FanDuel - WFBC

August 23, 2012

Greg LeMond smiles: As of today, he is the only US-born Tour de France winner. Lance Armstrong has been suspended for life and stripped of his titles.

posted by yerfatma to general at 10:19 PM - 38 comments

As I pointed out in an originally unrelated thread over on the other site a few days ago, this means that an actual majority of the top-ten finishers in the last 15 Tours de France have been sanctioned for or admitted doping.

posted by Etrigan at 11:10 PM on August 23

I might have misread some of the articles on this, but the USADA isn't necessarily the definitive word on this, correct? I guess I'm wondering if the ICU rejects the USADA's decision, can Armstrong's victories still be viewed as valid? Armstrong has said that the USADA is over-stepping their authority here, and apparently the ICU agrees, so why should Armstrong, the ICU, and anyone for that matter, accept the USADA's decision?

I have no clue if the guy did/n't dope (and to be honest I know very little about the sport); I'm just wondering if this ruling should really matter.

posted by brainofdtrain at 11:51 PM on August 23

If the USADA doesn't have authority to strip the titles from Armstrong, and the governing body of the sport (which does have the authority) doesn't acknowledge the USADA's request, then I don't really think he's been stripped of his titles.

It would be like if I created the International Hockey Authority, and ordered the IIHF to strip all the Olympic gold medals and World Ice Hockey Championship titles from the (former) USSR for using "professional players" in tournaments that were for amateurs only. If the IIHF (and the Olympics) doesn't believe I have the authority, what difference does it make what the IHA says?

posted by grum@work at 01:40 AM on August 24

I want to hear more about this International Hockey Authority organization that you founded.

posted by NoMich at 06:58 AM on August 24

The UCI is going to take this to ICAS, I'd imagine, because (as a number of Twitter wags have already noted) accepting USADA's authority here means going down the rabbit-hole in attempting to find a clean winner. This isn't the NCAA with a clear mandate to send results down the memory hole.

posted by etagloh at 07:48 AM on August 24

Travis Tygart: "It is a sad day for all of us who love sport and our athletic heroes. This is a heartbreaking example of how the win-at-all-costs culture of sport, if left unchecked, will overtake fair, safe and honest competition, but for clean athletes, it is a reassuring reminder that there is hope for future generations to compete on a level playing field without the use of performance enhancing drugs."

It's pretty funny how you can replace "win-at-all-costs culture of sport" with "win-at-all-costs culture of anti-doping", this still mostly holds up with the guilty until proven innocent process currently in place. Except for the reassuring reminder part.

posted by apoch at 08:16 AM on August 24

grum, I believe the USADA's thinking is that since it is signatory to the World Anti-Doping Code, administered by the World Anti-Doping Agency, it functions as the WADA's subsidiary agency in the U.S. Therefore, any decision it reaches is automatically a WADA decision as well unless overturned by that agency or the CAS.

posted by Etrigan at 09:33 AM on August 24

How can they strip all of his titles/his Olympic medal? Do they not need positive doping results from each of the years he competed to strip each title individually? It seems, I dunno, weird to have folks who've competed after a positive result who get to keep their results but for retroactive moves like this, they can strip across the board everything you've done.

posted by dfleming at 10:22 AM on August 24

Frankly, as a former bike racer, I really don't see the sense in pursuing alleged doping infractions that are over 10 years old. Does anyone really believe Jan Ulrich was clean in all the TdF that he finished second to Lance?

What bothers me is USADA, WADA, and others have transitioned from proving doping infractions conclusively prior to taking action (e.g. Landis) to looking a "trends in data" and drawing conclusions based on these in the absence of any clear doping test infraction (Lance). When several other organizations, including the DOJ, look at the evidence and say there's not enough here to charge Lance, and then USADA takes the same data and claims "conclusive proof", something looks wrong in checks and balances in this process.

I'm sure we haven't heard the last of this story, even though Lance claims to have dropped all opposition. I just wish cycling could turn page and focus on current and future riders, rather than continue to discuss events that happened 10+ years ago.

posted by BikeNut at 11:06 AM on August 24

Two things, BikeNut:
1) There's a big difference in penalties between the Feds vs. USADA. Therefore, the Feds supposedly needs an airtight case against a person before they can indict. USADA does not need to labor under the same set of rules in order to punish someone.
2) USADA needs a Pete Rose to show that they fucking mean it. Are MLB guys betting on games anymore? Maybe, but they at least know that it means a lifetime ban if they get caught and MLB fucking means it; just look at Pete Rose.

posted by NoMich at 11:45 AM on August 24

I think it will turn out to be a positive move for Lance. Even if the allegations are true, this country will forgive a celebrity anything nowadays (Fatty Arbuckle weeps), so I would expect the pro-Lance backlash to overwhelm the USADA in about two weeks.

