Monday, September 26, 2011

Lance Armstrong Investigation: Money Trails and Ferraris

I apologize for being so slow to comment on this news but last week I was taken out of commission by a long-boarder who ran into me while riding my bike. I ended up with a broken arm, broken rib and broken bike frame, not to mention a lot of road rash and a concussion. I was unconscious for about ten minutes, or so they say. But, enough of the excuses. What do I make of this news about Lance and Michele Ferrari? Here is my take:
Here is a summary of what I've seen in the news on this:
  1. Michele Ferrari has been shown to have a company in Switzerland called "Health and Performance" which received a lot of money from cyclists over the years. (see this link)
  2. Several top cyclists (20-30), including Lance Armstrong, Denis Menchov, Michele Scarponi, Vladimir Gusev and Vladimir Karpets and others have allegedly been linked to Ferrari's operation through large sums of cash paid to this company even as recently as the final year Lance raced in the Tour de France. (see this link)
  3. An Italian news outlet is saying that Lance has been linked to Ferrari's company and that phone taps have also been used to collect evidence. (see this link)
  4. Money laundering is being alleged as part of the potential illegal acts involving Ferrari and cyclists such as Armstrong and Menchov. (see this link)
  5. Lance once said he cut off all interaction with Ferrari around 2006. Then, when it was shown they had interactions more recently including 2010, Lance said it was because they were friends. Now, Ferrari explains the interaction he has had with Lance by saying that his son is providing training advice to cyclists. Ferrari has said that Lance did send money to his son to get "coaching" from him. (see this link)
  6. Some people, such as Betsy Andreu, are wondering how stupid Lance thinks we are. (see this link)
  7. I am wondering if much of the world even cares if Lance thinks they are stupid.
My overall takeaway is that it sounds like the authorities in the U.S. and overseas are coming up with some hard evidence that will be hard for Lance to fight. I have said all along that if they can trace the cash going to doping products or money laundering, Lance will be in big trouble.

Assuming Lance is guilty of even a few of the many frauds he is being accused of such as his involvement in a cycling mafia, the money trail undoubtedly exists; the question is whether the investigators will work hard enough to find it. It sounds like Jeffrey Novitzky and those he is working with are making progress. This case will be slow to come to fruition. These things take time to get to the bottom of them. In the end, I won't be surprised if someday we hear about some compelling evidence that has been accumulated.

1 comment:

  1. Mark - sorry to read of your accident. I hope you heal quickly and are able to get back on the bike soon! I always enjoy your posts, especially those regarding cycling.