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Wednesday 15, Feb 2017

  Armstrong Fails To Block Government Lawsuit

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Lance Armstrong, the American former professional road racing cyclist, has lost his bid to block a $100m (£79m) lawsuit by the US government.

The U.S. Justice Department had accused the cyclist, who had won the Tour de France a record seven consecutive times from 1999 to 2005, before he was banned for life and stripped of his titles, of defrauding the government by accepting millions of dollars in sponsorship money from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency accused Armstrong in a report of engineering one of the most sophisticated doping schemes in sports.

On Monday, a federal judge cleared the way for a U.S. government lawsuit that seeks nearly $100 million in damages from the former professional cyclist to go to trial. Judge Christopher Cooper of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia wrote in a 37-page ruling that the Court must deny Armstrong’s motion for summary judgment on this issue because the government has offered evidence that Armstrong withheld information about the team’s doping and use of PEDs and that the anti-doping provisions of the sponsorship agreements were material to USPS’s decision to continue the sponsorship and make payments under the agreements.

Armstrong’s cycling team, the now-defunct Tailwind Sports Corp, received around $32.3 million from USPS from 2000 to 2004. Cooper said in his ruling USPS looked to capitalize on the Tour de France victories of Armstrong as well as his “compelling personal story.” The US federal government now wants the money back and Armstrong may likely end up paying triple under the False Claims Act.

In defense, the attorney of Armstrong claimed USPS suffered no damages and received far more in value from the sponsorship than the amount paid by it. The Judge responded by saying the argument should be decided by a jury at trial.

Cooper wrote the Court concludes that the monetary amount of the benefits USPS received is not sufficiently quantifiable to keep any reasonable juror from finding that the agency suffered a net loss on the sponsorship, especially if one considers the adverse effect on the Postal Service’s revenues and brand value that may have resulted from the negative publicity surrounding the subsequent investigations of Armstrong’s doping and his widely publicized confession. The Judge also said determination of damages must therefore be left to a jury and the Court accordingly declines to grant Armstrong summary judgment on damages and will set the case for trial.

The former cyclist admitted to making use of banned performance enhancing drugs in seven of his Tour wins.

In another development, Armstrong’s former directeur sportif Johan Bruyneel poured scorn on legendary cyclist Greg LeMond. Bruyneel said LeMond has an unnatural obsession with tarnishing the reputation of Lance Armstrong. Bruyneel, who is currently serving a 10-year ban for his involvement in doping, said LeMond has realized that people are less and less outraged by Lance, because it has become clear that he was only one of many who were doping, and that is why LeMond is now looking for something new with which to tarnish his name. Armstrong’s former directeur sportif added LeMond is not going to manage it and went on to comment that they can keep trying until the year 3000 and they are not going to find mechanical doping.

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Friday 07, Dec 2012

  LeMond To Run For UCI Presidency

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LeMond To Run For UCI Presidency

After a series of doping scandals in cycling, three-time Tour de France champion Greg LeMond is to run for president of the International Cycling Union (UCI).

LeMond, who won the Tour in 1986, 1989, and 1990, told the French daily Le Monde that he was ready to run for UCI president in 2013 and remarked that we want to change cycling with the Change Cycling Now movement. The cyclist is a part of Change Cycling Now, a lobby group set up by former riders, journalists, and a sponsor who all look to radically change the way the sport is ruled in the wake of the Lance Armstrong scandal. The 41-year-old Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after the United States Anti-Doping Agency accused him of being at the center of an organized doping conspiracy. Meanwhile, current UCI president Pat McQuaid has said he is seeking a third term.

LeMond has been in a long-running feud with the disgraced rider and is now the only American to have won the Tour. The 51-year-old LeMond said in 2001 that he was “disappointed” with Armstrong’s working relationship with the Italian doctor Michele Ferrari at both the US Postal and Discovery Channel teams. LeMond added that Armstrong could repair some of the damage inflicted on the sport by coming forward and providing an insight into his alleged misdemeanors and further added that would be one redeeming thing he could do for cycling, because he’s done a lot of damage.

