Is Armstrong’s empire crashing around him?

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The long knives are coming out.

Is Armstrong’s empire crashing around him?
. . . [w]hether on the bike or in front of a microphone, Armstrong seems to have lost the finely tuned balance that saw him successfully fend off challengers, whether they were on the bike or in press row.

Armstrong told reporters at the start of Stage 10 that he never had any ownership in Tailwind Sports LLC, the entity that owned the U.S. Postal Service team, and that he was merely an employee like any other rider. “That’s completely untrue,” he said of reports he held an equity stake in Tailwind. “No ownership; none at all.”

That’s a highly relevant fact, because the investigation into the Postal years hinges in part on whether Tailwind Sports, the team’s owner, might have defrauded the federal government by using federal funds to support doping on the team. If proved in court, the riders might not be held criminally responsible for that but team officials and owners would.

. . . [A]s Bonnie Ford at ESPN and numerous other outlets have pointed out, that statement directly contradicts Armstrong’s own testimony in the SCA Insurance case in 2005. In his deposition there, Armstrong acknowledges owning 10 percent of Tailwind, although he professes to be unclear about when his ownership stake began.

It is no small point when prior testimony under oath is at odds with what one then proclaims to be the truth today. It is, relatively speaking, the same issue that faces Floyed Landis – are you lying now or were you lying then?

Questions are being asked, relevant parties under oath. Information is being gathered.

The NY Times reported yesterday that federal subpoenas have been issued to potential witnesses, and the NY Daily News, in a story reporting that Postal sponsor Trek Bicycles had been served, mentioned that the subpoenas had originated from a grand jury.

If true, that would indicate the investigation is moving swiftly, since federal grand juries compel and consider evidence to determine whether to recommend a criminal indictment.

You had better believe it is moving swiftly. Everyone knows that save Armstrong himself.

Speaking to reporters at the Tour, Armstrong also spoke critically of the investigation, asking rhetorically if the American people “feel like this is a good use of their tax dollars?” He said that while he was respectful of the process, he would only cooperate in a “legitimate and credible and fair investigation,” not a “witch hunt,” before finishing, “I’ve done too many good things for too many people.”

Armstrong has sometimes been accused of using his work with his cancer foundation as a shield against criticism. That is a charge I’ve never made. But I’ve also never heard him invoke that substantive and important legacy in such a bold fashion as he did today. And he seems to be willfully unaware that this is a federal criminal investigation; his interest in participating is immaterial.

Armstrong’s work on behalf of fighting cancer isn’t the issue here. The issue is whether or not Floyd Landis is telling the truth and, if he is, whether Lance Armstrong knowingly used Postal Service money to dope to win the Tour de France and enrich himself, thus defrauding the federal government.

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About big jonny

The man, the legend. The guy who started it all back in the Year of Our Lord Beer, 2000, with a couple of pages worth of idiotic ranting hardcoded on some random porn site that would host anything you uploaded, a book called HTML for Dummies (which was completely appropriate), a bad attitude (which hasn’t much changed), and a Dell desktop running Win95 with 64 mgs of ram and a six gig hard drive. Those were the days. Then he went to law school. Go figure. Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

40 Replies to “Is Armstrong’s empire crashing around him?”

  1. Lance Schmance….the days are winding down. Just go away, but do it in a colossal ball of flames like a rock star. Snake will/would give him a run even if he did show up at that overpriced roadrace on dirt with a d-bag promoter.

  2. The correct answer, Lance, is to shut the fuck up and do what your lawyers say. Witch hunt or no, you will be where you are told to be when the Grand Jury subpoena’s you, and you better tell the truth. Ain’t up to you to decide what’s fair, that’s up to them that write the code.

  3. What’s up with the “Id” links Kitchen? This ain’t lawyerville. Makey biggie for my clicky clicky preeze.

  4. “I’ve done too many good things for too many people.”

    That’s the tell. He’s tiring. He’s headed to the ropes, elbows in, gloves up.

  5. I believe Lance…

    was riding dirty

    anyone remember his excuse when asked about his little yellow caffeine pills, something about being a bit of a coffee junkie or some BS like that?

  6. Do you guys really ride as many fireroads as the banner photos suggest? No singeltrack in AZ? Maybe that’s why you guys like that Leadville race sooo much.. another long fireroad.

  7. What is needed is more riders who were on US Postal to actually relate to the Grand Jury what happned on US Postal, in the training camps, on the bus, in the meetings and in the special rooms set up for doping.

  8. Let Lancie pants ride! How many people in the Tour weren’t on drugs? Top ten? Lance just doped up better and more discreetly than anyone else. No blood bags with his dog’s name on them. That’s why he won. If they can turn up actual evidence of Lance doping, it’d be interesting – but the idea of Lance going to prison is outrageous and Floyd’s getting drunk on schadenfreude.

