Lance Armstrong and two kinds of evidence

Which do you think is the stronger evidence for guilt or innocence?  Eyewitness accounts or scientific forensic evidence?  The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency stripped cycling great Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles and banned him from the sport for life on the basis of eye-witness accounts, even though he never failed a drug test.  Tracee Hamilton thinks this is wrong:

Armstrong never failed a drug test. He was tested in competition, out of competition. He was tested at the Olympics, at the Tour de France, at dozens if not hundreds of other events. And he never failed a test. We know this because if he had, Travis T. Tygart, the head of USADA, would have personally delivered the results to every home in America, like a grim little Santa Claus.

Instead, Tygart gathered a group of people who swear they saw Armstrong doping. There has been no trial, no due process, but in the minds of many, that testimony outweighs the results of hundreds of drug tests.

People lie. Blood and urine usually don’t. And if they do, they don’t lie 500 times. People do. Some lie that many times in a week. But okay. Let’s assume these people really are witnesses, let’s assume they’re telling the truth, and then let’s assume that their testimony is the new standard, outweighing all drug test results.

Then what in the world is the point of drug testing? In any sport, by any group, at any level of competition? If the results can be discarded in favor of testimony, then let’s go right to the testimony phase and quit horsing around with blood and urine. The cheaters are always ahead of USADA and its brethren anyway. They have deeper pockets and better doctors. So let’s toss out the baby with the blood and urine bath water and just call in witnesses who will recount all the bad things they saw their fellow competitors do. What in the world could possibly be wrong with that system?

I don’t know if Armstrong did the things he’s accused of doing, and neither do you. I don’t know if these witnesses are telling the truth, and neither do you. I do know two things: First, he passed all his tests. And second, if he had failed a drug test, and brought in 10 people to testify that they were with him every minute of every day leading up to the test and he never ingested anything, never injected anything, never doped his blood, would we be having this debate today? No, because he would have failed a drug test, and all the testimony in the world wouldn’t matter.

It can’t work both ways. Either a drug test is the standard, or it isn’t. A lot of athletes must be wondering the point of going through testing if they can be taken down anyway, regardless of the results, even years after the fact.

via Lance Armstrong vs. USADA: What are we to believe? – The Washington Post.

 

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Pete

    I’m with her. Lance Armstrong was that one-in-a-million athlete who was way out on the tip of the Bell curve. He was consistently better than a whole bunch of bikers who were, themselves, crazy good. This is a phenomenon well-known to sports – a competitor who is that much better than the best. Usain Bolt comes to mind. Michael Jordan. Wayne Gretzky. And that kind of superiority inevitably (and not necessarily inappropriately) raises the specter of cheating. And also the possibility of jealousy. I can certainly envision competitors wanting to take Armstrong down and being willing to testify that they had seen him cheating which, even if not true, would amplify the cloud of suspicion that already existed as a result of his proficiency. 8th commandment stuff.

  • Pete

    I’m with her. Lance Armstrong was that one-in-a-million athlete who was way out on the tip of the Bell curve. He was consistently better than a whole bunch of bikers who were, themselves, crazy good. This is a phenomenon well-known to sports – a competitor who is that much better than the best. Usain Bolt comes to mind. Michael Jordan. Wayne Gretzky. And that kind of superiority inevitably (and not necessarily inappropriately) raises the specter of cheating. And also the possibility of jealousy. I can certainly envision competitors wanting to take Armstrong down and being willing to testify that they had seen him cheating which, even if not true, would amplify the cloud of suspicion that already existed as a result of his proficiency. 8th commandment stuff.

  • Trey

    Eye-witness evidence is better. Since the tests depend on humans to interpret they too can be skewed to fit a conclusion. The same obstacle she raises against eye-witness evidence exists with drug and blood tests. It really depends on the eye-witness and if they actually saw it and are willing to testify of it without personal gain.

  • Trey

    Eye-witness evidence is better. Since the tests depend on humans to interpret they too can be skewed to fit a conclusion. The same obstacle she raises against eye-witness evidence exists with drug and blood tests. It really depends on the eye-witness and if they actually saw it and are willing to testify of it without personal gain.

  • Carl Vehse

    For some reason Travis Tygart of the US Anti Doping Agency wants us to believe the notion that Lance and his professional handlers were sophisticated enough to pass every announced and unannounced drug test given to him during his cycling career of over 15 years, and during which the French were constantly whining that he was cheating, yet somehow Armstrong decided to let his cycling buddies watch him do his cheating, so they could report him.

    Lance is being borked, just like the Duke lacrosse team, George Zimmerman, and Todd Akin.

  • Carl Vehse

    For some reason Travis Tygart of the US Anti Doping Agency wants us to believe the notion that Lance and his professional handlers were sophisticated enough to pass every announced and unannounced drug test given to him during his cycling career of over 15 years, and during which the French were constantly whining that he was cheating, yet somehow Armstrong decided to let his cycling buddies watch him do his cheating, so they could report him.

    Lance is being borked, just like the Duke lacrosse team, George Zimmerman, and Todd Akin.

  • Jon

    I thought they said had drug test results that showed that he had used a certain banned performance enhancing drug and that tended to show that he had taken blood transfusions and other blood oxygen enhancing techniques.

    Also, you have to wonder if there could be a connection between his type of cancer and use of anabolic steroids.

    Still, if I had to weigh the evidence, if it came down to just the personal witness testimony, I would probably give Lance the benefit of the doubt, even at the preponderance level. And if they threw in some purported blood tests, it would have to be very conclusive evidence, well above any chemical cut-off level for me to be swayed by it.

  • Jon

    I thought they said had drug test results that showed that he had used a certain banned performance enhancing drug and that tended to show that he had taken blood transfusions and other blood oxygen enhancing techniques.

    Also, you have to wonder if there could be a connection between his type of cancer and use of anabolic steroids.

    Still, if I had to weigh the evidence, if it came down to just the personal witness testimony, I would probably give Lance the benefit of the doubt, even at the preponderance level. And if they threw in some purported blood tests, it would have to be very conclusive evidence, well above any chemical cut-off level for me to be swayed by it.

  • WebMonk

    Trey – eyewitness tests are better? I hope you were being sarcastic there.

    Even tossing out the possibility of lying, eyewitness accounts are notoriously inaccurate and imprecise. I have a couple friends on the force and one of their regular laughs are the wildly divergent witness reports they get mere minutes after an event. And the doping accusations sound like they are recollections from years after the (alleged) events.

    Then we get to the possible lying that we had set aside for the moment. There have been multiple investigations, all of which turned up negative. Now, there’s this investigation with no actual positive results, and the main witnesses to Armstrong’s alleged doping that have been mentioned (that I can tell) are people who were already found guilty of doping.

    That puts their testimony in a VERY suspect category.

    I’m not a huge racing fan, and I’m sure there’s more to the story than what bits and pieces I’ve seen in headline stories, but based on those articles, I highly doubt that he did any doping. And most certainly at the level of confidence needed to officially strip his titles – no way.