The alleged complicity of the UCI with doping has resulted in widespread calls for McQuaid and the honorary president, Hein Verbruggen, to step down.

Change Cycling Now, formed by the Australian businessman Jaimie Fuller, has received support from former riders, journalists, and the blood doping expert Michael Ashenden. Ashenden, who said the World Anti-Doping Agency agreed in principle with the idea, is of the view that the changes, if implemented, would remove any doubt over the legitimacy of future Tour winners.

LeMond while addressing the 13 other members of the panel attending the first day of the summit said he and [former rider] Eric Boyer called for independent doping back in 2008 and the Amaury Sports Organisation [operators of the Tour de France] were all for it, but unfortunately, the UCI was not.

A few weeks ago, the governing body of cycling announced that an independent panel consisting of the judge Sir Philip Otton, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, and the barrister Malcolm Holmes would be examining the issues that emerged from the damning US Anti-Doping Agency report into the Armstrong affair, which said that he led “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen”. Change Cycling Now believes a fresh approach is required immediately as the panel’s findings are due next June and said the movement has laid out a charter for change that would see the formation of a truth and reconciliation commission and rejection of a zero-tolerance response to doping, giving riders two years to come forward and provide any details of offenses.

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Thursday 06, Dec 2012

  Riders Urged To Lift Doping Taint

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Riders Urged To Lift Doping Taint

A lobby group has invited riders to back a plan it says may remove doping suspicions undermining the sport after the Lance Armstrong doping scandal. The group campaigning to clean up cycling says the short-term intensive approach will restore public confidence in the riders and the race outcome.

Doctor Michael Ashenden, a leading anti-doping campaigner, in a news conference organized by “Change Cycling Now” remarked the assistance sought from the riders is to place a system that will guarantee that the winner of the major tours has not blood doped. The anti-doping campaigner gave no further details of his proposal but said he had briefed Gianni Bugno, president of the riders association, with a hope for its swift implementation for next season.

Cycling’s image has been hugely shaken ever since seven-time Tour de France winner and 41-year-old Texan rider, Lance Armstrong, was stripped of his titles and banned for life by the United States Anti-Doping Agency that accused him of being at the center of an organized doping conspiracy.

“Change Cycling Now” has called for UCI president Pat McQuaid to quit as head of the governing body of cycling by accusing him of failing to root out doping. Meanwhile, UCI president Pat McQuaid has vowed to continue to improve the sport, despite continued calls for his resignation.

McQuaid said we will work together to tackle issues of concern and build a bright future for cycling and look at how we can continue the process of globalizing cycling, encourage wider participation and make the sport even more interesting for spectators.

American Greg LeMond, who won the Tour in 1986, 1989, and 1990, said he was ready to serve as an interim head of the UCI. LeMond told the news conference he is ready to do whatever he can to help change the sport and remarked that if that means an interim presidency, he would be willing to do that and to be part of the process to change (the sport).

“Change Cycling Now”, comprising former riders, journalists and anti-doping campaigners, has been put together by Jaimie Fuller, an Australian who is chairman of the SKINS sportswear company, a cycling sponsor. More than 10 current cyclists were approached about the campaign but they were afraid to speak out, said Fuller who added that the vast majority were intimidated about what could happen to them if they stuck their head above the parapet and were critical of the vast majority were intimidated about what could happen to them if they stuck their head above the parapet and were critical of the cycling’s governing body.

LeMond said he had also been the victim of intimidation and said he dealt with the amount of money that he had to destroy people and added Armstrong had done a lot of damage to cycling and it was a false bull market for cycling. Recently, Dutch Rabobank pulled out of sponsoring a professional cycling team in the wake of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal and there are fears other companies may join soon.

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Monday 12, Nov 2012

  CAS President To Select Panel For Investigating UCI

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CAS President To Select Panel For Investigating UCI

Following recent claims into the management of the sport in the governing body of cycling, the three-man panel to investigate the International Cycling Union (UCI), will be selected by the International Council of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS) president.

