Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Will Lance's Confession be Anticlimactic?

I've been thinking that saying Lance's confession will be anticlimactic will be a major understatement. I had decided that I won't even try to watch it come out live because it seems like a waste of time. However, yesterday, the NY Times published an article suggesting that Lance Armstrong's confession may be interesting in that it could involve testifying against many top-level officials in cycling such as Hein Verbruggen and Pat McQuaid of the UCI and Lance's former partner at Tailwind Sports, Thom Weisel. Here are some key excerpts from the Times article:

Acknowledging his doping past has cleared the way for Armstrong to take the next step in trying to mitigate his lifetime ban from Olympic sports. He is planning to testify against several powerful people in the sport of cycling who knew about his doping and possibly facilitated it, said several people with knowledge of the situation.
Armstrong, 41, is planning to testify against officials from the International Cycling Union, the worldwide governing body of cycling, about their involvement with doping in cycling, but he will not testify against other riders, according to the people familiar with his plans.
He is also in discussions with the United States Department of Justice to possibly testify in a federal whistle-blower case. That case involves the cycling team sponsored by the United States Postal Service, and Armstrong would testify against several of the team’s owners, including the investment banker Thom Weisel, and other officials, one person close to the situation said. That person did not want his name published because the case is still open.
Floyd Landis, one of Armstrong’s former teammates, filed the whistle-blower case in 2010 against Armstrong and other principals of the Postal Service team on which he and Armstrong competed together for several years. Landis claimed the team defrauded the government because its riders used performance-enhancing drugs in violation of its sponsorship contract.
Now Armstrong and possibly his longtime agent, Bill Stapleton, are seeking to repay several millions of dollars of the more than $30 million the Postal Service spent sponsoring the team, as part of their cooperation as witnesses in the case, said the person with knowledge of the matter. (CBS News first reported Armstrong was in talks to return money to the Postal Service.) The Department of Justice is considering whether to join the case as a plaintiff and is close to making that decision, the person said.
Armstrong, who for more than a decade vehemently denied doping, would be willing to testify against the cycling union officials and his former team’s officials because he badly wants to compete in triathlons and running events again. Last fall, he was barred from many of those events because they are sanctioned by organizations that follow the World Anti-Doping Code, the rules under which he is serving his lifetime ban. Armstrong said that lifetime ban was unfair.
So why will Lance come out against these people now? Anyone who knows Lances knows that the general answer to that question is that he believes he will get something out of it. It seems that he is willing to step on anyone he needs to in order to get where he wants to go. In this case, the following quote from the NY Times article reveals a likely motive:
(Lance) met with United States Anti-Doping Agency officials...last month to discuss what he needed to do to mitigate his ban. Several people with knowledge of the discussions said Tygart would be willing to reduce Armstrong’s punishment if Armstrong would testify against the people who helped him dope. That would possibly include Pat McQuaid, the president of the cycling union, and Hein Verbruggen, who was the cycling union’s president from 1991 to 2005, a time when doping in the sport was rampant.
I guess we'll have to wait until Thursday to see what Lance did tell Oprah. Importantly, David Howman from WADA made a key point when he told the NY Times that "he would not believe that Armstrong would testify in other cases to help clean up the sport until it happens."


  1. Amazing/ baffling to see his rationalization/ justification. Too bad people cave into their own bad logic. Minute 11:50 on this youtube says it all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=co0vv0roMlQ

    1. Russell, the video was taken down because of copyright issues. What was on it?

    2. It had the moment when Lance was explaining that he really didn't have that complicated of a doping system, just some EPO, transfusions, and testosterone - which he said he felt justified taking because of his cancer.