming back he could win a couple more tours, derail Contador and ensure his legacy as the greatest Tour champion. That was certainly how it played out when they rode on Astana and Armstrong and Bruyneel did everything possible to throw the kid off his game.

      All of which makes it all the more crazy that Contador is now defending Lance.

      Of course you are right about Lemond, it does come down to trust. He's certainly paid a high price for his defiance, losing big when Trek dropped his bike line. I'd like to believe in his innocence. It makes little sense to me that Lemond would challenge Armstrong as he did if he himself had doped.

      That's why I found Betsy Andreu's story about Lance revealing his PED use at the time of his cancer treatment to be believable. She had absolutely no reason to fabricate such a story.

      I believe we're going to see a lot more dirt exposed before this reaches any kind of conclusion.

    •  Lemond (0+ / 0-)

      has said he never doped. So did every single doper who later failed a test. Lemond has the advantage of never having been tested. We have no frozen blood or urine of his to test.

      It's all stupid.

      People wish to be settled, only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them. - Emerson

      by CarbonFiberBoy on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 12:06:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I guess I never trusted Armstrong the whole time (4+ / 0-)

    and it just seemed to me that the whole bracelet thing had otherwise alert, people asleep at the wheel, buying his line...but what are you going to say to the friend whose hubby survived cancer so now she wears a livestrong bracelet? No? You're wrong...? Komen for the cure turning everything pink turned me off too, way before the tide actually turned against them. Pink ribbons reminding me of breast cancer on my botle of salsa was just too unappetizing...anyway-it does seem like today's modus opreandi is : gee, you can fix anything with mendacity!

    Leave integrity at the door, win at all costs, cheat to get what you want, and when challenged or caught, lie some more.
    I sure hope Romney doesn't win, but I did wonder if McGovern is resting in peace now, so he won't have to be here for that possibility.
  •  Outstanding diary (4+ / 0-)

    I have followed cycling for many years and even remember hearing about a very talented young tri-athlete out in Texas years ago when I was running and had many tri-athlete friends.  That tri-athlete was Lance Armstrong.

    I had thought about trying to do a diary on this subject, using Lance's cheating and lying as an analogy to today's political landscape and Mitt Romney in particular.  But I felt I could not do it justice in the way you have in your diary.  Thank you for this great diary.  

    I believe we're going to see a lot more dirt exposed before this reaches any kind of conclusion.
    Sadly, you are probably right.  I believe cycling will continue to be a big sport in Europe with its long history of all the classic races and the grand tours.  However, the question is whether or not cycling will survive in the United States. I hope so.

    "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

    by gulfgal98 on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 03:33:59 AM PDT

  •  I met Armstrong's father once, at the (13+ / 0-)

    Byron Nelson golf tournament in Dallas. This was before Lance's first win of the Tour. He seemed nice enough, but as time went by and as Lance's fame grew I would see stories about Lance's father and his mother. She was, by all accounts, a good woman who did right by her son. His father, not so much.

    But this morning, I wonder what his parents think about him. Are they proud?

    I remember when Paul Ryan finished his acceptance speech at the Republican Convention. His family came on stage and they looked very nice and I'll bet they are. But some day, Ryan's children will have to learn about the many lies that their father told and I wonder what they will think. Will they be proud?

    When my own mother was heading into the darkness of Alzheimer's she told me what to say at her funeral. One of the most important things was to tell everyone about her wedding day. She took the usual vows, but she added two more in private. She vowed that she would make sure that all of her children finished high school, and she would never do anything to embarrass them.

    She kept her vows. All four of her children finished high school, all had some college, and two of them even graduated from college. And she never did anything to embarrass us. She only made us proud.

    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

    by hestal on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 03:54:44 AM PDT

  •  Just threw some money Paul's way (4+ / 0-)

    And read Lemond's open letter to the UCI about McQuaid and Verbrugghen needing to resign.

    I was contemplating getting a UCI International license and racing Master's World CX Championships in Louisville in January.