    But it looks like Tyler’s gonna have a chance for redemption. Despite all his lying, he seems like a nice, quiet guy who just didn’t know how to navigate rough waters like Floyd apparently does.

  9. when the subpoenas come out and the Grand Jury calls, who ya gonna lie for; Lance?

  10. g –

    “the good” will be the evaporation of american interest (money) from the surface of cycling. once again, the giants –football, tiger, and nascar– can re-mount the throne.

    if you work in a shop, like it or not, it’s been a fun ride thanks to lance. As tough as it’s been to keep customers buying in this economy, the harsh desert winds are likely to blow even harder through US bike shops if this shit hits the fan. i don’t want to see that happen. there’s no one left with such a sensational story as lance to hold the interest of our celebrity crazy, gossip mongering, drooling retard of a nation’s audience.

    hold fast to your workstands, shipmates. there could be a giant wave of black dust crashing across our bow.

  11. Dude, Ya gotta know how much I enjoy your postings the deeper you get into law school. I bleeds through. I am a huge fan of the logical thought process and law (witch don’t always jive). You see these issues as I see them and it’s fun to read. Keep up the good work ….. although my favorite stripper also has a law degree.

  12. off the subject a bit , but has anybody noticed there is a split on the radioshack team , they are not working together ,kloden is not showing up , leiphiemer is by himself , lance was left by himself. this team was split before it hit the pavement,levi alluded the team would support the best rider after stage two?

  13. From all appearances this investigation centers on the Postal years. How is this going to help the current dope problem? Not saying they shouldn’t pay for their stupidity but I get the impression that people think this is going to clean shit up. So great-spend a pile of cash on the glam of bringing the boss down but what happens when the dust settles? Will the Euro’s give a fuck? Probably not. It will be business as usual over there. As far as domestic racing goes-do those guys even make enough cash to buy dope?

  14. If Lance should get a pass then we should restore all the dopers palmares. Just because it took longer to catch him then Basso, Vino, Floyd, et al does not give him special dispensation.

    In any case the Feds are more interested in the money trail, fraud, transport of drugs across borders, etc, then sports doping. The possibility that UCI officials were bribed and that the whole regulatory structure is compromised and crooked would have a lot of relevance to cleaning up the sport going forward as well.

    Doping was so much more organized, wide spread and involved so many that it will probably be an investigators dream. So many potential witnesses to flip. It’s not just Lance, as this unravels few who rode for Bruyneel or used the same Doctors and trainers may escape untouched.

  15. Shouldn’t FEDs be FBI? Novitzky is an agent of the FDA wtf? Lance is a tough guy in a tough sport. Its all clean or its not. I’m entertained by it all, Lemond, Lance, represented the strongest of N.American competitors in the hardest race.

    I’m not sure of a lot of things but I know I don’t like the tax man or the way the PTB spend my tax dollars.

  16. PTB spend my tax dollars fighting.

    Hasn’t worked some 2K yrs. Just cus rep. democracy lasts longer (trumps) communism, stalinism. does’t mean it works long term

  17. NPR news today – Lance Armstrong crashed ‘several times’ and he’s admitted he’s not going to win. I say to the sports announcer: No shit. How dumbed down does news have to be? Much much more tech talk about golf. Fuck you, NPR.

  18. As though the only news worth talking about in the TDF is about Lance. This is the news for the non-cyclists. They only want to hear about their boy.
    Fuck you, NPR. And I’ll be happy when the man retires and quits being part of this spectacle anymore.

  19. The beautiful irony here is that Lance taught them all, then turned his back once they got caught and tried to make a return to the sport. now they will all get their chance to return the favor.

  20. Snake Hawk has it right. A bunch of us were talking about that last night. Lance, whether you like him or not, has been the catalyst in bringing cycling mainstream. His falling, and it being for cheating/stealing tax dollars, will not go well for the cycling.

    I just watched today’s stage of the Tour de France live, then watched the good parts again. I remember watching Briant Gum-ball do Tour high highlights when I was a kid. The show was one hour long on NBC Sports, in the middle of the day on sunday – when no one was watching TV. That was it. No other coverage.

    I guess we’ll just have to stay tuned…

  21. …i’m learning spanish, guys…

    …my phrase for the day is “cuntador es una puta comadreja”

    …say what you will about lance but in his rivalry w/ jan ullrich, there was a mutual respect between the two & they both had occasion to actually wait for, rather than attack each other when ‘incidents’ happened…
    …(there was the time the lance-ster tried to steal a kid’s musette outside the feed zone & the kid said “no…mine !!!” & brought the man down but ultimately ullrich did slow)…

    …andy schleck & the bitch weasel were supposed friends but not only did the weasel attack when he saw a mechanical problem, he did more lying & bullshitting about it afterward than i would have thought possible…

    …the proof is in the tape, weasel…the truth is substantiated on film…you’re doing a lousy job of covering your puta comadreja tracks…big yellow footprints on the road…looks like the “chalk-bot” mapped your course…

  22. Is that really how it works ? One guy sits up when another has a problem ?


    Every time I try to swallow that idea Coach Chironna’s voice booms in my mind.

