Keeping Score

Why USADA’s Case Against Lance Armstrong Is Compelling

Armstrong's former teammates testify against him, making a compelling case that he doped

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Lucas Jackson / Reuters

Lance Armstrong, takes part in a special session regarding cancer in the developing world in New York in this Sept. 22, 2010 file photo. Lance Armstrong and his team ran the most sophisticated doping programme in sport according to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USDA).

Do you believe Lance now?

For anyone who still thinks Lance Armstrong won his seven Tour de France titles, and inspired so many people around the world, as a drug-free athlete — which Armstrong has long claimed — Wednesday was rough. The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) released the evidence it has compiled against Armstrong, and it’s overwhelming: 11 of Armstrong’s teammates testified that the cycling legend, as well as his fellow riders for the US Postal Service (USPS) squad, ran what USADA labeled “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program the sport has ever seen.” What’s worse, the USPS team received “tens of millions of American taxpayer dollars in funding.”

(MORE: Which Drugs Are Lance Armstrong Accused of Taking?)

Former Armstrong teammate George Hincapie, his top lieutenant during his Tour de France run, was the most damning witness. Armstrong has called Hincapie, a close friend, his “best bro in the peloton.” Hincapie admitted to USADA that he doped, and implicated Armstrong in the process. According to USADA’s report outlining its case against Armstrong, for example:

In 2003 shortly before the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong asked to use George Hincapie’s Girona [Spain] apartment to do something Armstrong could not do at his own apartment because Armstrong had house guests at the time. Hincapie observed Dr. del Moral [Luis Garcia del Moral, a team doctor] and Armstrong enter Hincapie’s bedroom with Dr. del Moral carrying what appeared to be a blood bag.

Dr. del Moral asked to borrow a coat hanger and Armstrong and del Moral closed the door behind them. They were in the room about 45 minutes to an hour, which Hincapie knew from experience was “about the time it generally takes to re-infuse a bag of blood.” Hincapie also knew from experience that “when blood is re-infused a common practice is to tape the blood bag to a coat hanger and hang the hanger on the wall to facilitate transfer of the blood into the vein.” Thus, although he did not discuss the incident with Armstrong or Dr. del Moral, based on his observations, which were informed by his own experience, Hincapie was confident that Dr. del Moral was re-infusing blood for Armstrong, as Dr. del Moral had followed a similar procedure when re-infusing Hincapie’s blood on prior occasions. Hincapie was confident that Armstrong continued to use blood doping in 2003.

Hincapie also noted that after he once warned Armstrong that drug testers were at a race in Spain, Armstrong dropped out. Witnesses recounted roadside meetings in Italy between Armstrong and Mr. Michele Ferrari, who USADA banned in June because of his role in the doping scandal. During the 1999 Tour de France , according to the report, USPS relied on a guy dubbed “Motoman” to smuggle drugs on a motorcycle. Ex-Armstrong teammate Tyler Hamilton testified that he saw Armstrong using the “oil,” which was a “mixture of olive oil and Andriol (testosterone) developed by Dr. Ferrari,” at least once during the 1999 Tour de France, and that Armstrong “squirted the “oil” in Hamilton’s mouth after a stage of the race.

(MORE: Lance Armstrong’s Fall From Grace Tests Livestrong’s Strength)

And on it goes, testimony about Armstrong’s doping in each of the seven years he won the Tour de France, between 1999 and 2005, and during his post-retirement comeback  later in the decade. The report also states that old Armstrong blood samples show strong indications of performance-enhancing drug use. “The evidence also includes direct documentary evidence including financial payments, emails, scientific data and laboratory test results that further prove the use, possession and distribution of performance enhancing drugs by Lance Armstrong,” Travis Tygart, head of USADA, said in a statement.

In August, Armstrong announced that he would not fight USADA’s charges against him, which many people read as a tacit acknowledgement of guilt. One of Armstrong’s lawyers, Tim Herman, called the report a “one-sided hatchet job” and “government-funded witch hunt,” while another, Sean Breen, described it as 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.”

For much of the public, these details will pretty much close the book on Armstrong’s Tour de France career: Armstrong, like so many of his competitors, doped. Many people will want to move on, and don’t be surprised if the Livestrong foundation, the greatest legacy of the Lance Armstrong myth, survives, and maybe continues to thrive. People likely won’t take out their disappointment with Armstrong on cancer research.