    I won't be paying the UCI $150 for an International license now.  But I will go watch :-)

    You can bomb the world to pieces but you can't bomb it into peace - michael franti

    by FarmerG on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 03:59:13 AM PDT

  •  Wall Street in Sports (7+ / 0-)

    Pro cycling is big business and like the business of finance we have experienced a wave of fraud at the top. USPS was like Enron, Bain Capital or Lehman. Socio-pathic reckless greed with zero moral compass which when left unregulated and unchecked consumed the sport.

    No surprise that the other dopers and their enablers in the UCI are circling the wagons to forestall effective oversight and regulation (sound familiar?).

  •  excellent. (7+ / 0-)

    for some of us the bicycle/political parallels make sense.
    always have :)

    thanks for your excellent diary, velodramatic.

    Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle. -Helen Keller

    by ridemybike on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 04:30:51 AM PDT

  •  I think they're all doping. (2+ / 0-)

    Sorry to sound so cynical, but I doubt there are many of today's athletes, those at the top of their sport, that aren't on something.
    I also know that no matter what Armstrong took, he also had to put in those long hours, days, and months of hard training. It's not like he walked off the street and took a drug and won the Tour...multiple times.
    But what is it that makes these guys (and a few women) do this?
    FAME and MONEY. Lots and lots of both.
    But it's all false.
    I feel sorry for those athletes who DO play by the rules and end up finishing tenth. THEY are the ones who would have won if all things were fair and no one was cheating. Knowing they were true to the sport, and sport itself, is its own reward, perhaps. But it still sucks.
    Look at just a couple of the records that have fallen that were tainted - 1988 100 meter. Roger Maris' 62 home run record. Fans wait to see if any person can ever beat the old mark. They watch and anticipate. And the revel in the achievement.
    But then we find that those achievements are false. We've been had. A bunch of suckers.
    Any wonder why we get more cynical?
    And will sport ever be able to stay ahead of the doping?

    Saddest is that we must now assume all athletes are guilty until proven innocent (drug testing). And this attitude has made its way into our own lives. Want a job? prove you're not on drugs.

    Karma will take care of the liars and cheaters. We may not get to see how, but the universe does tend to take care of people like Romney and Armstrong.

    Sad, sad, sad.

    Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

    by MA Liberal on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 05:22:57 AM PDT

    •  Agree that they're all doping (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But how are their acheivments fake?  Lance Armstrong still finished first in seven tdfs.  Like you said, he still had to put in insane training schedules.  If the point of the TDF is to select the fastest cycler, then that's exactly what happened.  Armstrong was the fastest seven years.

      "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

      by Subterranean on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 11:03:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  But aren't we always told.... (0+ / 0-)

      "leave everything on the field?"

      Really, it's no wonder that some people interpret "everything" to mean, well, "everything."

      "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

      by sagesource on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 11:35:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think I love you. (7+ / 0-)

    And my heart goes out to everyone who's ever been taken in by a con man that they really, really believed in.

    You sum up the cost of his single-minded pursuit to glory, leaving us with the people in mind who may have lost everything- the whistleblowers who were ruined, the team members whose careers were ruined, the cancer patients who might have been teetering on some edge between hope and despair, and every single person who stood up for Lance and said, "this man would never have done that."

    He made fools of everyone, and he destroyed things that others spent their lives building.

    The comparison to Romney is apt.

    Lover, fighter, dreamer

    by kate mckinnon on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 05:51:37 AM PDT

    •  Redemption for the whistleblowers (4+ / 0-)

      Long, long overdue but the good news is that Betsy and Emma, Greg and Floyd are all getting to stand in the light again and hear apologies from many who doubted and attacked them.

      I appreciate the love, this is my first diary in the community spotlight

      •  Re: Floyd (4+ / 0-)

        I wonder if Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton would have ever come clean if they had not gotten caught.  They both spent a long time denying that they doped.  But I do give credit to Jonathan Vaughters who voluntarily admitted that he doped when he was riding with US Postal.  Maybe that is why he started the Garmin team that is based upon riding clean.  And I hope they are still clean since Zabriskie, VandeVelde, Danielson, and Millar all ride for them.  I also have to give some props to Robert Millar who when he got caught years ago, did not try to fight it but took his punishment of a two year suspension and still came back to ride.

