Thursday, June 14, 2012

Lance Armstrong Responds To USADA Charges

By now I'm sure everyone is aware of the charges against Lance Armstrong by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. The allege that they have blood samples from 2009 and 2010 that show the signs of possible tampering, including the use of EPO and blood transfusions. The story of these charges was big news in the cycling world, and beyond, yesterday and as you could probably guess, Lance had a few things to say on the matter.

Not long after the story broke yesterday afternoon, Lance posted the following statement to his website:
I have been notified that USADA, an organization largely funded by taxpayer dollars but governed only by self-written rules, intends to again dredge up discredited allegations dating back more than 16 years to prevent me from competing as a triathlete and try and strip me of the seven Tour de France victories I earned. These are the very same charges and the same witnesses that the Justice Department chose not to pursue after a two-year investigation. These charges are baseless, motivated by spite and advanced through testimony bought and paid for by promises of anonymity and immunity. Although USADA alleges a wide-ranging conspiracy extended over more than 16 years, I am the only athlete it has chosen to charge. USADA’s malice, its methods, its star-chamber practices, and its decision to punish first and adjudicate later all are at odds with our ideals of fairness and fair play. 
I have never doped, and, unlike many of my accusers, I have competed as an endurance athlete for 25 years with no spike in performance, passed more than 500 drug tests and never failed one. That USADA ignores this fundamental distinction and charges me instead of the admitted dopers says far more about USADA, its lack of fairness and this vendetta than it does about my guilt or innocence.

 So there you have. Lance once again maintains his innocence and points to his MANY drug tests over the years as evidence. He is right in pointing out that he has never failed a test and he is quite possibly the most tested athlete in history.

I find it interesting that the USADA is dredging up blood samples from 2009 and 2010, which is when Armstrong came out of retirement to ride. The allegations against Lance were already out there at that point and it would seem foolhardy for him to try to ride again while doping. He had to know that he would be under even more scrutiny in his return than he had been before.

I'm also disappointed that this could mean that Lance won't get to compete in Kona in October. I was personally looking forward to seeing how he would do at the Ironman Championships and it now seems unlikely that this situation will be resolved before then.

This is probably going to get very messy before we're done.

5 comments:

M Wakeling said...

Groan....never failing a test is an irrelevence in the context of Marion Jones etc. With enough know-how and cash you don't fail tests. It's just a nice soundbite that the average joe readily consumes…

And that also undermines the most tested 'fact', plus there are no stats to back this up anyway. Just gets recycled round and around....

And it costs millions chasing Lance down because he spends millions trying to stay ahead of the law.
Being rich shouldn't make you immune and I suspect he's the one ultimately wasting tax payers cash.

Kraig Becker said...

Agreed on all accounts. He is possibly the most tested athlete ever and has never failed, but that certainly doesn't mean that he didn't dope and there are witnesses, like Tyler Hamilton, who say they've seen it first hand.

This is a million dollar investigation that has gone on forever. Not sure if this latest round will put an end to it or not.

djdc69 said...

Hmmm...very factual conclusions.
He's a dope because someone said so? Good on you guys!
Others also in the team said it's not true. How about that?

Kraig Becker said...

Where have I said that he is guilty? I've tried to be very fair and open minded in my approach to covering this story. All I was acknowledging is that having been tested many times and still not coming up positive, doesn't mean that he didn't do it.

M Wakeling said...

Yes, innocent until proven guilty. I was pointing out that not failing tests is not evidence of innocence.

And the waste of money argument is also irrelevant, the agency is just doing it's job.

And they have a pile of evidence so makes sense to charge.