Lance Armstrong’s Cat-And-Mouse Game

Disgraced seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong recently said he wanted to see the names of all his accusers. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) soon obliged him by giving him 26 names, including that of 11 former teammates. The agency even provided him with evidence of 200 pages filled with vivid details, from hotel rooms transformed into makeshift blood transfusion centers to the ex-wife of the cyclist rolling pills of cortisone into foil and handing them out to all the cyclists.

The agency remarked that Lance Armstrong’s desire to win at all costs was what made him go dependent on first EPO and then blood transfusions and other performance enhancing drugs like growth hormone and testosterone. He tried the biggest tricks in the game to run the most sophisticated doping program in cycling and had the habit of running from places whenever and wherever anti-doping team came to test him. From 1999-2004, Armstrong won the Tour as leader of the U.S. Postal Service team and again in 2005 with the Discovery Channel as the primary sponsor.

USADA accused Armstrong of depending on performance enhancing drugs to fuel his victories and more ruthlessly, to expect and to require that his teammates. Among the 11 former teammates who testified against Armstrong are Tyler Hamilton, Floyd Landis, and George Hincapie. The USADA report said Hincapie alerted Armstrong when he found drug testers at the hotel in 2000 after which Armstrong dropped out of the race to avoid being tested. The USADA also interviewed Toronto cyclist Michael Barry, Frankie Andreu, Tom Danielson, Levi Leipheimer, Stephen Swart, Jonathan Vaughters, and David Zabriskie besides Andreu’s wife, Betsy, who was one of Armstrong’s most consistent and unapologetic critics.

The report went to the governing body of cycling, UCI, and it also went to the World Anti-Doping Agency that also has the right to appeal but so far has supported the position of the USADA in the case against Lance Armstrong.

Recently, Canadian cyclist Michael Barry released a statement in which he admitted to taking performance enhancing drugs after feeling pressure to perform from the United States Postal Service Cycling Team.

Armstrong insisted that he never cheated though he find it easy not to fight the USADA charges than to save his reputation and integrity by contesting the charges levied against him. His attorney, Tim Herman, called the report a one-sided hatchet job — a taxpayer funded tabloid piece rehashing old, disproved, unreliable allegations based largely on axe-grinders, serial perjurers, coerced testimony, sweetheart deals and threat-induced stories. Herman, in a letter sent to USADA attorneys, said dismissed any evidence provided by Landis and Hamilton and said the riders were “serial perjurers and have told diametrically contradictory stories under oath.

USADA Chief Executive Travis Tygart said the cyclist was given the chance to take his case to arbitration and declined and rather decided to accept the sanctions in August. Once he decided not to contest the charges, the anti-doping agency stripped him of all his titles and banned him for life and now Armstrong’s bronze medal at the Sydney Olympics is also in the danger of getting lost. However, the International Olympic Committee will wait for cycling’s governing body to act on the doping case before it thinks about taking away his Olympic bronze medal from the 2000 Sydney Games

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