Suspicion & Armstrong go together like peanut butter & toast

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I read this on the Velonews comment section back in February and thought it was worth sharing… Hey, I’ve been busy!

From 1996 to 2005, which includes the seven years of Armstrong’s dominance and the three years before, there were 13 different cyclists who occupied the top three positions in the Tour de France. Excluding Armstrong, 10 of the 12 men occupying those exalted positions (83 percent) have been implicated, one way or another, in the use of illegal performance enhancing techniques. The three winners prior to Armstrong were all dopers. Bjarne Riis, the 1996 winner, has admitted that he had won his title using EPO. German Jan Ullrich, the 1997 winner and later four-time runner up (three times to Armstrong), had to retire after he was tied to Operation Puerto. 1998 Tour winner, Marco “the Pirate” Pantani, died of a drug overdose at age 34, a broken man who never really recovered after being disqualified from the 1999 Italian national tour for an unnaturally high red blood cell count.

With only one exception, every rider that Armstrong beat into second and third place during his seven year run has either admitted to doping, been sanctioned for doping, or been strongly implicated in the use of illegal techniques. Armstrong beat them all, sometimes by large margins. To use a baseball analogy, when Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa were besting each other to beat Roger Maris’ famous home-run record, baseball cognoscenti looked at the changes in their body types, their anomalous homerun production, and concluded something fishy was afoot. Then, when Barry Bonds blew past McGuire’s record, it was a near certainty that Bonds, too, was on the juice. Maybe Americans just know baseball better than they know cycling. See, for example, sportswriter Rick Reilly’s unabashed criticism of Bonds, contrasted with his seemingly blind and unquestioning worship at the altar of Armstrong.

But the most damning evidence, in my view, is Armstrong’s disgraceful ostracism of fellow cyclists (and anyone else) who try to speak out against cycling’s culture of doping. Armstrong has been one of the most stalwart practitioners of “omerta” — the code of silence that prevents cyclists from revealing what really happens within elite professional cycling teams. When young French rider Christophe Basson wrote columns during the 1999 Tour that discussed doping, Armstrong approached him during a stage and suggested he drop out, later publicly saying about Basson, “If he thinks cycling works like that, he’s wrong and he would be better off going home.” Basson was shunned by his fellow riders and ultimately abandoned the contest. Basson had been the only rider on the notorious Festina team not to be implicated in the 1998 Tour scandal when the car of a Festina team trainer was discovered to be carrying a veritable pharmacy full of illegal drugs. Of course, as Armstrong well knew, cycling did and does work “like that.”

Most distasteful of all was Armstrong’s chasing down of Italian rider Fillipo Simeoni during the 2004 edition of the Tour de France. In a late stage in the race, with Armstrong comfortably in the overall lead, a group of riders who did not threaten the overall title broke away from the pack. Among the riders trying to make the break was Simeoni, a former client/patient of Dr. Ferrari (Lance’s doctor of “EPO is no more dangerous than orange juice” fame). Simeoni had testified in 2003 about using EPO under Ferrari’s care and instructions. Armstrong in yellow, alone and without teammates, chased down Simeoni and the two joined the breakaway together. Armstrong approached Simeoni and told him to return to the pack. Under pressure from the other riders, Simeoni was forced to give up his chance at victory, returning to the pack escorted by Armstrong. Armstrong later made the sign of “zipping the lips,” and said he had been “protecting the interests of the peloton” by denying Simeoni the opportunity to win the stage. Armstrong explained that other professional riders thanked him for punishing Simeoni, because they “don’t want somebody within their sport destroying it.” Armstrong’s conduct prompted an obstruction of justice investigation by Italian authorities because of Simeoni’s status as a testifying witness against Ferrari. Lance’s explicit message was clearer than that of a knee-capping Mafia enforcer: “speak publicly about doping and you will never be successful in this sport.” Floyd Landis at the time thought what Armstrong did to Simeoni was idiotic, as he explained in his recent Kimmage interview.

Armstrong’s arrogance and public contempt and mistreatment of people trying to clean up cycling make him worse, in my eyes, than any of the other doper winners of the Tour. Throw in his public assaults, through his lawyers and press relations minions, on Betsey Andreau and his commercial retaliation against Greg Lemond, and his attacks on others who have the courage to publicly ask the kinds of questions that anyone with a brain would be asking, and you come to the conclusion that Armstrong’s public persona is a fabrication and he is deserving of not admiration, but contempt.