        "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

        by gulfgal98 on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 11:30:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Precisely the point (2+ / 0-)

    Chris Hayes' book, "Twilight of the Elites" is all about this.

  •  This line goes to the heart of it for me (3+ / 0-)
    After all no principle is worth losing for.
    Its Machiavellian in nature of course, but it needs to be restated.  

    And, again for me at least, its especially damning to the Mormons.  Romney, as one of the most prominent national figure Mormons ever, will have defined the religion for them.

    I'd like someone to be able to separate the two for me: Romney's win at all costs character: first as a greedy, heartless, money-grubbing business person and then as the lying liar candidacy, from being a good, honest (in private) Mormon.

    I certainly don't indict Mormons as a group; all of the Mormons I've known are hard-working, earnest and cheerful.  But I am also curious how a Mormon squares both sides of Romney's life, or do they disavow him?

    People, not corporations. Democracy, not totalitarian capitalism.

    by democracy is coming on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 06:45:44 AM PDT

  •  because Indurain and Contador also doped (7+ / 0-)

    The basis for the doper is that as long as you never test positive, you are good and can continue with doping. The USADA should be congratulated for having broken through this wall and revealed systemic doping. Yes, McQuaid needs to resign. Worse still is Verbruggen who keeps talking just like Lance and Indurain.

    As much as I appreciate what Lance has done for Livestrong, it will be very hard for Livestrong to continue given all these revelations. Many will keep thinking that Dopestrong is a more accurate name.

  •  I am still unable to wrap my mind (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CarbonFiberBoy, kaliope

    around the mathematical improbability of 10 years and 1000 drug tests all coming back clean. I know what the reports say and they are very detailed and I'm not discounting them -but as a scientist/engineer I find these two things impossible to reconcile.

    Equally, some of the testimony talks about Amrstrong "strong-arming" people before he even had his first TdF win. That doesn't make sense to me either.

    I don't know what the truth is. I'm not saying Armstrong is innocent, but I don't believe that report in its entirety -it really doesn't all add up.

    •  And it doesn't seem mathematically sound (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that other athletes, following this exact method, being tested far less were discovered because of failed tests.

    •  Simple, they prepared for the tests (3+ / 0-)

      As long as the subjects know when the test is and what is to be tested, it's not difficult to prepare.  

      "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

      by Subterranean on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 11:06:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yet still others did the same thing and couldn't (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bobinson, kaliope

        replicate the results. Still virtually mathematically impossible to trick the system 100% of the time. It is still the human body we are dealing with -the precision required to get the dosing amount and timing right for 10 years is simply not doable IMO.

        •  It's a question of testing sensitivity (5+ / 0-)

          Would it surprise you to know that these riders purchased and used their own centrifuges, it sure surprised me. They'd draw their own blood and monitor their hematocrit all the time. Microdose EPO and other PEDs at levels that would be undetectable with the current testing protocols. All of this was worked out by Doctor Ferrari

          And of course being tipped off to testers, hiding from testers, and knowing precisely when doping agents would have cleared from the system is how they evaded detection consistently (but not 100% of the time).

          Getting this advanced doping methodology cost Armstrong hundreds of thousands of dollars... and USADA has those bank records.

          Contador was caught (for Clenbuterol) precisely because the lab that tested his samples had a much higher sensitivity than previously.

    •  Richard Virenque, about the 1998 Tour, (4+ / 0-)

      had used the exact same line. How could he be a doper, he asked. He had never tested positive. This was after 250 bottles of EPO had been discovered in his support car.

      An EPO test was invented in 2000. L'Equipe got ahold of results on Lance Armstrong's 1999 blood samples. The results show that Armstrong had used EPO, very specifically, for his spectacular performances such as the mountain victory at Sestrières, and the time trials.  