posted by yerfatma at 11:45 AM on August 24

How does a US agency have jurisdiction to deal with potential rules violations in another country? This would be like the FBI arresting an alleged Egyptian terrorist in Italy. But. Oh right. We did that too. Us Americans are really f'ing arrogant, eh?

posted by billsaysthis at 11:54 AM on August 24

We're not the only ones who do that by a long shot, billsaysthis. The USADA is just the U.S. arm of the WADA, which relies on national bodies to enforce its rules. Like Interpol.

posted by Etrigan at 12:31 PM on August 24

I think it will turn out to be a positive move for Lance. Even if the allegations are true, this country will forgive a celebrity anything nowadays (Fatty Arbuckle weeps), so I would expect the pro-Lance backlash to overwhelm the USADA in about two weeks.

I agree.

I also think it is ridiculous to eliminate 7 Tour de France victories without a positive drug test. In a sport in which it seems pretty clear this is common practice, just how do you try to claim Lance Armstrong was not the best cyclist of all time? He won the Tour 7 times. Has anybody ever won this race who wasn't accused of doping? If so I would bet it was before there was adequate testing. Oh, thats right, there is no adequate testing. Cycling needs to move on.

Those French really must have hated the fact that an American won their precious race so many times.

posted by Atheist at 12:32 PM on August 24

The issue that stands out is while there isn't any tests that conclusively prove he doped, there do seem to be a lot of former teammates that are willing to say he did something wrong.

posted by grum@work at 01:39 PM on August 24

2) USADA needs a Pete Rose to show that they fucking mean it.

Meaning they mean a single case of someone who's proven guilty of a major violation, such that he should be barred for life? Claptrap. Whatever its hypothetically benevolent origins, USADA's single mission nowadays is to perpetuate its own existence and extend its own power by demonstrating its own usefulness, and it demonstrates its own usefulness through rounding up a neverending parade of "violators" to pillory based on "trends" and hearsay. And then, of course, cry crocodile tears over the "heartbreaking example" which proves how necessary WADA and its spawn are. What a great big steaming load of crap. Insofar as they ever had a legitimate purpose, they've long since departed from the integrity that surely has to be the most essential feature of any such regulatory authority.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 02:22 PM on August 24

If Lance Armstrong passed over 500 drug tests that was administered by WADA, I personally would be more interested in finding out why the drug test didn't work those 500 times than continue this witch hunt.

...there do seem to be a lot of former teammates that are willing to say he did something wrong.

Didn't those former teammates that are willing to say he did something wrong actually got caught doing something wrong?

posted by BornIcon at 02:26 PM on August 24

Greg LeMond smiles

So are a lot of current and past French race organizers and officials.

posted by NerfballPro at 02:41 PM on August 24

If Lance Armstrong passed over 500 drug tests that was administered by WADA, I personally would be more interested in finding out why the drug test didn't work those 500 times than continue this witch hunt.

I agree completely. They should be trying to fix whatever it is they were doing wrong.

Welcome back, BI.

posted by bperk at 02:49 PM on August 24

I think it will turn out to be a positive move for Lance.

I think what he's done will be taken as an admission of guilt by the casual public and media. People don't typically give up without a fight when the entirety of their reputation is on the line. It's not like the battle was detracting from his cycling career.

posted by rcade at 02:50 PM on August 24

Welcome back, BI.

Thanks BP! It's good to be back!

People don't typically give up without a fight when the entirety of their reputation is on the line.

We all know how well that turned out for Roger Clemens. People still believe he's guilty even though he took it the next level to prove his innocence and won.

It's a damned if you do/damned if you don't scenerio.

posted by BornIcon at 03:01 PM on August 24

It's a damned if you do/damned if you don't scenerio

I don't think the casual fan thought Lance Armstrong was guilty before he threw in the towel.

posted by rcade at 03:06 PM on August 24

...he threw in the towel

I think he just got tired of having to defend himself over and over again.

When was it ever going to stop?

posted by BornIcon at 03:11 PM on August 24

Didn't those former teammates that are willing to say he did something wrong actually got caught doing something wrong?

And...?

Isn't this the Canseco-argument?

"I did something wrong, and now I'm telling you about other people who did something wrong, because I have first hand knowledge of them doing something wrong."

Why is this kind of testimony considered gospel only for baseball witch hunts?

posted by grum@work at 03:16 PM on August 24

And...?

And they got caught with their hand in the cookie jar by the same WADA drug test that Lance was taking.

Now I don't know if he did or didn't take PED's, I only know that he was one of the most tested athletes ever and always tested negative.

posted by BornIcon at 03:22 PM on August 24

I think what he's done will be taken as an admission of guilt by the casual public and media

If it were just a spat with other cyclists, maybe, but when it's A Single Man versus both bureaucracy and the French, I think US fans will love him.

