Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lance Armstrong Investigation: What Is Novitzky Up To?

The Novitzky prosecution team has been hush hush for some time now but a few bits of information of what they are up to came out today.

First, we learned that Stephanie McIlvain is expected to testify to the Grand Jury. McIlvain is the Oakley rep who was in the hospital room when Frankie and Betsy Andreu say they heard Lance admit to his doctor that he used EPO and other doping agents. I already expected that McIlvain would be asked to testify but the NY Times article also gave some information about the recorded conversation between McIlvain and Greg LeMond. The article says that "LeMond asks McIlvain if she would tell the truth about what she heard in the hospital room if a lawsuit between LeMond and Armstrong ever arose" and McIlvain said:
“I’m not going to lie,” ... “You know I was in that room. I heard it.”
She later adds: “If I lie, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself. You know because, I, too, know quite a bit ’cause Lance and I were close, you know. But I definitely won’t lie about that because it’s public knowledge. A lot of people know about it, you know.”
McIlvain is also heard on the tape speaking about the power Armstrong had over the people who worked with him and for him.
"For someone to have that much influence on people is scary,” she said, adding: “Well, the whole thing of it is, Greg, is there is so many people protecting him that it is just sickening, you know.”
She goes on to say that the part of Armstrong’s story that makes her the maddest is “how many people he has given false hope to.”
The article also says that "Kathy LeMond, Greg’s wife, said she is surprised McIlvain has not been charged with perjury. 'I think what she said is pivotal in this case because it shows what people will do for Lance, how far they will go to protect him,' she said."

I wouldn't be surprised if McIlvain is eventually charged with perjury. However, my guess is that Novitzky may offer a plea to her if she cooperates. She's probably thinking seriously about the mess she is in at this point...

In addition to McIlvain cooperating, the AP reported today that the head of the French anti-doping agency will cooperate with Novitzky and give him Lance's "B" samples from the 1999 Tour de France. These are the samples that were reported to show EPO in them when the medical community came up with a urine test for EPO. (Click here for a post on Dr. Michael Ashenden's opinion on these tests when he said he has no doubt that Lance used EPO in 1999.) I wasn't expecting them to test this urine again but maybe Novitzky will take this approach. Afterall, we know that when Lance was planning to return to the Tour, officials offered to retest these samples but Lance said thanks but no thanks.

Well, if you're reading this and wondering how the investigation is affecting Lance, you may be happy to know that, according to the website, there is a new website dedicated to letting Armstrong fans voice their support for Lance as he fights the doping allegations. They reported some of the support he is getting on the website. My favorite is allegedly from Hein Verbruggen who was head of the UCI from 1991 to 2005. Supposedly Hein wrote:
“Lance my dear friend. Just wanted you to know that I am here and will support you until the very end, or until Floyd's story is corroborated – whichever comes first. Long live the king!”
I wonder how much comfort Lance is getting from this, even if the author isn't Hein!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that is a piece of information I didn't know existed. Armstrong not only had people around him protecting him, but he had people around him who could market his training techniques in such a way that even if he tested positive (Hemotcrit Level over 50, which was the standard for the time) no one would believe it. He would have pointed to his portable Altitude tent and even if he failed a blood or urine test as they became more advanced, he would've pointed to the team of doctors and experts surrounding him, and said, "How could I possibly dope, I have five doctors with me every day."

    But, his patterns, are the patterns that were later followed by all the other dopers that have been caught (Kaschenkin, Vinokourov, Schumacher, etc.)...especially the high profile dopers. He would go to remote places for very long training camps, where testers were less likely to arrive unannounced. He would go months at times with almost no racing, in order to again dodge tests. He greatly reduced his season...again to diminish the chances of being tested...even if he was the most tested athlete ever. But who cares if the tests happened from August to January when he was just logging base miles.

    Just as genious, he marketed his unique physical characteristics...his VO2 max, his low lactate levels at threshold, his recovery time, etc. etc. This was all marketing so that we would believe the miracle in my opinion. It is the same marketing they did for Michael Phelps when he won all his golds in the last Olympics. He breaks a record against the greatest competition in the world and we are supposed to all believe he is clean? Not even the doped East Germans, Russians, or Chinese during the cold war could pull off such a remarkable feet as Michael Phelps did....and we are to believe Phelps was just special? Or that his wing span was longer then everyone elses on the blocks next to him?

    It is all rubbish...every single one of those swimmers, just like every single cyclist that finished on the podium in the Tour next to Armstrong were freeks of nature. Armstrong himself admitted every year that Ullrich was the better and more gifted athlete. Ullrich just didn't have the most gifted doctors around him....