  • WebMonk

    Trey – eyewitness tests are better? I hope you were being sarcastic there.

    Even tossing out the possibility of lying, eyewitness accounts are notoriously inaccurate and imprecise. I have a couple friends on the force and one of their regular laughs are the wildly divergent witness reports they get mere minutes after an event. And the doping accusations sound like they are recollections from years after the (alleged) events.

    Then we get to the possible lying that we had set aside for the moment. There have been multiple investigations, all of which turned up negative. Now, there’s this investigation with no actual positive results, and the main witnesses to Armstrong’s alleged doping that have been mentioned (that I can tell) are people who were already found guilty of doping.

    That puts their testimony in a VERY suspect category.

    I’m not a huge racing fan, and I’m sure there’s more to the story than what bits and pieces I’ve seen in headline stories, but based on those articles, I highly doubt that he did any doping. And most certainly at the level of confidence needed to officially strip his titles – no way.

  • Stone the Crows

    I do so despise this ‘its not the facts that matter, but the seriousness of the charge,’ sort of rhetoric that has nothing to do with truth and certainly not due process but about a little man taking down a public figure. This is the place where we may do a good study on the 8th commandment, remembering that a man has only one reputation and he cannot buy another if someone decides to sully it. As many times as Armstrong was tested and passed should be enough for anyone. A few weeks ago a NASCAR driver failed a comprehensive drug test, and was canned virtually overnight. The same would have happened to Armstrong, and gladly so given how many people wanted to strip him of his accolades. The fact that he passed in a hostile enviornment should be enough credentials for anyone.

  • Stone the Crows

    I do so despise this ‘its not the facts that matter, but the seriousness of the charge,’ sort of rhetoric that has nothing to do with truth and certainly not due process but about a little man taking down a public figure. This is the place where we may do a good study on the 8th commandment, remembering that a man has only one reputation and he cannot buy another if someone decides to sully it. As many times as Armstrong was tested and passed should be enough for anyone. A few weeks ago a NASCAR driver failed a comprehensive drug test, and was canned virtually overnight. The same would have happened to Armstrong, and gladly so given how many people wanted to strip him of his accolades. The fact that he passed in a hostile enviornment should be enough credentials for anyone.

  • Chris

    You are wrong. There WAS at least one positive test from 1999
    but the tests were considered not to be done “scientifcally”
    (I doubt that they did some voodoo with it)

    There always were rumours about several other positive tests
    and there’s still that undelightful story with Armstrong donating
    a big amount of money that was later associated with drug tests.

  • Chris

    You are wrong. There WAS at least one positive test from 1999
    but the tests were considered not to be done “scientifcally”
    (I doubt that they did some voodoo with it)

    There always were rumours about several other positive tests
    and there’s still that undelightful story with Armstrong donating
    a big amount of money that was later associated with drug tests.

  • r williams

    As much as we like to deify our athletic theologians of glory,(Tebow evangelical, Armstrong secularist ) passing a drug test is not absolution. It can show someone is clean, but it can also mean someone beat the system and is constantly looking over his shoulder hoping ten of his teammates will not one day rat him out.

  • r williams

    As much as we like to deify our athletic theologians of glory,(Tebow evangelical, Armstrong secularist ) passing a drug test is not absolution. It can show someone is clean, but it can also mean someone beat the system and is constantly looking over his shoulder hoping ten of his teammates will not one day rat him out.

  • Patrick Kyle

    There is no way a guy can pass 500 drug tests , especially if many of them were surprise or unanticipated. The supposed positive test was one in which he tested positive for a substance, but it was far below the threshold specified as a’positive result’ by the rules. These rules were changed several years later and the threshold was lowered so that Armstrong’s test result, if done under the new rules, would have disqualified him.

    Sounds like a kangaroo court followed by a public lynching.

  • Patrick Kyle

    There is no way a guy can pass 500 drug tests , especially if many of them were surprise or unanticipated. The supposed positive test was one in which he tested positive for a substance, but it was far below the threshold specified as a’positive result’ by the rules. These rules were changed several years later and the threshold was lowered so that Armstrong’s test result, if done under the new rules, would have disqualified him.

    Sounds like a kangaroo court followed by a public lynching.

  • Carl Vehse

    Chris @7 says Lance failed a test in 1999; SeeBS 60 Minutes says it was in 2001. And who told SeeBS? Surprise – Tyler Hamilton.

    Do I hear 2004? 1995? 1776? And no need to substantiate.

  • Carl Vehse

    Chris @7 says Lance failed a test in 1999; SeeBS 60 Minutes says it was in 2001. And who told SeeBS? Surprise – Tyler Hamilton.

    Do I hear 2004? 1995? 1776? And no need to substantiate.

  • Pete

    Yeah, what WebMonk said.

  • Pete

    Yeah, what WebMonk said.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Whatever. I think people take sports WAY too seriously, both those who dope themselves up to win, and those who lie about others doping to bring them down. All for the pursuit of self-glory.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Whatever. I think people take sports WAY too seriously, both those who dope themselves up to win, and those who lie about others doping to bring them down. All for the pursuit of self-glory.

  • Dust

    which is better? depends where you live…

    in the good ole usa it was scientific forensic evidence.

    in the soviet union, then eye witnesses….which could be found somewhere :)

    cheers!

  • Dust

    which is better? depends where you live…

    in the good ole usa it was scientific forensic evidence.

    in the soviet union, then eye witnesses….which could be found somewhere :)

    cheers!

  • Joe

    I have no idea if he doped or not. Given the sport he is in, I am inclined to think he probably did at some point. My favorite part of the story is that the second place finisher — those who will now be the winners — of each of his 7 Tour victories have doping scandals of their own.

    http://deadspin.com/5937591/all-seven-of-lance-armstrongs-tour-de-france-wins-would-now-go-to-cyclists-with-doping-scandals-of-their-own?tag=lance-armstrong

  • Joe

    I have no idea if he doped or not. Given the sport he is in, I am inclined to think he probably did at some point. My favorite part of the story is that the second place finisher — those who will now be the winners — of each of his 7 Tour victories have doping scandals of their own.

    http://deadspin.com/5937591/all-seven-of-lance-armstrongs-tour-de-france-wins-would-now-go-to-cyclists-with-doping-scandals-of-their-own?tag=lance-armstrong

  • fws

    The golden rule.

    To strip a man of his honor and reputation is a very severe punishment.
    He did not get his day in court.
    Those three facts are certain.

    beyond that we should reserve our judgement and consider him innocent until proven guilty.

    cf large catechism 8th commandment, which says that, even IF the eyewitnesses saw that he truly cheated, what is it they were to do? read the LC 8th commandment.

  • fws

    The golden rule.