(LIST: Top 10 Tour de France Moments)

There’s just one more question, really, for Lance –if you now believe he cheated. Why lie about it all these years? In a grueling competition like the Tour de France, in a sport filled with dopers, using stuff like testosterone and EPO is almost understandable. And America forgives users who come clean. Armstrong’s failure to see that is a mystery.

MORE: Lance Armstrong: How To Talk To Your Kids About Cheating

96 comments
CharlesRady
CharlesRady

ridiculous. America has plenty of real problems. Who is paying these IDIOTS to run around trying to catch past offenses that DON'T matter! The fools that are so proud of themselves right now at the American Anti Doping Association should realize that FRANCE is NOT in America! FOOLS! Thank you for wasting more of my time.

matthewu
matthewu

In a sport where probably 90% if not 100% of the athletes dope, who cares!  If they were to give the winning to the runner up (which the will not do) in the TDF, they too would be cheaters.  If you are going to go after Lance, you have to go after all the dopers.  If that were to happen, there would be no cycling.

MahfuzMunir-Khan
MahfuzMunir-Khan

his team mates are jealous grassers- i hate a grass, snitching is just wrong wrong wrong!! if they were all doping then what's the issue? why take his jerseys away? it's a stupid witch hunt based on no evidence, and the USADA shouldn't have jurisdiction to take anything away. also, i'm sure it wasn't taxpayers dollars as USPS is a service provider that charges fees. it may not be privatised but it isn't taxpayers dollars, even a nationalised company is just like others and benefitted from the marketing he gave them all them years. how many people went with them instead of DHL due to lance? probably many, just like all the people benefitting from his cancer fund 

WitnessesRnotEvidence
WitnessesRnotEvidence

Witnesses can lie. Anti-doping tests do not lie. Lance Armstrong is a cheater in the eyes of this proven cheaters. 

Anti-doping tests - ALL of them Lance was never proven to have doped. 

Realeffinggenius
Realeffinggenius

Armstrong could never admit it even if he wanted to.  He keeps silent for the sake of Livestrong.  As long as he never admits it, and the allegations remain in fact unproven, big sponsors can continue to support him and his organization.  The minute he would become an admitted doper, that corporate support would have to disappear.  It's as simple as that.

Gaylealstrom
Gaylealstrom

I remember Armstrong in the Olympics in Melbourne where he didn't do good at all in the cycling race.  I figure now that was because he couldn't take anything because of the rigorous testing at the Olympics.

Ravenjimmyzn
Ravenjimmyzn

my objective view

1. all evidence is circumstantial and no "murder weapon"

2. All were doping during during that era.

3. if you ban lance and pull his title away them go back in history and ban indurain, lemond etc.

4. in the race where ben johnson broke the world record, most iof the athletes in that final had banned or used banned substances.

5. you cannot win TDFs on just banned substances, hard work and talent and dedication must have played a role and a bit of divine intervention

conclcusion: usada should drop this case or back back in hostory and ban all athletes based on testimonies of jealous runner ups, etc.

Cathy Wright
Cathy Wright

I have read the report and any reasonable person who does can only come to 1 conclusion. But the very fact that Lance Armstrong did not ' stay strong' and fight for his name and reputation I think says it all. The bottom line is he cheated, he doped, he has lied about it for years, but we are now all expected to forget about all that, because what his name done so much for Cancer Awareness, forgetting that he personally makes $7.5m + a year being the Face of this orgnaization. What on earth is this telling our children and all future atheletes.

Beltonpenpal
Beltonpenpal

Lance is the only clean cyclist in accordance to what he has stated.  What others have written about in the affidavits of other team mates and Emma O’Reilly.  It's really sad that the Lawyers went after people to keep them from telling the truth and yet all along they were telling the truth.  Lance and the Lawyers- I speculate lawsuits will be coming.  Your pockets are deep, but lets see how deep.  I'd like to see you bancrupt and having to sell everything and then some. 

