Evidence against Lance Armstrong can’t be ignored
Evidence against Armstrong can't be ignored
Secret payments to Swiss shell companies, lies upon lies and fraud and deception on a massive scale. No, we’re not talking about politics or Wall Street, but rather the past decade and a half of professional cycling.
The “greatest comeback in the history of sport” has now been revealed as the greatest fraud in the history of sport.
A mountain of evidence has been released by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, detailing that “the U.S. Postal Services Pro Cycling Team, including Lance Armstrong, ran the most sophisticated, professional and successful drug program that we have ever seen.”
Nearly every one of his former teammates has either been busted or has confessed to the use of performance-enhancing drugs during the Armstrong era. Most of them did not (as far as we know) fail a drug test.
And yet the charade continues. Armstrong’s attorney, Tim Herman, called the USADA decision “a farce, written by USADA with the significant assistance of lawyers from one of Big Tobacco’s favorite law firms.”
In politics, most politicians know it’s not the crime, but the cover-up. And yet Armstrong still does not seem to understand this.
Even without the hard evidence, it’s hard to imagine nearly everyone around him was involved, and yet one of the most driven, meticulous and detailed people on earth would have no knowledge of what his employees were doing. He was the leader of the entire sport.
It is hard for people to come to terms with the fact that a legitimate American hero is also a fraud and a liar, but only the most naïve or ignorant can ignore this evidence.
On Wednesday, USADA released more than 1,000 pages of evidence and a 200-plus-page report detailing the systematic scheme and cover-up of doping activities from the Armstrong teams.
Scores of my former teammates, competitors and roommates have come forward and confessed to having been a part of the doping regime, cover-up and lies. I can imagine the angst they felt as they told family, friends and employers they have been lying and cheating for years. I am glad my wife, son and daughter were spared from that conversation.
Each of these riders was presented with a horrible choice: Do I engage in this activity or end my career? There were no other options.
People always say, “Well, if everyone was doing it, the results would still have been the same.”
That may or may not be true.
People seem to forget cycling is a team sport, and during those years on U.S. Postal, the culture of doping was institutionalized. The team dominated the Tour in a way no other team ever had.
It’s hard to say if the results would have been the same. Perhaps if Lance was isolated in the mountains when his teammates fell off, he would have been more vulnerable to attacks from other riders.
People also tell me “look at all the great things he has done for cycling.” From my perspective, he has single-handedly nearly ruined the sport I love.
These allegations have been festering like a wound for years, and like any wound, the scraping and cleaning is a painful process. Hopefully cycling can now face the honest truth about its past, focus on the present and then prepare for a brighter future.
I believe the future for cycling is bright. There are many young athletes coming up today who are exciting to watch and who will perhaps view doping as a scourge and who hopefully will have the courage and support to speak out when they see something wrong.
I got involved in cycling years ago because I fell in love with the sport. I love the endorphins from a hard workout and the thrill of a fast descent.
The information released over the past week has not dimmed my love for the sport. And perhaps the inevitable question of “Did Lance dope?” that I have been asked over the past 15 years will now be put to rest.
The answer is a definitive “yes.”