      •  yes but most of his wins were post 2000 (0+ / 0-)
        •  That's what the whole (3+ / 0-)

          carefully controlled microdosage is about. Occasionally a spike would still occur (in Armstrong's case in 2002 at least) but then those would be challenged as an outlier or false positive. As the tests got better the peloton increasingly went to autologous blood packing. Neither Operation Puerto nor the Festina scandals were a consequence of positive tests, BTW -- the quality of testing just wasn't very good. 96 Tour winner Bjarne Riis passed all of his tests -- and owned up 10 years later (returning his yellow jerseys, BTW).

          Even with widespread doping, it's no level field. Different riders respond differently and have differing levels of compunction. Not all can afford the top doctors. Some doctors are better than others at pushing limits, at disguising drugs. Since the early 90's the best of the best has been Michele Ferrari, whom Armstrong actively sought out and paid over $1M for services, one of which apparently was to be too busy to provide services to too many other riders. UCI saw Armstrong as their golden goose and really really didn't want to hear about possible doping.

          •  No one seems to be blaming the tour itself (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VeloDramatic, Garrett

            and the various agencies tasked with keeping doping and drugs out of cycling and sports. Why were they so incompetent at this? Was it truly incompetence? Was Lance really that much smarter in his cheating? Or did they partly look the other way, because what Lance was doing was great for cycling PR and ad revenue?

            I have to wonder how much revenue Lance has generated, both for his sponsors and others, in terms of bikes, bike parts, accessories, clothes, tours, training, etc., when he  was at his peak. It must be in the multi-billions. So I can see how they'd want to look the other way so long as their cash cow kept producing.

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 02:48:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  The reason that Armstrong paid (0+ / 0-)

      $1M to his doctor is that his doctor told him what he had to do to pass the tests which they used at the time. Very simple. Later tests, using methods not known at the time, found that he was doping. He still won.

      As a previous poster noted, this is like changing the result of a football game years later, after the quarterback was found to have doped. It's idiotic and counterproductive.

      People wish to be settled, only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them. - Emerson

      by CarbonFiberBoy on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 11:47:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Armstrong was a food measurer (3+ / 0-)

      He's the only athlete I have ever heard of that actually measured his food so perfectly. I thought it was to simply determine how efficient his athletic output was. He could measure the calories in and measure the watts produced on the bike.

      It never occurred to me that it was to fool the dope test.

      Also, in the USADA paper, they did say that Armstrong did pass tests on an individual basis. If one were to look at all of the tests together, it does show a significant amount of variance that is likely caused by doping.

      i just baptized andrew breitbart into the church of islam, planned parenthood, the girl scouts and three teachers unions. - @blainecapatch

      by bobinson on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 03:32:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I guess I'm shocked (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that anyone ever believed Armstrong wasn't doping.  His performances were just too far beyond any competitors, current or historical.  Testing showed his body was capable of unbelievable feats such as pulling in quantities of oxygen that put in the Freak end of the spectrum.  After the third or fourth Tour de France it was pretty clear that Armstrong was not entirely home grown.

    He still won all those Tour de Frances, and I'm not so naive to believe that none of his competitors were doping.  Most likely all of the top contenders were doping, tweaking, or juicing in some form or another.  Among the world's best chemically enhanced athletes, Lance Armstrong reigned supreme.  He deserved those titles.

    "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

    by Subterranean on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 10:39:58 AM PDT

    •  Years ago I knew a man who was involved in the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      bike world, as a designer. He'd been to the Tour de France and other big races.

      I asked him about the rumors surrounding LA, and he said he didn't know how anyone could compete if they didn't use enhancing drugs as the level of competition was just that high.

      As to what LA did or didnt' do, I don't care. Just as some people benefitted from the Komen Foundation (which I personally abhor), if someone (with cancer) drew comfort or inspiration from LA, well, there are worse things.

      And while I'm not much interested in bike tours as a sport, I find NASCAR even less interesting.