Beltonpenpal
Beltonpenpal

Jayman419 I know it's hard for you to believe and accept.  I was a Cat3 racer here in Texas and in 2000 I said the things that Lance is doing just isn't possible.  If it looks to good to be true then it is.  When you have removal of blood and replacing it with a saline solution so that test time your blood is diluted and the results pass you have still proven yourself to be guilty.   I got emotional as one part of me was justified for 12 yrs professing Lances inability to come clean and the proof is out and one hand I am angry not @ him, but the other 50 people that could have should have and didn't do a single morally correct thing about it.  The UCI from the top of the governing body down to the spouses need to clean up the sport.

Maxshoesbulkbk
Maxshoesbulkbk

In a grueling competition like the Tour de France, in a sport filled with dopers, using stuff like testosterone and EPO is almost understandable. And America forgives users who come clean. Armstrong’s failure to see that is a mystery.Recommended a comprehensive trade website http://www.shoesmallshop.com/ sports and life"!

jabberwolf
jabberwolf

The whole thing is BS and the media shoud be ashamed that they dont present facts but a rumor mill of a report that has a good list of disgruntled cyclers.

The USADA tries to lay blame on how Armstrong must have avoided all the tests that proved he had nothing in his system: it must be a conspiracy.

I cant wait to finally read an article that analyzed the report to show it for what it is: CRAP.

But no reporter these days seems to have a backbone of their own, its too difficult and they are simply too lazy. READ THE REPORT. ITS COMPLETE HEARSAY AND GUESSING BY DISGRUNTLED EX CYCLERS THAT WERE CUT FROM THE TEAM.

J.j. Lasne
J.j. Lasne

Not sure this is not a conspiracy.

Mike
Mike

The contention that Lance was never caught by  blood test is exactly the USADA's point.  The entire team as well as other teams were sophisticated enough to avoid getting caught with the actual drugs (EPO, Andriol) in their blood.  The IV use of microdosing EPO is not detectable.  The testosterone is gone overnight.  Using banked frozen red blood cells was widespread and allowed for less use of EPO.  Just enough EPO when getting autologous transfusions to stimulate reticulocytes so that a CBC would look "normal."  In Tyler Hamilton's book he relates how he was caught by having had these transfusions and either  didn't get EPO or not sufficiently so the subsequent blood test indicated a recent transfusion.  The fact they had hematocrits of 45-49 is the tangible evidence of the acts.  To contend that LA was clean must also support either a conspiracy of other teammates.  To suggest that LA could beat other dopers pan y agua is not realistic, and is why everyone at the top level doped.  

Aimhigh4once
Aimhigh4once

this is a load of bullshit.  Not one test came back positive. NOT ONE.  Enough already.  Stop wasting my time and money on this crap.  I will never believe that Lance doped until he says it himself.  This article is slanted and not neutral.  The 202 page report is nothing that the government hasn't said before.  All in all I am wondering who did Lance piss off at the USADA that "they" have such a hard on for him.

Alex Valbuena
Alex Valbuena

Youre right Alvin, countries were cycling is very popular has a "wholesome" image of the cycling..... Like I said, i love the sport (and Lance) but theres no way he was clean beating top riders (who are now banned for doping!!!) 7 times.

Jake262
Jake262

So let me get this straight... Federal prosecutors spent two years trying to make the conspiracy and misuse of government funds case against Armstrong. Presumably because there wasn't enough substantiated evidence they drop the case. USADA picks it up and within a year proves all of the allegations the government couldn't. I'm sure no corners were cut and all lab analysis followed the correct chain of custody rules - right? Do I THINK Armstrong doped - yes. But USADAs methods are suspect.

Alvin K. Johnson
Alvin K. Johnson

if they're nt physically harming anybody and r only trying to enhancing performance, why is it such a big deal? we hv phelps with a bong in one corner n a 16 year old girl that swims like a man in another, maybe its time they legalize doping in sports. all this dopin speculation is getting old,i mean, wats a little 5 hour energy wen ur trying to get sme work done.

Alex Valbuena
Alex Valbuena

His team mate back then Tyler Hamilton was stronger than him but USPS wanted lance to take it

Alex Valbuena
Alex Valbuena

Team mates he dropped like they were nothing after he won.... They covered for him so he can win... He hogged the glory.... They were all doping

Alvin K. Johnson
Alvin K. Johnson

with teammates like those,who needs enemies?.lol,the man beat cancer, let it go.hw abt they legalize steroids in sports already.i cnt wait for future athletes dunking from the 3 point line.lol

Will
Will

Andrew, Eddy Merckx tested positive 3 times in his career.