    To strip a man of his honor and reputation is a very severe punishment.
    He did not get his day in court.
    Those three facts are certain.

    beyond that we should reserve our judgement and consider him innocent until proven guilty.

    cf large catechism 8th commandment, which says that, even IF the eyewitnesses saw that he truly cheated, what is it they were to do? read the LC 8th commandment.

  • Carl Vehse

    In an article, “Savoldelli: Armstrong made enemies,” Lance’s former teammate, Paolo Savoldelli, states:

    “Armstrong had a temper and he clashed with a lot of people. I didn’t leave him on very good terms myself because at the Tour he had behaved like a real patron,” Savoldelli said. “He was a braggart and it doesn’t surprise me that somebody wants to make him pay. He created a lot of enmity, sometimes without reason: he and Bruyneel felt they were invincible.”

    “One night at dinner, he said: ‘If you hear someone saying bad things about me, tell me.’ He needed it to psych himself up even more…”

    Despite his blunt view of Armstrong’s personality, Savoldelli had this opinion regarding the USADA’s case against Armstrong:

    “I think that it’s been propelled by political motives and I don’t think they’ll succeed in taking everything off him, as it goes against the principle of the statute of limitations, which is eight years.”

    “It seems that the federal investigation came to nothing and American justice doesn’t go in lightly on things like that. The federal investigator Novitzky was the bulldog of the Balco case. For this reason, the perseverance of the sporting justice system seems ridiculous to me and I think that the anti-doping investigator wants publicity. When Lance says it’s a waste of public money, he isn’t completely wrong…”

  • Carl Vehse

    In an article, “Savoldelli: Armstrong made enemies,” Lance’s former teammate, Paolo Savoldelli, states:

    “Armstrong had a temper and he clashed with a lot of people. I didn’t leave him on very good terms myself because at the Tour he had behaved like a real patron,” Savoldelli said. “He was a braggart and it doesn’t surprise me that somebody wants to make him pay. He created a lot of enmity, sometimes without reason: he and Bruyneel felt they were invincible.”

    “One night at dinner, he said: ‘If you hear someone saying bad things about me, tell me.’ He needed it to psych himself up even more…”

    Despite his blunt view of Armstrong’s personality, Savoldelli had this opinion regarding the USADA’s case against Armstrong:

    “I think that it’s been propelled by political motives and I don’t think they’ll succeed in taking everything off him, as it goes against the principle of the statute of limitations, which is eight years.”

    “It seems that the federal investigation came to nothing and American justice doesn’t go in lightly on things like that. The federal investigator Novitzky was the bulldog of the Balco case. For this reason, the perseverance of the sporting justice system seems ridiculous to me and I think that the anti-doping investigator wants publicity. When Lance says it’s a waste of public money, he isn’t completely wrong…”

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Frank – he could have had his day in court, but declined to pursue the matter. Thus the ban was implemented. had he chosen to go to court, the ban would not have been implemented at this stage.

    This is for me quite the mysterious action: Losing his wins would be, for him, the end of life as he knows it. No more advertising deals – effectively, being banned from his profession, and quite likely being unable to pursue another profession due to the record. Thus, if anything, one would expect him to stand up and fight to the end (like he did against his cancer).

    The fact that he didn’t probably leaves more questions, and if anything, increases the cloud of doubt.

    However the case may be, it is a sad affair.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Frank – he could have had his day in court, but declined to pursue the matter. Thus the ban was implemented. had he chosen to go to court, the ban would not have been implemented at this stage.

    This is for me quite the mysterious action: Losing his wins would be, for him, the end of life as he knows it. No more advertising deals – effectively, being banned from his profession, and quite likely being unable to pursue another profession due to the record. Thus, if anything, one would expect him to stand up and fight to the end (like he did against his cancer).

    The fact that he didn’t probably leaves more questions, and if anything, increases the cloud of doubt.

    However the case may be, it is a sad affair.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Klasie said (@17):

    Frank – he could have had his day in court, but declined to pursue the matter.

    Hold on. I’m only barely paying attention to this story, but it’s not like we’re talking about a real court, are we? It was some sort of goofy USADA thing, which I’d bet lacked all sorts of legal protections one might find in an actual courtroom.

    Losing his wins would be, for him, the end of life as he knows it. No more advertising deals…

    I don’t think that’s true, either. So far, Nike is standing behind him.

    I don’t know how this will play out in the cycling or sports worlds, but in my little corner, this whole thing is a big black eye for the USADA, placing them somewhere below HOAs in terms of groups that think far too highly of their own power and status.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Klasie said (@17):

    Frank – he could have had his day in court, but declined to pursue the matter.

    Hold on. I’m only barely paying attention to this story, but it’s not like we’re talking about a real court, are we? It was some sort of goofy USADA thing, which I’d bet lacked all sorts of legal protections one might find in an actual courtroom.

    Losing his wins would be, for him, the end of life as he knows it. No more advertising deals…

    I don’t think that’s true, either. So far, Nike is standing behind him.

    I don’t know how this will play out in the cycling or sports worlds, but in my little corner, this whole thing is a big black eye for the USADA, placing them somewhere below HOAs in terms of groups that think far too highly of their own power and status.

  • Stone the Crows

    tODD; yes, its one of those all powerful all knowing comissions that regulate a sport, but don’t have any authority outside of said sport. And if there is indeed a breach of an actual law or statute it must be passed on to the proper authorities. Perhaps ignoring this lynch mob is the best way to deal with it; i.e., not giving them what they want most and in so doing rendering them irrelevant.

  • Stone the Crows

    tODD; yes, its one of those all powerful all knowing comissions that regulate a sport, but don’t have any authority outside of said sport. And if there is indeed a breach of an actual law or statute it must be passed on to the proper authorities. Perhaps ignoring this lynch mob is the best way to deal with it; i.e., not giving them what they want most and in so doing rendering them irrelevant.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Todd – yes, we are talking about arbitration here. His decision to not continue with that follows the dismissal of a case he had against the USADA – http://www.ctvnews.ca/sports/judge-dismisses-lance-armstrong-s-case-against-usada-1.921968.

    Also, it is not as if USADA had a strong case either – the judge in the above-mentioned case said as much. If USADA had censured him after arbitration, he would have had recourse to the courts – the judge implied this in his statement “Federal courts should not interfere with an amateur sports organization’s disciplinary procedures unless the organization shows wanton disregard for its rules…” – I’m basing my assessment on the latter part of that sentence.

    Unless, of course, Armstrong has strong reason to expect that censure from other quarters will lead to the overturning of the judgement, or that this is part of some legal game plan.

    Where is Kerner when you need him?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Todd – yes, we are talking about arbitration here. His decision to not continue with that follows the dismissal of a case he had against the USADA – http://www.ctvnews.ca/sports/judge-dismisses-lance-armstrong-s-case-against-usada-1.921968.