    4 years playing HS football. Well. 4 years of training and sitting on the bench game day more like it. But still…..I can’t seem to fault Contador.

    This tradition go way back ?

  23. Dude,

    There are always two sides to a story:

    Ethics says that you wait on a mechanical that can’t be helped…

    Schleck attacked him when he was looking left and behind and then fucked up his gears as he rocketed away….it is called karma bitches.

    I don’t like Cuntador, but if Schleck had not attacked ( stupid place to do it I might add) then there is no mechanical. He was trying to gain some minor seconds and it cost him.

    I suppose if Cuntador got stuck in the pack behind someone that fucked up their gear Schleck would have waited?? ….sure he would

    Would have been different had he gotten a flat or crashed…

    Did Lance stop when Beloki broke his fucking hip right in front of him? right….

  24. …chironna was a dick & you know it…besides, he not only made you ride the bench but he said a lotta nasty shit about you behind your back…i heard he hated little bunnies & other cute stuff & crushed butterflies in his fist when he caught ’em…

    …just sayin’…

    …if a man can’t respond ‘cuz he doesn’t ‘have it’, that’s a different story but ya, there have been a lot of incidents where an allowance is made for a mechanical especially amongst the leaders…
    …it’s also considered bad form to attack when a ‘nature break’ is under way…

    …why do you think people cheered when schleck donned the white jersey, yet there were catcalls & whistles (euro-boo’s) when that smug prick draped himself in yellow…

    …speak with your legs & your talent…if you’re so insecure you need to take advantage of a friend & rival when he has a mechanical, especially when you’re both 1-2, well, i see that as sad…

  25. Totally disagree BGW – Did you read Bruyneel and Riis’ comments? it was ON at that point and Schleck f-d up the shift from little to big ring when HE was attacking – far from a “mechanical”. A mechanical is a busted stem or a broken chain. Remember stage 3 when Saxo drilled it after Contador was hung up behind a crash he didn’t cause? You were fine with that because…that’s racing. Besides, how many chances does Schleck deserve? Stage 2 truce, stage 3 riding Cancellera like a child in a car seat, now this? He should be behind by minutes.

    You talk about karma for Contador? If anything Contador is getting karmic payback for having to ride with that a-hole Armstrong last year. Some teammate he was.

  26. …i didn’t mention karma…what i did mention was that cuntador was boo’d on the podium & the versus guys said that about 50% of the people were doing it & i certainly heard ’em…

    …why would that be ???…

    “The basic (if unwritten) rule is, you don’t attack the yellow jersey for a mechanical or a crash”

    …read between the lines…basically everyone i saw interviewed said contador can ride his own rules because it’s “on” but that it wasn’t the way they’d want to take the jersey…

    …why would that be ???…

  27. No mames’ dude. Cause and effect, is Schleck no attacky, no droppy the chain.

    Dumb place to attack.
    Dumb shift
    Dumb whining.

    Was it ethical to atatck Contador with his back turned and in the pack?

    What are we supposed to put everyone on Fucking Computrainers and whoever generates the most wattage on that grade wins?

    It is unfortunate, and fucking bike racing. The people in the crowd that boo’ed were guess what??? FRENCH…which is right beside guess what??? Fucking Luxemburg….

  28. …thanks for the dumbass geography lesson…& spain is where ???…oh, that’s right, you’d know that, huh ???…

    “The people in the crowd that boo’ed were guess what??? FRENCH”…wow, astute, at least for the most part…heard a lotta foreigners spend a little time in france ’bout now…wonder if any of them were in that crowd ???…

    …i’d suggest that “what the people in the crowd were”, were people, whatever their nationality who enjoy good bicycle racing & that wasn’t good bicycle racing in the opinion of many – pundits & pro’s alike…

    …personally, if i see a good solid effort by a cyclist i don’t enjoy, i’ll give ’em props anyway…(done so this race) & by the same token, if i see one of my favorites pulling a stunt i don’t approve of, i’m not gonna condone it just ‘cuz they’re a favorite…(done so this race)

    …thor ‘smash’ hushovd’s whining about the stage neutralized by the riders themselves comes to mind…since he opened his mouth, i’ve enjoyed seeing him get beat…only wish he was 100% & i’d enjoy it more when it happened…

    …but that’s just how ‘i’ call it when they role…

  29. France is also right next to Spain…and being that they are now in the Pyrenees, I would almost expect a slight spanish lean.

    I would rather see someone taking some chance and attacking that watching the two eye each other up over another climb. Tend to agree that proper (historical) etiquette would have had AC and crew holding up a bit, but then it is bike racing and class is not always paramount.
    Maybe Saxo needs someone like Renshaw to go up and head butt the offenders into submission, or at least brake check them? like Renshaw would be there on a climb…