Alex Valbuena
Alex Valbuena

I'll join mr olympia bodybuilding competition without juice, I have a chance winning against juiced athletes i guess

Alex Valbuena
Alex Valbuena

Carrie, then he should return his money winnings then and keep the awards!!

Carrie Paps
Carrie Paps

Blah blah blah. He is out of the sport. How about making the sure the NEW riders are clean and leave the old guys alone?? Geezz he had cancer! Isn't that enough punishment?

theSuperStar
theSuperStar

The fastest man in the world in any sport is not clean. 

Alex Valbuena
Alex Valbuena

Laia, im a big fan of Lance but in not naive that its a dirty sport... How can you explain him beating [confessed] juiced riders for 7 years while clean??

VA_Mom
VA_Mom

But Armstrong's foundation no longer does research and hasn't for several years.  It has become a money scheme, which is sadder than the doping, IMO.

Laia Tena-Girones
Laia Tena-Girones

It is very very sad that Armstrong had that type of teammates. Nothing has been proven. Pointing a finger at someone, and accusing him of something is a shame. Who needs enemies, when your teammates/friends will do their best to ruin you.

Lizwag
Lizwag

Back off the witch- hunt and leave Armstrong alone. What good will it do to drag this man through the dirt and bring him down? The USADA had their chances to check him out when he was competing. He tested clean!!!!!! many times!!!!. It's over! May he continue his fund-raising and good work..

Alex Valbuena
Alex Valbuena

Riders he supposedly beat are banned or suspended... Its hard to believe that a clean rider could beat juiced up riders 7 times!!

eamus_catuli
eamus_catuli

One quick correction about this article:

Livestrong does not contribute to cancer research.  Those who donate to Livestrong should know that their money is NOT going to cancer research.

Alex Valbuena
Alex Valbuena

Youre a naive if you think top riders including him dont blood dope.... Pro cycling has more drugs than pro wrestling and MMA

Eileen Miller
Eileen Miller

Maybe his friends were jealous of him cause he won???

John Low
John Low

So if I have a kid and hes on anti-depressants and he passes an exam or wins a game,does that mean he's doping?

Lar3.14ry
Lar3.14ry

Doesn't anyone work for a living? Does the USADA do anything but justify their own existence? If Armstrong and all of his teammates were doping, not to mention everyone else in the Tour, who is going to be declared the winner, and will the USADA investigate them also with such fervor?

This is a pointless witch hunt and an incredible waste of time and money, presumably by some who have lots of time and nothing better to do and have been given an incredible amount of money and no valuable task to devote it to. Starting with the USADA and followed by all of the inane reporting and useless opinionated comments, I wonder whether anyone has a useful job to do or is plagued by their own worthless existence.

Tom
Tom

Why Armstrong won't come clean:  MONEY!  He has received bonuses for his tour wins.  He received a $15M bonus for winning Tour #5.  The money was issued by SCA Promotions and others.  He'll be sued for millions over admitting fraudulent wins.  If he keeps his mouth shut, they'll have a hell of a time proving it - he's got good lawyers.  I doubt we'll hear any confession, and over time, we'll truly see what type of person he is.

Andrew
Andrew

Lance Armstrong was the greatest doper ever. Eddy Merckx, by the way, the greatest cyclist ever, period.

Guest
Guest

When I heard the techniques used by this doping ring it forever tarnished what little respect I had for "professional" sports. But we can't really call it that anymore if people are going to use blood transfusions and hotel rooms to escape detection. That's pretty much it. Look how long Armstrong evaded detection. In fact it took the 26 members of his team to bring him down. Guess they were feeling the pressure to come clean. Or were paid to talk. It's a dark day in sports to me anyway. One I will nevet forget.