    Also, it is not as if USADA had a strong case either – the judge in the above-mentioned case said as much. If USADA had censured him after arbitration, he would have had recourse to the courts – the judge implied this in his statement “Federal courts should not interfere with an amateur sports organization’s disciplinary procedures unless the organization shows wanton disregard for its rules…” – I’m basing my assessment on the latter part of that sentence.

    Unless, of course, Armstrong has strong reason to expect that censure from other quarters will lead to the overturning of the judgement, or that this is part of some legal game plan.

    Where is Kerner when you need him?

  • Don

    Eye witness accounts fall back to the phrase…Truth is perception…
    Would someone with something to gain LIE to increase his position– of course ..It’s basic human nature, and depending on weather he is a truly Honest individual.

    For a international organization to strip one of a earned title without a day in court or possibility of facing accusers…is asinine as well as preposterous. This to me is just another headline grab, some bureaucrat trying to justify their own existance .

  • Don

    Eye witness accounts fall back to the phrase…Truth is perception…
    Would someone with something to gain LIE to increase his position– of course ..It’s basic human nature, and depending on weather he is a truly Honest individual.

    For a international organization to strip one of a earned title without a day in court or possibility of facing accusers…is asinine as well as preposterous. This to me is just another headline grab, some bureaucrat trying to justify their own existance .

  • Dust

    KK in 20, you quoted:

    “Federal courts should not interfere with an amateur sports organization’s”

    Isn’t this a “professional” sport organization?

    Thanks!

  • Dust

    KK in 20, you quoted:

    “Federal courts should not interfere with an amateur sports organization’s”

    Isn’t this a “professional” sport organization?

    Thanks!

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Dust, those were the judge’s direct words. I wonder if that was incidental?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Dust, those were the judge’s direct words. I wonder if that was incidental?

  • Jon

    Just remember, everyone–you didn’t see Mr. Armstrong win any of those races. In fact, you never saw him participate at all in any of those competitions. He was never even there, folks!

    The USADA has spoken. So it shall be done, so it shall be recorded!

  • Jon

    Just remember, everyone–you didn’t see Mr. Armstrong win any of those races. In fact, you never saw him participate at all in any of those competitions. He was never even there, folks!

    The USADA has spoken. So it shall be done, so it shall be recorded!

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The proceedings against Armstrong lack the appearance of propriety. The organization may be doing more harm to itself than even to Mr. Armstrong.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    The proceedings against Armstrong lack the appearance of propriety. The organization may be doing more harm to itself than even to Mr. Armstrong.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    The whole thing is insane.
    If the guy passed the drug tests, then he passed.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    The whole thing is insane.
    If the guy passed the drug tests, then he passed.

  • mikeb

    Lance stripped of his wins? Doesn’t matter: I saw him win the Tour. Seven times. Nothing USADA says or does will change that.

  • mikeb

    Lance stripped of his wins? Doesn’t matter: I saw him win the Tour. Seven times. Nothing USADA says or does will change that.

  • mikeb

    Eye witness accounts can be very deceiving. I mean, the difference between what people think they see and what they actually see can be huge. Add to that that some of these ‘witnesses’ may have an axe to grind or stand to gain financially through paid interviews or book deals and you have great potential to harm a man’s reputation–and with no burden of proof.

  • mikeb

    Eye witness accounts can be very deceiving. I mean, the difference between what people think they see and what they actually see can be huge. Add to that that some of these ‘witnesses’ may have an axe to grind or stand to gain financially through paid interviews or book deals and you have great potential to harm a man’s reputation–and with no burden of proof.

  • Michael B.

    I feel like I’ve missed something here. Why is everyone on here defending this guy? Did he speak up against gay marriage at some point?

    This is nothing like the Duke Lacrosse case. We don’t have a single accuser who stands a lot to gain by accusing him. We have multiple eyewitness accusers who really don’t gain anything. And it isn’t just somebody’s word either. They have physical evidence from blood tests.

    The most convincing part to me is him not choosing to defend himself. How do you explain that?

    I don’t follow Lance Armstrong much at all, so maybe I’m missing something big, so if I am — let me know. I’m certainly willing to change my mind.

  • Michael B.

    I feel like I’ve missed something here. Why is everyone on here defending this guy? Did he speak up against gay marriage at some point?

    This is nothing like the Duke Lacrosse case. We don’t have a single accuser who stands a lot to gain by accusing him. We have multiple eyewitness accusers who really don’t gain anything. And it isn’t just somebody’s word either. They have physical evidence from blood tests.

    The most convincing part to me is him not choosing to defend himself. How do you explain that?

    I don’t follow Lance Armstrong much at all, so maybe I’m missing something big, so if I am — let me know. I’m certainly willing to change my mind.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    Michael B. (@29):

    I feel like I’ve missed something here. Why is everyone on here defending this guy?

    So… are you just generally disinterested in justice, then?

    We have multiple eyewitness accusers who really don’t gain anything.

    Several people have already suggested possible motives here, so the “really don’t gain anything” argument is going to need a bit more defense, no?

    And maybe I’ve missed it, but who, exactly, are the “multiple eyewitnesses”? And what, exactly, did they see?

    The most convincing part to me is him not choosing to defend himself. How do you explain that?

    Several people already have. He might believe that this is little more than a witch hunt. He might have no faith in the USADA process. He might have concluded that this is simply no longer worth his time or money to fight (especially if the USADA is actually incapable of carrying out its threatened punishment). And so on.

    I bet you’re the kind of person who suspects every legal settlement is actually an admission of guilt, aren’t you?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com tODD

    Michael B. (@29):

    I feel like I’ve missed something here. Why is everyone on here defending this guy?

    So… are you just generally disinterested in justice, then?

    We have multiple eyewitness accusers who really don’t gain anything.

    Several people have already suggested possible motives here, so the “really don’t gain anything” argument is going to need a bit more defense, no?

    And maybe I’ve missed it, but who, exactly, are the “multiple eyewitnesses”? And what, exactly, did they see?

    The most convincing part to me is him not choosing to defend himself. How do you explain that?

    Several people already have. He might believe that this is little more than a witch hunt. He might have no faith in the USADA process. He might have concluded that this is simply no longer worth his time or money to fight (especially if the USADA is actually incapable of carrying out its threatened punishment). And so on.

    I bet you’re the kind of person who suspects every legal settlement is actually an admission of guilt, aren’t you?

  • Dust

    Michael B….do you think pleading the 5th is because the person is obviously guilty too?

    hope not, you seem like such a fine, thoughtful person :)

    cheers!

  • Dust

    Michael B….do you think pleading the 5th is because the person is obviously guilty too?

    hope not, you seem like such a fine, thoughtful person :)

    cheers!

  • Christine

    The drug tests aren’t conclusive because the substances used are so advanced that detection is very hard. Tests examine samples across ranges which are by their very nature varied.

    Marion Jones never failed a drug test either, but was caught by testimony. She later admitted to using PED. this proves how unreliable the tests are.