I, for one, am glad that the coat of armor Armstrong managed to construct around himself based on his status as a cancer survivor has finally developed some chinks. Retirement in disgrace could not have happened to a nicer guy.

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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

32 Replies to “Suspicion & Armstrong go together like peanut butter & toast”

  1. Pingback: Link roundup: October 6 | Tucson Velo

  2. I care. great post. now lest start the roast! because that cheating fucks bull shit is thicker than most. yeah bitch, like peanut butter and toast!

  3. 10/2 was the day that Cancer Jesus hatched from his egg. An egg laid by Capital Sports Entertainment and Bill Stapleton’s a$$. And on the 3rd day Cancer Jesus rose from the grave. And then he rested. Today is 10/6. On the 4th day he distributed yellow bands to all the gentiles to remind them that Cancer exists. It is on this day that Steve Jobs died from one of the most deadly forms of cancer. A cancer we would not know of had it not been for Cancer Jesus making us all aware of Cancer…..because of the global marketability of cancer…and yellow bands. Cancer Jesus is a great warrior and fought Cancer so no one would ever have to suffer from the disease ever again…by making us all aware…of the color yellow….and cancer. On the 5th day Cancer Jesus saw his shadow on his baby’s momma navel and crawled back into Bill Stapleton’s a$$ to hibernate from Novitsky’s EVIL attempts to promote Cancer.
    And so it was told…..thus it is true.

  4. jesus, this AGAIN? yes we all know he doped, yes he’s an a-hole, no he never got caught. let it go.

    how bout the same attention to young groms coming up, latest bmx vid, Judi’s basement, ANYTHING. it’s just so boring.

  5. i care. i’ll read it and stuff related to it again and again. thanks, jonny.

    my special areas of study are psychological trauma, development, emotional dysregulation, addiction, recovery, and so forth. lance is thus a fascinating person as he vividly illustrates many textbook principles.

    that lance doped is getting wider and wider acceptance among his former worshipers and people who didn’t give a crap one way or the other before. that’s not so compelling for me anymore. what i dig thinking about is: what’s this jaggoff going to do when he gets nailed?

    it’ll be an opportunity for him to show unprecedented (at least with him) honesty and courage – with a genuine confession and comprehensive explanation. he can demonstrate his capacity to learn, grow, mature, and just be a better human being if he offers up a coherent life narrative which links his early abandonment and being raised by a woman who is likely alcoholic with his lifelong moral impairment, inability to control his emotions internally, and to have healthy, stable relationships with other human beings.

    an early life like lance’s has all the required ingredients to cook up an miserable, angry, abusive, alcoholic sociopath. his motivations to cheat and lie and abuse others around him are quite understandable in light of his awful childhood. his past has him in a chokehold. for now.

  6. …as gianni suggested previously – armstrong needs an ‘exit strategy’ but he’s surrounded himself for so long with ‘yes-men’ that i doubt anyone within his inner circle has the intellectual capacity to devise one…

    …he can’t shop around for a public relations firm or ‘the secret’ would be out before the believers are ‘prepared’ so we’re prob’ly gonna get a long drawn out process which, of course just makes the whole thing ludicrous as more & more people fully believe he did dope…

    …if he never comes to terms with this publicly, he really does have a problem…

    …i’ll bet if paddy mccquaid told him he’d get to keep his precious ‘7 tour wins’ no matter the circumstances, he’d come around to admitting the truth that much faster…but then there’d be a backlash from other riders…

    …as they say in baseball – “there should be an asterisk (*) next to his name in the record books”…but then again, there should be one for a lotta these guys…

  7. He’ll skate like the rest of the thieves, crooks and shit-heels from Texas usually do. It bugs me, and it’s interesting, but I decided a long time ago that it was too coincidental to take up any more of my time.

    Except this post.

    And maybe the next one.


  8. Big Jonny, sadly, it doesn’t matter for the most part. sheeple will still crawl up his ass and that is really all he is after in life. for example:

    i don’t get it, but then again PED’s are honestly no big deal in the America in general apparently. Look at Arnold after all, and forget about the NFL. hell, the Competitive Cyclist just signed Mancebo and were proud of it. I hope your buddy Chad Beyer is not easily “influenced.”

  9. #2 sross Did you know half the people of Austin think Armstrong is an asshole. The other half haven’t met him yet.

    Reverend HUMPTY preaching the truth. Amen!

    Keep up the posts on Armstrong, big jonny.