Gregoryramonowski
Gregoryramonowski

From where did these millions of tax dollars come from to fund the team? Do they mean from the United States Postal Service? The USPS does not get its revenue from any tax dollars; it generates its revenue solely from the products they sell.

ethelles
ethelles

Was he really hoping to get away with this forever? This guy must be delusional and deserves being stripped off of all his titles. This investigation will serve as a great caution for all athletes and those training professionally. Armstrong was an exceptional cyclist but after all his hard work and commitment was wasted as now he will always be remembered as a cheat and doper.  

jayman419
jayman419

So we have to believe that Armstrong was the ringleader and promoter of an international doping conspiracy that was so powerful he was able to pass more than 500 drug tests during his career, and it enabled his entire team to cheat the system as well. That he chose the doctors, lawyers, and teammates and that not a single one ever stood up to him, never told him no, never tried to blow the whistle.

Or we have to accept that a handful of guys who were caught up in their own troubles tried to throw Armstrong under the bus.

The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.

Ripley4
Ripley4

 Um, investigating and adjudicating doping cases in sports like cycling is part of what USADA does.  Whose time and money was "wasted?" Certainly not yours. The winner of those Tours is irrelevant. They can leave those years blank.

jabberwolf
jabberwolf

The hack TIME reporter forgot to mention that :George Hincapie, Tom Danielson, Levi Leipheimer, Christian Vande Velde, and David Zabriskie all would have received at least two-year sanctions had they not helped USADA with its case.

This case is so weak - its a joke to call it compelling. Sean there is nothing compelling about the report or your ability to be a reporter.

Walker
Walker

The USPS hasn't posted a profit since they delivered mail by ponies. So yes....tax dollars were used.

Hispy99
Hispy99

oh, and does the Postal Service make a profit?  Who funds the deficits/losses the Postal Service declares every year?

Celtski
Celtski

Good stuff i dont care how he won, those Tours are the best, all of you need to get a woman. Beat that shit up Lance! USA USA USA!!!

Toni
Toni

Jayman, I think you are the only other intelligent poster on here.

prdx2222
prdx2222

 Jayman, you are so off the mark it is not funny. Clearly you have been drinking the yellow Kool-Aid for a long time.

Read the report and supporting evidence, then take of your yellow LIEstrong band and chuck it out. It's the only thing a reasonable person would do.

Basso
Basso

 Read the decision before making a further idiot of yourself. There were no 500+ tests and most of the other admitted teammate dopers also passed the all their drug tests due to the system they employed. Over a dozen former teammates and associates blew the whistle. You my friend, are a dupe.

En1gma57
En1gma57

I have followed everything about this case. And nomatter how you look at it, it has alot of holes.

Look at the Tour de Swiss, Lance didnt race that race the year they claim he tested positive. Odd they cant get a year right.

While not every wittness has been caught doping at 1 point. All have said they did. Making the USADA's unquestionable wittnesses about as credibe as my garbage man.

CycoCycle
CycoCycle

Basso one failed test in 1999. That the UCI said was not handled right! The rest is just he say. Physical evidence! I could say you hit me in my face with a stick then took my bike. Where is the black eye, and or bloody nose? I could get a number of people to say you did this but did you?

If lance did go to CAS no way he or anyone can win. The three man board is hand is brought in by the USADA. And on top of all that The team for Lance could not cross examined the so called witness.

The media and USADA just said the sky is falling- you belive them?

jabberwolf
jabberwolf

BASO we have, I have read the report and decision.

Its exaclty disgruntled ex cyclers trying to recall things they never saw and only guessed at. Almost all the testifiers were cut from the team = disgruntled. This is a joke of a report if thats what they want to call proof. And the emails - look at what they say. Again hearsay.

Donna C. Ruiz
Donna C. Ruiz

@7853b5d896ef36066e40afc67c2e61e7:disqus The Armstrong PR campaign has made a very good job convincing everyone of the contrary. Im making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do,..NDOQESB.Tk

Tom
Tom

This jealousy charge is so tired.  Nobody is jealous of Armstrong.  Broken marriages, relationships, always having skeptics questioning - I doubt anyone wants that.  Not to mention he comes off as an a**.  

LiveStrong is a completely different thing.

If I robbed banks for 7 years and amassed a fortune - then started a great foundation, would I be such a hero, free of my ill-gotten gains? OR, would I be accountable for risking the lives and careers of others?  If you believe Lance is great, you've absolved him of quite a bit of wrong doing.