    I just don’t see what the USADA would gain from discrediting Armstrong except to gain the advantage of proving that if you use PED and still pass the drug tests, they will find out. That way this sort of case will act as a deterrent to others who may contemplate the same thing. This may just contribute to drug-free sport.

    Armstrong’s refusal to defend himself is a very strange thing and complaining of a witch-hunt is naive. If you’re a professional athlete, one should expect to be tested and harassed about drugs. There are just too many athletes doing them.

  • Christine

    The drug tests aren’t conclusive because the substances used are so advanced that detection is very hard. Tests examine samples across ranges which are by their very nature varied.

    Marion Jones never failed a drug test either, but was caught by testimony. She later admitted to using PED. this proves how unreliable the tests are.

    I just don’t see what the USADA would gain from discrediting Armstrong except to gain the advantage of proving that if you use PED and still pass the drug tests, they will find out. That way this sort of case will act as a deterrent to others who may contemplate the same thing. This may just contribute to drug-free sport.

    Armstrong’s refusal to defend himself is a very strange thing and complaining of a witch-hunt is naive. If you’re a professional athlete, one should expect to be tested and harassed about drugs. There are just too many athletes doing them.

  • Michael B.

    @Todd

    “I bet you’re the kind of person who suspects every legal settlement is actually an admission of guilt, aren’t you?”

    No. If the situation called for Lance merely paying a fine and it’d all be over, I could see that. But he is being stripped of all his metals and is never allowed to compete again, and is now labelled a cheater. You wouldn’t fight that if you were in his place?

  • Michael B.

    @Todd

    “I bet you’re the kind of person who suspects every legal settlement is actually an admission of guilt, aren’t you?”

    No. If the situation called for Lance merely paying a fine and it’d all be over, I could see that. But he is being stripped of all his metals and is never allowed to compete again, and is now labelled a cheater. You wouldn’t fight that if you were in his place?

  • Jon

    He’s forty years old now. Not going to be winning many more competitions, except for in his over-the-hill age group. So, it’s time for him to retire. Better for him to protect his image now, and save money on fighting the expensive legal battle. From what little I’ve seen and heard, he hasn’t lost his image. Which means he’ll still have a good income. And, also, I think he has his foundation’s best interest at heart.

  • Jon

    He’s forty years old now. Not going to be winning many more competitions, except for in his over-the-hill age group. So, it’s time for him to retire. Better for him to protect his image now, and save money on fighting the expensive legal battle. From what little I’ve seen and heard, he hasn’t lost his image. Which means he’ll still have a good income. And, also, I think he has his foundation’s best interest at heart.

  • Gary

    It only took one type of evidence to crucify Jesus. That should speak to the reliability of said type of evidence.

  • Gary

    It only took one type of evidence to crucify Jesus. That should speak to the reliability of said type of evidence.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Gary: :^)

    My take here is that if the USADA and other cycling groups cannot catch Armstrong in the act despite tests almost weekly on average, they need to take a serious look at the tests,not the cyclists. Another thought is that at least seven years has passed since the alleged crimes; isn’t there a legal concept called “statute of limitations”?

    And why doesn’t he fight it? My take is that–here’s the statute of limitations thing again–he’s had his endorsement andprize money for long enough that the USADA and the courts can’t touch it, and the only thing he has to gain is the respect of a group that wants to take seven titles away from an alleged doper and give it to real dopers.

    So winning this thing is, more or less, like winning a “Citizen of the Year” award from the Mob. Whee!

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Gary: :^)

    My take here is that if the USADA and other cycling groups cannot catch Armstrong in the act despite tests almost weekly on average, they need to take a serious look at the tests,not the cyclists. Another thought is that at least seven years has passed since the alleged crimes; isn’t there a legal concept called “statute of limitations”?

    And why doesn’t he fight it? My take is that–here’s the statute of limitations thing again–he’s had his endorsement andprize money for long enough that the USADA and the courts can’t touch it, and the only thing he has to gain is the respect of a group that wants to take seven titles away from an alleged doper and give it to real dopers.

    So winning this thing is, more or less, like winning a “Citizen of the Year” award from the Mob. Whee!

  • HillClimber

    Part 1 of 2

    For a fuller perspective from a reliable, fair sports journalist, consider following Bonnie D. Ford. She covers Cycling and Olympic Sports for ESPN. I’d include the URL for her Aug. 24 column, Surprising End for an Epic Fighter, but I’m not sure if I can get it to paste. Also of interest, from a more scientific standpoint, would be the Cyclingnews.com interviews with Michael Ashenden, formerly of the UCI’s Biological Passport program.

    Before I address the concerns I have with the article, I’d like to point out that great strides have been made in cycling over the past few years. The sport is much cleaner than it was, thanks partly to changes in international enforcement and partly to accountability, coaching, and compensation mechanisms pioneered by some groundbreaking cycling teams, two of which are American. Also, there are many young, competitive American riders committed to accountably riding clean in a beautiful sport. So it’s a good time to be an American cycling fan.

    I also need to offer the following disclaimer: Among observers of cycling, reasonable minds disagree. Some of the sources I read are opposed to USADA’s action. But it’s important to know the facts first, to understand the history of pro cycling, the widespread corruption and secrecy of the Festina and EPO era, the general contours of anti-doping jurisprudence, the types of tests and evidence available, and the measures that the UCI, WADA, and even some cycling teams and sponsors are undertaking in order to make the sport more fair for the young men competing now.

    Since much of this information is missing from this thread, here is my answer to some of the objections voiced above.

    Ms. Hamilton’s article and the introductory paragraph here are flawed because they imply that arbitrators in the Armstrong case must choose between witness testimony and physical evidence. This is a false dichotomy.

    When Armstrong says that he has never failed a drug test, he is saying that he has never had an analytical positive, the kind of positive test that would be enough to justify a sanction standing on its own. But an analytical positive is not the only evidence that could be used to convict or sanction an athlete. Athletes can be sanctioned based on confessions, witness testimony, or longitudinal analysis of their blood values, a.k.a. the Biological Passport.

    It’s important to remember that there is no test for autologous blood doping, that is, taking out some of your own blood before a race, storing it for several weeks while your body recovers, and then transfusing your stored blood during a race. This is one of the banned techniques that Armstrong is accused of. However unsavory the witnesses may seem, USADA is prepared to show that the techniques the witnesses describe are consistent with blood doping generally and with a longitudinal analysis of Armstrong’s blood values.

    Longitudinal analysis is a fancy term for how scientists observe parameters and changes in an athlete’s blood over time. This is the analytical tool at the heart of the Biological Passport system. Testers can detect homologous blood doping specifically, because they can see the different kinds of cells that are present when an athlete transfuses someone else’s blood. If an athlete transfuses his own blood, that’s harder to detect. So the testers look for unnatural changes in the blood over time, changes that they know cannot occur without some form of manipulation. I suspect that USADA will argue that Armstrong’s tests were negative standing individually but incriminating when viewed over time.