John Coates, the ICAS president and chairman of the Australian Olympic Council, has been named as the man to select the three-man Independent Commission for investigating allegations against the cycling’s governing body in the Lance Armstrong doping scandal and the running of cycling by its governing body in general.

The CAS President has agreed to selecting the panel that will be chaired by a senior lawyer of international standing and also consist of a forensic accountant for looking into allegations of illegal payments by the disgraced cyclist and a senior sports administrator. All the three panel members will be free of any cycling connections. The governing body of cycling has already started contacting the nominees of Coates and is planning to make an announcement of the panel as soon as possible with the original time-frame from the UCI Management Board meeting on October 26 indicating that the members of the commission will be confirmed by the end of this week. The final terms of reference for the commission will be decided by Coates and his nominees.

UCI president Pat McQuaid said he would like to thank John Coates for his recommendations and the purpose of this independent commission is to look into the findings of the report by the United States Anti-Doping Agency and to make conclusions and recommendations that will enable the cycling’s governing body to restore confidence in the sport of cycling and in the UCI as its governing body.

Meanwhile, the Royal Dutch Cycling Federation KNWU president Marcel J.G. Wintels said it was good that the governing body of cycling accepted the USADA findings and implemented the proposed sanctions and it is time that the UCI takes a strong lead from the point. Wintels added that he is no longer reassured by UCI claims that everything has been sorted out and cycling has changed after the Lance Armstrong cycling scandal as the same words were expressed after the Festina scandal and the Armstrong case proved that wasn’t the case. He further added that Rabobank resigning its sponsorship and inability of the KNWU to answer the question whether or not the doping culture has become widely accepted in professional cycling in the recent years has damaged the answer the question whether or not the doping culture has become widely accepted in professional cycling in the recent years.

Wintels and many others including triple Tour de France winner Greg LeMond have remarked that this moment must be seized upon and permanent changes made. The KNWU chief said immediate action is required to be taken in the case and if the UCI does not live up to expectations, the Royal Dutch Cycling Federation would consider going ahead with its own truth or inquiry committee, extending the examination as far as possible internationally.

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Thursday 26, Aug 2010

  Armstrong foe subpoenaed in probe

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Armstrong foe subpoenaed in probeGreg LeMond, the three-time Tour de France champion, has been served with a grand jury subpoena by the Federal authorities in the investigation of fraud and doping accusations involving Lance Armstrong and his cycling teams.

LeMond has been asked to provide documents related to Lance Armstrong and his last four teams: United States Postal Service, Discovery Channel, Astana, and RadioShack.

Armstrong has repeatedly denied any wrongdoings and reaffirmed that he never doped.

Tuesday 30, Sep 2008

  Greg LeMond welcomes back Lance Armstrong with doping questions

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Greg LeMond steroidsTo Lance Armstrong, Greg LeMond is like a nasty habit – he won’t go away despite taking him by the horn.

LeMond has been quite vocal about his concern whether Armstrong is using anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. And now, as Armstrong readies himself for an impressive comeback, LeMond is there to put a damper on every twist and turn Armstrong takes.

When Armstrong attended an Interbike trade show a day after officially announcing his comeback to talk with the media and other stakeholders in the cycling sport and industry, one of people sitting in the front row was, you guessed right, Armstrong’s nemesis – good old LeMond.

This news from Bike Radar:

LeMond led off the questioning with some pointed ones, all surrounding the theme of questioning the reasonability of the planned special testing of Armstrong by Don Catlin of the UCLA lab.

“I see Mr. Greg LeMond is here,” Armstrong said somewhat wryly, but allowed him to have the first question.

LeMond pressed Armstrong and Catlin about the type of testing they had planned. He called into question the proposed testing, arguing that it is not comprehensive enough, such as using T/E ratios and tests for specific EPO drugs as opposed to measuring physiological variables such as power output changes over time. LeMond inferred that a spike in power output would better indicate the use of something illegal compared to trying to test for particular substances.

“That is not my area,” responded Catlin. “He will be subject to testing by everyone under the sun. I think that will be all sorted out.”