I personally would be more interested in finding out why the drug test didn't work those 500 times than continue this witch hunt.

A thousand times this. Well, maybe five hundred.

posted by yerfatma at 03:24 PM on August 24

I personally would be more interested in finding out why the drug test didn't work those 500 times than continue this witch hunt.

Because the test regime has always lagged behind the doping regime; in the past, it's taken things like the arrest of the Festina soigneur carrying a bag full of PEDs through customs, or the Operation Puerto raid, to expose systematic doping.

Those French really must have hated the fact that an American won their precious race so many times.

USADA is run by the French now? That's a new one. You can point out a fuckload of hypocrisy on the French side -- Virenque's continued status as a national treasure despite being a self-admitted doper being a good example -- but this is all about the US authorities wanting a confession from Armstrong and making do with his decision not to contest the charges.

posted by etagloh at 03:25 PM on August 24

I don't think the casual fan thought Lance Armstrong was guilty before he threw in the towel.

Lance Armstrong lets down single person who still believed in him.

posted by tron7 at 03:58 PM on August 24

How does a US agency have jurisdiction to deal with potential rules violations in another country?

They don't. How a US agency thinks it can strip an athlete of titles it doesn't preside over is pure arrogance.

Not saying I don't agree with the outcome here, just the process.

posted by cixelsyd at 04:13 PM on August 24

... I think US fans will love him.

How does quitting the effort to prove his innocence makes him more lovable?

posted by rcade at 05:39 PM on August 24

How does quitting the effort to prove his innocence makes him more lovable?

Some people appreciate the "fuck you, this is a witch hunt and I won't be part of it" way he's gone about it. I mean, does anyone thing the USADA with all of their public rhetoric was ever going to find him completely innocent?

posted by dfleming at 07:58 PM on August 24

How does quitting the effort to prove his innocence makes him more lovable?

I think the judge questioning the USADA's motives publicly will at least enable all who still want to believe in Lance to do so. To me I find it a bit hard to believe that Lance is literally a genius who outsmarted multiple huge bureaucracies with huge payrolls for over a decade, and all that could be brought against him was circumstantial evidence and testimony. Even granting his wealth and celebrity, the lack of hard evidence (considering who he was up against) is disconcerting to me, and even though he really might have pulled the wool over everyone's eyes, until something concrete can be offered I can't go there.

More on point though rcade, what if the USADA was literally trying to bleed him dry financially? Lance can't win a financial arms race against USADA, and they know that.

I mean, if you're Lance and you know that continuing to fight means you keep losing money, which could effect your foundation, don't you have a responsibility to say "public perception be damned, I can't let that happen?" To me, that's a scenario that makes him even more lovable. Granted, most casual fans won't think about it that much, but for his fans, that might seem reasonable enough.

Obviously, at the end of the day this likely only confirms whatever opinion one previously held. My point with the above scenario is that, for those who trusted Lance, there are ways to perceive this as a courageous and moral act, so now Lance deserves even higher praise.

posted by brainofdtrain at 08:53 PM on August 24

I can only speak about this from the perspective of an extremely casual fan, because I don't follow the sport and didn't follow it much in Armstrong's heyday.

My gut take on Armstrong's announcement is that it must mean he's guilty. I presumed he was innocent prior to this. It just doesn't look good from a PR standpoint for him to give up.

posted by rcade at 09:19 PM on August 24

I wonder how the USADA would fare against Armstrong in a court of law. With rules of evidence, discovery of material, and cross-examination of accusers and witnesses available, it wouldn't at all surprise me to have Armstrong, like Clemens, come out with a favorable verdict. The trouble is that Congress, in its wisdom, has granted USADA the right to enforce anti-doping rules. Thus, Armstrong cannot complain of a lack of due process, since he participates in a sport and USADA has the power to oversee same. Still, I think I'd pay to watch a trial like Armstrong vs USADA.

posted by Howard_T at 09:53 PM on August 24

My gut take on Armstrong's announcement is that it must mean he's guilty. I presumed he was innocent prior to this. It just doesn't look good from a PR standpoint for him to give up.

But you're not really an "extremely casual fan". You've been here for many discussions in which the highly flawed and agenda-driven nature of USADA/WADA's so-called "process" has been discussed. And you still credit their allegations, without question? Because that's what your statement implies.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:57 AM on August 25

A Fatty Arbuckle reference? Amazing.

posted by fabulon7 at 09:10 PM on August 27

But you're not really an "extremely casual fan". You've been here for many discussions ...

I've been here, but you overestimate my level of involvement in cycling and Armstrong stories. I've never watched an entire day of the Tour de France. Doping stories are a drag. It's hard enough to follow one in a sport you like.

posted by rcade at 10:00 PM on August 27

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