    It’s a misnomer to say that there’s no physical evidence in the case whatsoever. Furthermore, Armstrong was aware of the Biological Passport testing during his comeback.

    We will learn more when USADA releases its reasoned decision. USADA is still obligated to present evidence sufficient to support the sanctions. The court’s warning to USADA about presenting evidence was less an indictment of the past proceedings and more of a warning about what steps it must take in order to properly handle the proceedings in the future. It is significant that Armstrong chose to waive his right to cross-examination. He’d rather see a little information come out from the ruling than see a lot of information come out in arbitration.

    Like many who have been following the reform efforts in cycling for years, I have had a long time to come to terms with the mounting and significant circumstantial evidence indicating that Armstrong was cheating. But doping here is not the only issue. Armstrong was a ruthless enforcer of omerta, the peloton’s code of silence. If you follow the history, you will see that witnesses who came forward earlier were vilified, ostracized, and smeared. At the time, I could believe that his passion was in service of the truth. Now, however, the evidence indicates otherwise.

    USADA alleges that Armstrong was a leader in a sophisticated conspiracy. He is not just accused of doping to survive during an era where rules were not enforced. He is accused of leading the conspiracy to cheat and doing so by means of coercion and intimidation.

    There are also allegations that the governing body of cycling may have helped Armstrong to cover up a test. USADA may be trying to ensure that the UCI officials are held to the same standard that the riders and directors are held to.

  • HillClimber

    Part 1 of 2

    For a fuller perspective from a reliable, fair sports journalist, consider following Bonnie D. Ford. She covers Cycling and Olympic Sports for ESPN. I’d include the URL for her Aug. 24 column, Surprising End for an Epic Fighter, but I’m not sure if I can get it to paste. Also of interest, from a more scientific standpoint, would be the Cyclingnews.com interviews with Michael Ashenden, formerly of the UCI’s Biological Passport program.

    Before I address the concerns I have with the article, I’d like to point out that great strides have been made in cycling over the past few years. The sport is much cleaner than it was, thanks partly to changes in international enforcement and partly to accountability, coaching, and compensation mechanisms pioneered by some groundbreaking cycling teams, two of which are American. Also, there are many young, competitive American riders committed to accountably riding clean in a beautiful sport. So it’s a good time to be an American cycling fan.

    I also need to offer the following disclaimer: Among observers of cycling, reasonable minds disagree. Some of the sources I read are opposed to USADA’s action. But it’s important to know the facts first, to understand the history of pro cycling, the widespread corruption and secrecy of the Festina and EPO era, the general contours of anti-doping jurisprudence, the types of tests and evidence available, and the measures that the UCI, WADA, and even some cycling teams and sponsors are undertaking in order to make the sport more fair for the young men competing now.

    Since much of this information is missing from this thread, here is my answer to some of the objections voiced above.

    Ms. Hamilton’s article and the introductory paragraph here are flawed because they imply that arbitrators in the Armstrong case must choose between witness testimony and physical evidence. This is a false dichotomy.

    When Armstrong says that he has never failed a drug test, he is saying that he has never had an analytical positive, the kind of positive test that would be enough to justify a sanction standing on its own. But an analytical positive is not the only evidence that could be used to convict or sanction an athlete. Athletes can be sanctioned based on confessions, witness testimony, or longitudinal analysis of their blood values, a.k.a. the Biological Passport.

    It’s important to remember that there is no test for autologous blood doping, that is, taking out some of your own blood before a race, storing it for several weeks while your body recovers, and then transfusing your stored blood during a race. This is one of the banned techniques that Armstrong is accused of. However unsavory the witnesses may seem, USADA is prepared to show that the techniques the witnesses describe are consistent with blood doping generally and with a longitudinal analysis of Armstrong’s blood values.

    Longitudinal analysis is a fancy term for how scientists observe parameters and changes in an athlete’s blood over time. This is the analytical tool at the heart of the Biological Passport system. Testers can detect homologous blood doping specifically, because they can see the different kinds of cells that are present when an athlete transfuses someone else’s blood. If an athlete transfuses his own blood, that’s harder to detect. So the testers look for unnatural changes in the blood over time, changes that they know cannot occur without some form of manipulation. I suspect that USADA will argue that Armstrong’s tests were negative standing individually but incriminating when viewed over time.

    It’s a misnomer to say that there’s no physical evidence in the case whatsoever. Furthermore, Armstrong was aware of the Biological Passport testing during his comeback.

    We will learn more when USADA releases its reasoned decision. USADA is still obligated to present evidence sufficient to support the sanctions. The court’s warning to USADA about presenting evidence was less an indictment of the past proceedings and more of a warning about what steps it must take in order to properly handle the proceedings in the future. It is significant that Armstrong chose to waive his right to cross-examination. He’d rather see a little information come out from the ruling than see a lot of information come out in arbitration.

    Like many who have been following the reform efforts in cycling for years, I have had a long time to come to terms with the mounting and significant circumstantial evidence indicating that Armstrong was cheating. But doping here is not the only issue. Armstrong was a ruthless enforcer of omerta, the peloton’s code of silence. If you follow the history, you will see that witnesses who came forward earlier were vilified, ostracized, and smeared. At the time, I could believe that his passion was in service of the truth. Now, however, the evidence indicates otherwise.

    USADA alleges that Armstrong was a leader in a sophisticated conspiracy. He is not just accused of doping to survive during an era where rules were not enforced. He is accused of leading the conspiracy to cheat and doing so by means of coercion and intimidation.

    There are also allegations that the governing body of cycling may have helped Armstrong to cover up a test. USADA may be trying to ensure that the UCI officials are held to the same standard that the riders and directors are held to.

  • HillClimber

    Part 2 of 2

    Regarding the question above about why professional cyclists are being overseen by governing body responsible for amateur sport, the answer is that pro cycling is very similar to pro soccer. The athletes compete professionally, but they are also overseen by bodies — FIFA and UCI — that sit underneath the IOC.

    In short, Armstrong is accused of doping using a method that cannot be detected in a single test. Instead, he is accused of banned practices that the authorities can only uncover through confession, witness testimony, or analysis of blood values over time. All of those are admissible. I expect that USADA will be able to show that the details given by the witnesses will be consistent with a sound scientific analysis of Armstrong’s blood samples. Sadly, Armstrong was competing during a period of significant corruption in pro cycling. Many other top riders of his day have already been sanctioned, or at least repeatedly accused, of cheating by techniques that healthy athletes are unlikely to be able to counter. I gave him the benefit of the doubt for a long time. But, like Bill Strickland of Bicycling magazine, I can’t anymore. It’s a shame.

    My point is not to argue for USADA’s course of action, although I agree with it, pending the reasoned decision. Nor do I discount the good that Armstrong has done for cancer patients and their families. This is already a long post.

    But I hope that I have filled the vacuum here with some of the facts that can help us better debate the issue in a way that is fair to everyone: to Armstrong, to USADA, to the witnesses, and to the peloton.