Catlin said that the actual program is still taking shape. “[Lance] has agreed to a couple of a few very fundamental points. One is his data, like T/E ratio and all that kind of stuff that a doping control is allowed to do will be on the web, so you can see it. ‘Ah, your T/E ratio changed today, what happened?’ Like to see if he is taking EPO – all the actors to make it a very public campaign.

“The other thing is samples will be kept frozen for a good long time so that if next year, five years a new test comes out and someone says Lance was doing something five years ago, we can pull out the samples and test them. This is longitudinal testing whereas the usual type of testing is taking a stop in time. This is where you connect the dots and is much more powerful kind of program to understand the physiology.”

“That is all irrelevant,” LeMond responded. “It doesn’t matter about T/E ratio but watts and power output…”

“I don’t think it is irrelevant,” said Catlin. “I dare say you know this business pretty well! Come with your ideas of what we should do!”

At that point Armstrong stepped in tried to move things along. “You’ve done your job,” Armstrong said to LeMond. “We are here to talk about a couple of things, like the Global Clinton campaign and my comeback to cycling. It’s time for us, everybody in this room, to move on. We are not going to go there, I appreciate you being here – next question.”

We’re sure that brush off would not be enough to deter LeMond’s crusade to prove that Armstrong is not as clean he wants the sports world to think.

Armstrong’s career has been dogged by doping rumors. The book L. A. Confidentiel – Les secrets de Lance Armstrong, published in 2004, tells of the allegations of Armstrong’s former masseuse that Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs.  Steve Swart, Armstrong’s former teammate, has also alleged in the same book that Armstrong was into PEDs.

On August 2005, a French newspaper has reported that six urine samples taken from Armstrong Tour prior and during the 1999 Tour de France had tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO).

There have been more similar allegations that have been thrown against the seven-time Tour de France champ; most have ended in lawsuits, which have been either dismissed or settled out of court.

In 1999, his urine sample has shown metabolites of corticosteroids, but it was reported the amount was not within the positive test range. Armstrong claimed the he used the drugs to treat saddle sores, substantiating his statement with a medical certificate. He has continually denied allegations of steroid and PED use.

Saturday 19, Apr 2008

  Tour de France and Steroids

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Greg LeMond steroidsSeems like the world of cycling is now riding on bad publicity because of steroids. Lance Armstrong and Greg LeMond, two Tour de France winners many times over, are bickering. Lemond has been very vocal about his opinions of Armstrong, accusing the Tour’s seven-time winner of blood doping and steroids use. Apparently, Armstrong was not overjoyed by Lemond’s attitude and pronouncements, and decided to put a break on Lemond’s runaway mouth. Now, the row has gone beyond personal level. Reportedly, Armstrong retaliated by convincing Lemond’s business associate, Trek Bicycle Corporation, to drop Lemond’s high-end bicycle products. That would’ve hurt Lemond’s pockets more than his feelings. You’re not hearing the end of this, no doubt about it.

Second interesting and juicy item is Tammy Thomas’ recent guilty verdict on three counts of perjury and one count of obstruction of justice. Thomas was just one of the famous athletes implicated in the infamous BALCO affair. The 12-man jury convicted Thomas for lying before the grand jury back in 2003 when she denied that she had used steroids during her sprint cycling career. She also testified to the same jury that she had not received any performance-enhancing drugs from Patrick Arnold, BALCO’s in-house chemist.

Arnold, a one-time amateur bodybuilder, has pleaded guilty back in 2006 for supplying Thomas as well as some other professional athletes of the drugs norbolethone and tetrahydrogestrinone (THG), the latter more commonly known as The Clear. Arnold has already served his three-month sentence. Other elite athletes who were accused of taking the same steroids are slugger Barry Bonds and track queen Marion Jones.

Thomas’s sentencing is scheduled this July 18, and she may face a prison sentence of six months to several years, according to legal experts. Visibly upset by the verdict, Thomas shouted “I already had one career taken away from me,” she shouted, apparently referring to her lifetime ban from cycling. “Look me in the eye. You can’t do it,” she heatedly continued.

Bet you, few (if any at all) would attribute her aggression to steroids this time around.