      "I believe more women should carry guns. I believe armed women will make the world a better place. Women need to come to think of themselves not as victims but as dangerous." Anna Pigeon

      by glorificus on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 01:28:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Greg Lemond is a hero to me; always has been. (3+ / 0-)

    He wasn't the airbrushed specimen that Armstrong was; he was real.  He was the pioneer. And he damn well won his later tours without doping, even after enduring his own medical trauma.

    Every honest communication poses a risk that we will hear something that could challenge or change us. -- Kenneth Cloke

    by GreenMtnState on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 10:52:06 AM PDT

  •  From an alternative view. (4+ / 0-)

    I'm a psychotherapist and do a lot of work with kids an adolescents.  They often report things that are difficult to hear and often difficult to believe.  Every institution has an established orthodoxy and the first reaction to a challenge of the orthodoxy is skepticism.  In my work it is called, "normalizing".  Even those who consider themselves child advocates often lead with normalizing perhaps, for some, as a means to explore the veracity of the issue raised.  But the result is always to drive the child underground and to delay any fact finding.  Even here in these exchanges on DKOS any comments that smack of conspiracy are vigorously challenged to the point of completely changing the subject.  With Lance, who became the face of the institution, normalization was the most comfortable route.  Romney might win and we can't live with the idea of a sociopath in the Presidency so a majority normalize.  That's how I see it.

  •  Lying and cheating in sports and politics (7+ / 0-)

    surely go back to the beginning. What is qualitatively different, IMO, in Armstrong's case vs his predecessors is the extent of control, over the rest of the peloton as a patron, over the sport itself through his personal story and Livestrong, his influence on the governing board through opening up the US market ($100K donations sure didn't hurt either). What is either surprising or totally predictable is how many people bought the story when it was quite clear that he'd been lying and cheating for so long.

    Might be a bit of a stretch to tie that to politics, but there's been a step function here too. The modern Republican party (and Romney is just the figurehead for the moment) has become completely brazen in its acceptance of lies and speaking out of all sides of their mouths. More than that they project their dishonesty on the other party. There are other similarities: the False Equivalency (everybody dopes/lies, it's an even field). The Moral Shield (Livestrong/Hard-working, productive, not the lazy parasitic 47%) Us vs Them (he beat the French!/he's fighting the Muslim atheist Kenyan socialist!). The bigger question is why we buy into it.

  •  They all dope. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pfiore8, kaliope

    They just catch the winners. Even today, they all dope. This year's podium doped. Believing otherwise is like believing in the tooth fairy. They also didn't catch Lance with the tests available at the time.

    So Armstrong's wins were fair. He just rode - and doped - better than anyone else. It's as much a contest of training ability as anything.

    Actually, Lance's big talent wasn't in his VO2max. Greg pointed that out. Lance's big talent was in his ability to recover. He put protein back on faster than anyone. So his talent was in stage racing. That's the reason he didn't win that many classics or single-day races. That wasn't his talent. The big climbs come after many days of racing. Lance was still in good shape, while some of his competitors were already suffering.

    People wish to be settled, only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them. - Emerson

    by CarbonFiberBoy on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 11:43:08 AM PDT

    •  Yeah, I think you got that right. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I learned how to read French at the age of 8 because, as a little kid back in the early 1950's, my father bought me a copy of Paris Match, much of that month's issue all about that crazy bicycle race around France. So it was in French, and I had a dictionary, and I learned French in and about reading that single issue.

      Can't remember the terms now, but even that article made reference throughout about use of "no-no" stuff such as (unspecified) drugs and alcohol (can't figure out how that latter would have helped, although as a painkiller...well, maybe the author of the article was merely providing his readers with "local color").

      As that never-been-anywhere little kid that I was, a biker-rider as all kids out there in the sticks were, what had drawn my interest to that article was my own astonishment at the silliness of grown men riding bikes! Unthinkable. Didn't they know adults drove cars?!

      This is a reminder that we get to be kids really only once, and reading the comments upthread (and no doubt downthread) about all this disappointment at finding ambition most often leads adults to lie, cheat, and steal, to exhibit their "clay feet," etc., tells me almost all of us adult kids are having to nurse our inner kids through this disappointment.