  • HillClimber

    Part 2 of 2

    Regarding the question above about why professional cyclists are being overseen by governing body responsible for amateur sport, the answer is that pro cycling is very similar to pro soccer. The athletes compete professionally, but they are also overseen by bodies — FIFA and UCI — that sit underneath the IOC.

    In short, Armstrong is accused of doping using a method that cannot be detected in a single test. Instead, he is accused of banned practices that the authorities can only uncover through confession, witness testimony, or analysis of blood values over time. All of those are admissible. I expect that USADA will be able to show that the details given by the witnesses will be consistent with a sound scientific analysis of Armstrong’s blood samples. Sadly, Armstrong was competing during a period of significant corruption in pro cycling. Many other top riders of his day have already been sanctioned, or at least repeatedly accused, of cheating by techniques that healthy athletes are unlikely to be able to counter. I gave him the benefit of the doubt for a long time. But, like Bill Strickland of Bicycling magazine, I can’t anymore. It’s a shame.

    My point is not to argue for USADA’s course of action, although I agree with it, pending the reasoned decision. Nor do I discount the good that Armstrong has done for cancer patients and their families. This is already a long post.

    But I hope that I have filled the vacuum here with some of the facts that can help us better debate the issue in a way that is fair to everyone: to Armstrong, to USADA, to the witnesses, and to the peloton.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Michael B. (@33):

    But he is being stripped of all his metals and is never allowed to compete again, and is now labelled a cheater. You wouldn’t fight that if you were in his place?

    I remain unconvinced that the USADA actually has the authority to strip him of his medals. Maybe I’m wrong.

    And, as others have pointed out, he’s getting on in years. If you’re planning on retiring, a lifetime ban isn’t much of a punishment. And if the USADA comes out looking like a bunch of witch-hunters, the “label” of cheater won’t do much harm, either.

    And, once again, I’d like to ask you who are the “multiple eyewitness accusers” to which you referred (@29). Or are you just enjoying the witch-hunt, too?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Michael B. (@33):

    But he is being stripped of all his metals and is never allowed to compete again, and is now labelled a cheater. You wouldn’t fight that if you were in his place?

    I remain unconvinced that the USADA actually has the authority to strip him of his medals. Maybe I’m wrong.

    And, as others have pointed out, he’s getting on in years. If you’re planning on retiring, a lifetime ban isn’t much of a punishment. And if the USADA comes out looking like a bunch of witch-hunters, the “label” of cheater won’t do much harm, either.

    And, once again, I’d like to ask you who are the “multiple eyewitness accusers” to which you referred (@29). Or are you just enjoying the witch-hunt, too?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    HillClimber (@37), thanks for your informative comments.

    Feel free to paste in a raw URL or include an HTML link. As long as your comments only contain 2 or so such links, they’ll get posted just fine.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    HillClimber (@37), thanks for your informative comments.

    Feel free to paste in a raw URL or include an HTML link. As long as your comments only contain 2 or so such links, they’ll get posted just fine.

  • HillClimber

    Thanks, Todd. Here’s the Bonnie Ford link. She also shares articles from other journalists on her twitter feed.

    http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/8299180/lance-armstrong-decision-not-fight-usada-charges-marks-surprising-end-all-time-great-fighter

    Here’s Michael Ashenden’s take on the science and on the possibility of a cover-up within the UCI.

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/ashenden-says-mcquaid-must-now-help-usadas-investigation

    I haven’t had time to research the jurisdictional arguments in full, but, for what it’s worth, WADA issued a statement within the last few weeks saying that all international governing bodies are required to enforce USADA’s bans. WADA is the organization responsible for the World Anti-Doping Code.

  • HillClimber

    Thanks, Todd. Here’s the Bonnie Ford link. She also shares articles from other journalists on her twitter feed.

    http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/8299180/lance-armstrong-decision-not-fight-usada-charges-marks-surprising-end-all-time-great-fighter

    Here’s Michael Ashenden’s take on the science and on the possibility of a cover-up within the UCI.

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/ashenden-says-mcquaid-must-now-help-usadas-investigation

    I haven’t had time to research the jurisdictional arguments in full, but, for what it’s worth, WADA issued a statement within the last few weeks saying that all international governing bodies are required to enforce USADA’s bans. WADA is the organization responsible for the World Anti-Doping Code.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    HillClimber, the majority of your comments seem to suggest that Armstrong’s major dope was the reinjection of his own red blood cells to get higher oxygen uptake–am I reading this right? And then, you would need to track the % of red blood cells over time, or perhaps a somewhat more complicated analytical tool, and look for statistically significant deviations from the ordinary pattern?

    And we would assume, then, that the doping here would be a LOT more subtle–perhaps then a lot less effective–than that practiced by, say, the sprinter Ben Johnson of Canada or the East German womens’ swim and track teams?

    I can understand working against blood doping for the simple reason it’s killed cyclists in the past. I’m just profoundly uneasy with going back over seven years to do this….when the “one test fails” practiced in the past will catch the most egregious, and lethal, habits of doping.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    HillClimber, the majority of your comments seem to suggest that Armstrong’s major dope was the reinjection of his own red blood cells to get higher oxygen uptake–am I reading this right? And then, you would need to track the % of red blood cells over time, or perhaps a somewhat more complicated analytical tool, and look for statistically significant deviations from the ordinary pattern?

    And we would assume, then, that the doping here would be a LOT more subtle–perhaps then a lot less effective–than that practiced by, say, the sprinter Ben Johnson of Canada or the East German womens’ swim and track teams?

    I can understand working against blood doping for the simple reason it’s killed cyclists in the past. I’m just profoundly uneasy with going back over seven years to do this….when the “one test fails” practiced in the past will catch the most egregious, and lethal, habits of doping.

  • HillClimber

    bike bubba, Dr. Ross Tucker at The Science of Sport has finally weighed in on the issue. This is perfect timing because because has already provided much better answers to some of your questions than I can.

    http://www.sportsscientists.com/2012/08/the-armstrong-fallout-thoughts-and.html

    The Science of Sport has some good posts about how cycling adapted to the introduction of a test for EPO and then the the Biological Passport. Whatever doping is happening in cycling today is certainly more subtle than what was happening in Armstrong’s heyday.

    The more complicated analytical tool that you suggest is exactly what the Biological Passport is. The passport tracks red blood cells over time, but it is more sophisticated than that. My understanding is that they can look at how many of the cells are young and how many of the cells are old. But that’s my layman’s summary. SoS explains it better.

    Having more red blood cells can be a big advantage in endurance sports like cycling and distance running. (I don’t know what Johnson and the East German swim teams were taking or what they were trying to gain.) And artificially increasing red blood cell counts can also be very dangerous. EPO use thickens the blood and increases the risk of stroke. The FDA has issued warnings to this effect. Blood doping can also be dangerous too. Disgraced cyclist Ricardo Riccò was hospitalized for life-threatening complications likely resulting from a transfusion of improperly stored blood. He’s very lucky to be alive.