    Juan Pelota is like Sarah Palin. Always a controversy. Two perfect role models for how not to behave.

  10. I long ago decided to channel my anti-Lance emotions into the only place I think will actually hurt him. His wallet. I refuse to buy anything from the Trek family of bicycles, Giro, Oakley, The Competitor Group or any other company that profits from his lies.

  11. IMHO L.A. has a big fat streak of evil in him. He tries to be the hero with his cancer support and in many ways he does a lot of good with that. But it is no excuse for his smearing and accusations. What hurts him the most is the savage, ugly, evil way he attacks people. You just can’t like him and as misfortune strikes him one can’t help but gloat just a little bit that he deserves it.

  12. Do I understand from this that his doping simply leveled the playing field?

    Here’s hoping you will be able to carry on when nothing happens to Lance.

  13. i never get tired of this line of topic. the masses must know. in order to get the word out, sometimes the choir must hear the sermon a few more times than the congregation. i’m ok with that. amen preacher.

  14. I wasn’t there when Lance Armstrong took all the dope when he won hos 7 TdF’s. And I suspect no one who reads this board, was there either. We have to form our opinion on what is given to us in the media, whether it is by personal observation or official report. We then have to judge the veracity of those reports. We have to also judge in what spirit those reports were given and to from the reliability of the information given from them.

    So I am really surprised that Lance Armstrong is truly an “Evil Genius”, a man who circumvented and outwitted the UCI, WADA, TDF and USDA drug controls for over 20 years. Doing such a feat is quite an achievement as…. well, winning 7 Tour de France’s.

    And wait, he has Super Powers!!. It’s obvious because he beat one of the most lethal diseases known to man. And he beat it with the help of super-scientists/doctors and with the help of super drugs as he was on his bike the very next day.

    Yeah, the “jury” is still out. We have an investigation that has turned up lots of innuendo and circumstantial evidence that are “proof” that he is an “Evil Genius/ Doping Master Mind”

    Of course, if you watch TV and “news” programs like Fox News, you will know it is sometimes a far easier to manufacture and distort facts, create a lot of innuendo, some from seemingly credible sources, than it is to reports what is really there, even if nothing is there.

    If you have been in this sport for over 40 years as I have, you will know that there comes a time when you have to decide on what is credible and what is not.

    Passing 20 years of drug testing is credible, accusations from those who have been caught doping or those who “think” he must be guilty, is not.

    The plain fact that with all the drug testing done in the last 10 years, that if you dope YOU WILL BE CAUGHT.. It is because as a PED user, you feel you cannot compete WITHOUT your dope. It is a fatal flaw that those who use will continue to use until caught.Yea they will find, in some cases, ways to circumvent, but they know sooner or later, they will be caught.

    On the other hand, there come a time when you are presented a chance to improve through doping “it’s fail safe” you are told. I was put in this situation in the 70’s when I was competing in France for a large amateur team. There was “always” a “soignuer” that had a pharmacy in his suitcase that you could “consult” when needed. “They are only vitamins” I was told when asked. Skeptical, I sent these “vitamins” back to a friend of mine who had them analyzes that they were in fact a combo of amphetamines and steroids and a masking agent. When confronted, the soigneur, told me “everybody” knew. Of course, they didn’t a few I told immediately stopped. Raymond Anquetil, the DS of the team, fired the soignuer when he heard. The soigneur took up residence with another team until he was found out and finally after a few years banned (and this was in the 70’s) As for me, A few shook my hand, a few castigated me. but I got more respect for my stance, and although I didn’t win many races, I did them clean and I knew I had gotten to a point that got me to think this is as good as I was going to be and going further, like into the pro’s, would be “this time 10” as someone told me.

    I had another year to go to get my degree in the US and a real job, with a lot more money awaited me, a rookie pro in Europe could look forward to about US $9000 a year. Hardly amount to suborn myself. But for many of the “working poor” in the rural areas of France, this was a way off the farm.

    But, in reporting the soignuer, I only acted on real evidence. I did not accuse any riders, BECAUSE I did not KNOW which were using and which were not, even though more that a few took “vitamins” from this guy. I did not tar everybody with the same brush, as it seems that rider, the press and many on this board are want to do.

    There were about 6 doping tests I had in France and Europe, out of around 40 races. And you were only urine tested for amphetamines, no blood tests for anything.

