Jan 19, 2011

Uh-oh: Americans Accuse Lance Armstrong of Doping

There are fresh doping allegations against Lance Armstrong, this time from Sports Illustrated. In “The Case Against Lance Armstrong“, Selena Roberts and David Epstein, the pair who burned Alex Rodriguez, allege that Armstrong not only used EPO and other drugs but was the doping ringleader on his teams. (Here’s the 60-second summary.) Is anyone surprised? Doping is standard operating procedure in cycling. All integrity gets you is a scenic trip at the back of the pack.

I don’t care whether Armstrong doped or not. I always thought he was operating on a level playing field, so the wins are no less impressive. Still, I’m curious to see how this situation shakes out with Armstrong’s adoring public. For all the articles, books, and accusations by former teammates with axes to grind, the fans have never left his side. In fact, his support grows stronger with every allegation and failed test rumour. Why?

The easy answer is that he’s a cancer survivor who has been attacked relentlessly without evidence and still wins. But I think the real reason is that he’s a cancer survivor who has been attacked relentlessly without evidence by the French.

They’ve been on his case like flies on shit since his first Tour victory in 1999. Armstrong showed up to their greatest event three years removed from a terminal cancer diagnosis and all but walked across the finish line. And then he did it again. And again. And with every win, their cries grew louder, but few outside of cycling seemed to notice until 2003 when France refused to back the US in Iraq. While french fries were becoming freedom fries, Lance Armstrong was morphing from trivia question to national cause.

Suddenly, when Armstrong’s name came up in conversation, it wasn’t about him tying the number of consecutive Tour wins or his fight with cancer, it was about him beating the French. No one could wait for him to ride up the Champs-Elysees in triumph, sticking it to those effete cowards who needed the US to save it from the Nazis and then betrayed it in Iraq. They made Armstrong the target of a witch hunt for repeatedly winning the biggest race of their biggest passion in a canter. Fuck that country. Who needs France?

That sort of fervor helped Armstrong become an industry unto himself. His consecutive victories and cancer crusade factored in, of course, but when the French took on Armstrong, a nation responded and it has supported its champion unconditionally ever since.

So what happens now that Armstrong is accused by an American magazine instead of a French rag like L’Equipe or Le Monde? Nothing? Anything? There’s still no hard evidence. It’s the same speculation with some extra goodies (and knowing SI, super pictures) thrown in, but now that the xenophobia has been removed, I have a feeling many of his fans are going to explode into a cloud of smug disgust and then cry betrayed tears. Those idealistic fools should have seen it coming.


  • What it comes down to is if you really want to believe that a guy can be clean and beat an entire field of doped competitors 7 times in a row. I’ll give him once. I’ll even give him twice. But 7? Come on people.

  • why do the big reports always surface when a player is a step from retirement? armstrong is in his last race. where has this been? it didn’t take SI 5 years to dig up this info. i don’t doubt most of what they’re saying. there’s too much circumstantial evidence that says the guy’s a cheat. but waiting like this makes me think it’s all about selling copies and not really doing the story when it matters.

    • It’s because most mags haven’t the knackers to go after beloved figures in their prime. It’s easy to attack when their careers are all but done and they’re about to fade from the spotlight.

  • I wouldn’t have thought of this until you mentioned it but it’s definitely true. If nobody went at him and he was no more than a great cyclist with cancer, we’d all know know him as Lance Armstrong, Champion Cyclist. He wouldn’t be Lance Armstrong, Icon.

  • I thought it was a witch hunt for a long long time but in the last few years, it’s become pretty obvious that he skirts the rules just like everybody else. Anybody who still believes he’s the target of a worldwide vendetta or conspiracy is insane. If it’s true, there haven’t been more people come together to conspire against one guy since Lee Harvey Oswald.


  • He didn’t do it, he didn’t do it, he didn’t do it, he didn’t do it, he didn’t do it, he didn’t do it! LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA!

  • Once again, nothing earth shattering. Why can’t they move past Floyd Landis? They can’t get anybody with a shred of credibility?

    More importantly though, why is the US government wasting money on this bullshit? They wasted our $$ investigating MLB and now they’re up in Lance Armstrong’s ass? That’s cycling’s responsibility, not the government.

  • And now he’s crowing about being vindicated by the USADA’s investigations of SI’s claims, which won’t turn up anything because all of the evidence is circumstantial. I kind of hate SI for bringing all of this up when they can’t truly nail him for doping.

    • I don’t think it matters that they can’t nail him. What they’ve done is enough for the court of public opinion. He can deny it all day but at best he’s a guy who stacked his team with cheaters and did nothing to stop it. At worst, he’s a guy whose PED abuse probably caused his cancer and then he used more PEDs to turn it around and blow his sport away. Some people will always have their heads in the sand, but with all this circumstantial evidence, it is officially impossible for rational people to believe he accomplished all he has without unnatural help.

  • The focus shouldn’t be in catching cyclists whose days have past but in keeping the sport clean going forward. There’s never the right priorities about these things.


I am a jaded, sarcastic girl prone to unreasonable fits of rage. This site is my outlet. I am not classy, nice, or fair. It's best you know that up front.


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