    As for the eight-year statute of limitations, Armstrong agreed to submit to the WADA code and to the oversight of the UCI, USA Cycling, WADA, USADA, and CAS. I haven’t had time to read the arguments about conspiracy and concealment, but an independent arbitration panel in another case (Hellebuyck) did rule that an athlete’s perjury tolled the statute of limitations (stop the clock). Even if CAS were to reject USADA’s perjury/concealment and conspiracy arguments, the 2004 and 2005 Tours and Armstrong’s comeback years all fall within the eight-year period.

    Back to your other question, we won’t know how much of the evidence points to EPO as a blood booster and how much of the evidence points to blood doping or blood doping with microdoses of EPO (to hide the blood doping) until we see the reasoned decision. Even then, I’m not sure if USADA’s reasoned decision will contain all of the evidence that USADA has or just enough to prove the elements of the offenses. I don’t know enough about the rules or the litigation strategy to comment. Certainly a lot of the information will come out if the case goes up to CAS.

  • HillClimber

    bike bubba, Dr. Ross Tucker at The Science of Sport has finally weighed in on the issue. This is perfect timing because because has already provided much better answers to some of your questions than I can.

    http://www.sportsscientists.com/2012/08/the-armstrong-fallout-thoughts-and.html

    The Science of Sport has some good posts about how cycling adapted to the introduction of a test for EPO and then the the Biological Passport. Whatever doping is happening in cycling today is certainly more subtle than what was happening in Armstrong’s heyday.

    The more complicated analytical tool that you suggest is exactly what the Biological Passport is. The passport tracks red blood cells over time, but it is more sophisticated than that. My understanding is that they can look at how many of the cells are young and how many of the cells are old. But that’s my layman’s summary. SoS explains it better.

    Having more red blood cells can be a big advantage in endurance sports like cycling and distance running. (I don’t know what Johnson and the East German swim teams were taking or what they were trying to gain.) And artificially increasing red blood cell counts can also be very dangerous. EPO use thickens the blood and increases the risk of stroke. The FDA has issued warnings to this effect. Blood doping can also be dangerous too. Disgraced cyclist Ricardo Riccò was hospitalized for life-threatening complications likely resulting from a transfusion of improperly stored blood. He’s very lucky to be alive.

    As for the eight-year statute of limitations, Armstrong agreed to submit to the WADA code and to the oversight of the UCI, USA Cycling, WADA, USADA, and CAS. I haven’t had time to read the arguments about conspiracy and concealment, but an independent arbitration panel in another case (Hellebuyck) did rule that an athlete’s perjury tolled the statute of limitations (stop the clock). Even if CAS were to reject USADA’s perjury/concealment and conspiracy arguments, the 2004 and 2005 Tours and Armstrong’s comeback years all fall within the eight-year period.

    Back to your other question, we won’t know how much of the evidence points to EPO as a blood booster and how much of the evidence points to blood doping or blood doping with microdoses of EPO (to hide the blood doping) until we see the reasoned decision. Even then, I’m not sure if USADA’s reasoned decision will contain all of the evidence that USADA has or just enough to prove the elements of the offenses. I don’t know enough about the rules or the litigation strategy to comment. Certainly a lot of the information will come out if the case goes up to CAS.

  • Michael B.

    @Todd@39

    “And, once again, I’d like to ask you who are the “multiple eyewitness accusers” to which you referred (@29). Or are you just enjoying the witch-hunt, too?”

    Some of his own teammates. (http://www.statesman.com/news/local/armstrongs-accusers-who-are-they-2441801.html)

    And why are you saying it’s a witch hunt?

  • Michael B.

    @Todd@39

    “And, once again, I’d like to ask you who are the “multiple eyewitness accusers” to which you referred (@29). Or are you just enjoying the witch-hunt, too?”

    Some of his own teammates. (http://www.statesman.com/news/local/armstrongs-accusers-who-are-they-2441801.html)

    And why are you saying it’s a witch hunt?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Hillclimber, Johnson and others were mostly caught for variants of testosterone. Thanks for the links.

    That said, I still think the cycling federation isn’t smelling too good, either; everything seems to come out in public before the guy getting investigated knows. So by their behavior, they are making Armstrong’s claims of a witch hunt look very, very plausible.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Hillclimber, Johnson and others were mostly caught for variants of testosterone. Thanks for the links.

    That said, I still think the cycling federation isn’t smelling too good, either; everything seems to come out in public before the guy getting investigated knows. So by their behavior, they are making Armstrong’s claims of a witch hunt look very, very plausible.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Michael B. (@44), the article you point me to said that

    USADA has acknowledged only that Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton would testify.

    Both of whom, of course, have their own doping scandals.

    So, to recap, that’s two (not very “multiple”) accusers, and both of them already guilty of the same crime. Which does somewhat temper their testimony, in my opinion, as it provides a motive.

    As to “witch hunt”, that was more aimed at you than at the USADA (with whom I have used the term only conditionally). You really seem uninterested in the pursuit of justice here.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Michael B. (@44), the article you point me to said that

    USADA has acknowledged only that Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton would testify.

    Both of whom, of course, have their own doping scandals.

    So, to recap, that’s two (not very “multiple”) accusers, and both of them already guilty of the same crime. Which does somewhat temper their testimony, in my opinion, as it provides a motive.

    As to “witch hunt”, that was more aimed at you than at the USADA (with whom I have used the term only conditionally). You really seem uninterested in the pursuit of justice here.

  • Michael B.

    @Todd

    Actually, I hope he’s innocent. He has obviously worked very hard to get where he is.

  • Michael B.

    @Todd

    Actually, I hope he’s innocent. He has obviously worked very hard to get where he is.

  • Kona

    @Dust
    In Soviet Union forensics evidence could never be neglected in favour of testimony. And pleating guilty ment nothing until solid proof is presented, and then only it is a ground to lessen the punishment, only. And there was no precedent law, you have to prove each time and every time, according to this very specific and unique case.

    In good ol’ US? Ask all those convicted on the ground of pleading only. Or those who got in a your-word-vs-mine situation. “Don’t talk to police” lecture on YouTube makes soviet lawyers shiver. This things were completely impossible in SU. Say thanks to antisoviet propaganda for your attitude.

  • Kona

    @Dust
    In Soviet Union forensics evidence could never be neglected in favour of testimony. And pleating guilty ment nothing until solid proof is presented, and then only it is a ground to lessen the punishment, only. And there was no precedent law, you have to prove each time and every time, according to this very specific and unique case.

    In good ol’ US? Ask all those convicted on the ground of pleading only. Or those who got in a your-word-vs-mine situation. “Don’t talk to police” lecture on YouTube makes soviet lawyers shiver. This things were completely impossible in SU. Say thanks to antisoviet propaganda for your attitude.


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