    Drug testing is becoming so rigorous, so comprehensive that now, we are sweeping up innocents into the net. The clembuterol fiasco is one. This drug is used in a lot of third world countries (and some in Europe) to improve livestock meat and can be detected after food tainted with the drug is ingested.

    Think this is far-fetched. Alexi Grewal just missed this trap when the poppy-seed muffin he ate showed up a morphine derivative prior to the 84 Olympics. He was declared innocent when tests really showed that ingesting poppy-seeds CAN result in a positive. These muffins were regularly served in the USOC Olympic Training center.

    The point to all of this is that we are being disingenuous as we have only circumstantial and colored with bias with this whole thing.Guilty without the facts. Credit HAS to be given to the fact that 20 years without a positive is a POWERFUL statement.

    Like Clint Eastwood once said” When you hang a man you better look at his face.”

  15. Tom – What about Bjarne Riis, Udo Bolts, Rolf Aldag, Eric Zabel, and others who admitted to doping but were never caught by tests?

  16. @Mikey, your reading comprehension is not so good. They are not welcoming cheaters as it seems you are portraying, nice try.

  17. …old skool tom…you, sir, are so emphatic in trying to make your case that you come across as an apologist for armstrong…

    …are you forgetting that its not we commentators who are making the accusations against armstrong ???…i’d venture that while the majority of us here on drunkcyclist are in accord with those accusations, they come in fact from riders who raced with armstrong, as members of his team…guys who sat in the intimacy of the team bus, in meetings & hotel rooms where doping was discussed & utilized…they partook of the same practices along side the man & then rode to help him achieve those 7 tour de france wins…

    …whether it involved complicity through the uci to market one of it’s biggest stars to help create a world wide stage or whether it involved well paid medical researchers who were better informed regarding the parameters of doping than the testers, the fact is as elsid states – a lotta guys who admitted to doping, never got caught & i’m willing to bet that mr armstrong & his close personal backers were willing to invest more finances into their ‘project’, ie: the ‘livestrong’ concept than even the uci could have conceived of…

    …was lance armstrong one of the best cyclists in the world, particularly within the framework of ‘le tour de france’ during his reign ???…i’d say unequivocably yes…you don’t achieve something of that magnitude without being extremely well versed in the fundamentals of the sport…the determination alone, considering the various incidents that might have slowed or stopped a lesser cyclist, is quite phenomenal…

    …i’ve said it a hundred times – “drugs will not turn a plow horse into a thoroughbred” but they will allow a thoroughbred to achieve a potential of a greater magnitude than one less ‘prepared’, quite literally…

    …anyway, beyond that…contador, clenbuterol & plasticizers speak for themselves…another thoroughbred who was schooled by the best…his undoing, whether he gets sanctioned or not, was a german laboratory that could define standards not thought possible by the status quo

    …please, don’t apologize any further…what’s obvious is obvious…

  18. …& just in case it’s not ‘obvious’, old skool tom, while i can still admire the racing accomplishments, i think armstrong was jacked for years…just like a majority of our sports ‘champions’

    …he’s just one of the guys who’s still lying about it…

  19. @YoRo— please enlighten us beyond a vague ad hominem remark.

    I cited three feature articles from a prominent cycling news site, two of which detailed the invitation of doping-sanctioned elite professional cyclists to the 2012 Olympics, and how every acronymed governing body in sight was having a big group hug about it. The third link details how the largest road race in North America in 2011 was run entirely without doping controls.

    How is this not “business as usual” in the doping trade? I mean, allowing for modern micro-titrating, masking and clever isotope matching? Are you suggesting there is no longer a problem, or that the dopers have simply gotten too good to catch? The floor is yours, sir.

  20. Mikey, maybe I should re-read it. The impression I got was they needed to re-work the technical details to be able to enforce it.

    As far as “business as usual” you are correct. If it is bad for business, promoters and sanctioning bodies on’t want to upset the balance. The truth about how hand in hand the cheaters are with the governing bodies will probably never be known but it is probably 100% (speculation).

    All I ask is not to be lied to. If they want to allow doping, just say so (and watch the sport die as sponsors, fans and parents get as far away as possible).

  21. @YoRo— I absolutely agree. It appears to me that the dopers are as or more sophisticated than the testers, which renders the entire anti-doping crusade a feel-good, goat roping exercise. Your last comment, presumably made at least somewhat sarcastically, has a nugget of common sense; my hunch is that an expertly micro-titrated athlete’s health is less at risk than the proverbial doped-to-the-gills raving lunatic.