  •  "Kimmage defense fund..." ??? (0+ / 0-)

    Who, what ?

    Also, seems as though Aaron Burr got within a tied EC result and 35 tied ballots in the House of the presidency.

    Romney might come third to Burr and Cheney for despicable presidential and vice presidential candidates. He never tells a straight truth -- yet money carries him forward.

  •  Where's best place to review the evidence briefly? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Where is the most succinct presentation of the case against Armstrong?  Is there ultimately more to it than "he said / everybody else said..."?  Is there a smoking gun?  Is the possibility of conspiracy completely eliminated or is it only very unlikely? Could a murder jury find reasonable doubt?  If it were a murder trial, would there be any possibility of a post-conviction, mid-sentence exoneration?

    Ideology is when you have the answers before you know the questions.
    It is what grows into empty spaces where intelligence has died.

    by Alden on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 01:13:52 PM PDT

  •  Disappointed (5+ / 0-)

    I too have followed cycling for years. Lance's back story and career were an inspiration to me. I'm a survivor of thyroid cancer. Knowing that Lance got through his ordeal truly helped me get through some of my darkest days.

    Now that it's pretty clear that Lance doped, it's like having the floor ripped out from under me. I really wanted to believe that he was clean. That being said, I'm still grateful for the inspiration.

  •  I confess I still haven't gotten my head around (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VeloDramatic, davidincleveland

    Armstrong's doping.  Though not an avid cycling fan, I used to ride a lot and have ahuge appreciation for what these guys can do, especially Lance Armstrong.  When I was running half marathons, I read his book "It's Not About the Bike" which told his story about his fight against cancer in inspirational ways.

    I honestly thought that anyone who could write that book couldn't possibly be doping.  I still have a hard time believing it despite clear evidence.

    Maybe that's another parallel between Armstrong & Romney.  Yeah, Mitt Romney is a bold-faced liar, and there is clear evidence this is true, yet his faithful just can't accept that.  They don't want to believe it any more than I want to believe Armstrong is a doper.

    You can't spell CRAZY without R-AZ. (and donate to Bill!)

    by rb608 on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 01:45:01 PM PDT

  •  It's going to take a very long time (0+ / 0-)

    for most of us to absorb, understand and come to terms with what Armstrong did with his cheating, not just in terms of cycling and the competitive cycling world but in general, given that so many non-cyclists and non-cycling fans followed his career and admired him so much. It's like finding out that George Washington was actually an accomplice of Benedict Arnold, or that your father lived a double live with another family. The nature and extent of his cheating given his place in the sports and cycling worlds and in the popular imagination are simply too great for me to wrap my head around right now. It's enormous.

    Whereas Romney, while perhaps the worst of the lot, is basically just another standard issue lying sack of political shit out for himself on a massive ego trip, more a symptom of a deeply corrupt political and business system than a fallen hero. Yeah, I didn't realize how loathsome he really is till fairly recently, not having paid him much attention. But he's no Armstrong of the political world. Nixon set that standard, and Romney's just following in it.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 02:41:56 PM PDT

  •  I used to like Lance, enough to go to 2005 TdF (3+ / 0-)

    I went to France just to watch the last 5 stages of the Tour de France live. It was an awesome experience. I brought my new digital camera and wanted to get as many pictures of Lance in his last competitive bike race as I could (then the dude came out of retirement).

    As the race came to a conclusion, I actually enjoyed watching other riders more than Lance. Except for the time trial, whenever Lance went by, he was surrounded by teammates blocking a clear view. This is understandable. After the stages, many riders would simply ride their bikes through the crowd to get to the team hotels. Not Discovery. They all huddled in the team bus within the restricted area after races.

    Right after the race, other riders such as Cadel Evans, Chris Horner, and Robbie McEwen replaced Lance as my favorites. Lance just seemed too inaccessible to the fans.

    i just baptized andrew breitbart into the church of islam, planned parenthood, the girl scouts and three teachers unions. - @blainecapatch

    by bobinson on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 03:44:05 PM PDT

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