New Doping Allegations Against Lance Armstrong

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has opened a formal action against Lance Armstrong for violating anti-doping rules from 1998 to the present. The notice is here.

The letter says Armstrong used blood transfusions from 2000 to 2005. It also alleges he used cortisone without medical authorization, and got plasma and saline transfusions.

Actions were also opened against the Team Director, two Team Doctors, a consulting doctor and a team trainer. The only rider named is Lance Armstrong.

In addition to testimony of fellow riders, the Agency says it has a urine sample showing EPO use taken in 2001 during the Tour de Switzerland. It says it has a witness who will say Armstrong told him/her it was covered up.[More...]

There'e one allegation from 2009-2010 but it sounds forensically weak -- a urine sample that "is consistent with" blood manipulations including EPO use and/or blood transfusions."

For drama, the letter contains an allegation that all of those named enforced a code of silence (Omerta) by instilling fear in others.

Armstrong is represented by Washington D.C. criminal defense lawyer Robert Luskin -- Luskin also represented Karl Rove in the Valerie Plame leak and coverup investigation. Rove was not charged.

Luskin calls the allegations "a vendetta." Armstrong's publicist issued a statement from Armstrong saying the action is an attempt to "dredge up discredited allegations dating back more than 16 years."

"I have never doped, and, unlike many of my accusers, I have competed as an endurance athlete for 25 years with no spike in performance, passed more than 500 drug tests and never failed one.".

"That USADA ignores this fundamental distinction and charges me instead of the admitted dopers says far more about USADA, its lack of fairness and this vendetta than it does about my guilt or innocence. Any fair consideration of these allegations has and will continue to vindicate me."

Armstrong was scheduled to compete in Ironman France in Nice on June 24. The action letter says the Triathalon agency has been sent a copy of the letter. The agency has now said he cannot compete because he is under an active investigation.

Are these the same old charges that have been floating around for years, that were the subject of the Los Angeles grand jury investigation that the Government dropped? Sure seems like it. It also sounds like the USDA is using the same cast of players.

Update: I don't know the first thing about the sport of cycling or any other sport, performance enhancing substances or Lance Armstrong. Since I don't follow sports, I'm not a fan of his or any athlete. My only bias is that of protecting the rights of those accused of wrongdoing. That said, I remembered tonight after writing this post that I had done some research on the case about a year ago. Here's some of what stood out to me then and stands out to me now:

This 2011 article on the lack of proof against Armstrong and this Washington Post column on the media's rush to judgment in the case.

And that one of the Sports Illustrated reporters who wrote particularly critical articles about Lance Armstrong, Selena Roberts, has a very controversial reporting history. (She left SI in February.) It seems she doesn't care much for fact-checking. For example, in this widely publicized slanted SI Article she and her co-author wrote that Armstrong was reportedly using some kind of experimental wonder drug called HemAssist that wasn't on the market. AP sports reporter John Leiceister did the legwork on the experimental drug that she should have done, tracking down the drug's makers, and did a creditable job of debunking that claim. What Leiceister did that Roberts apparently didn't: Fact-check.

Roberts, you may recall, before moving to S.I., was a New York Times reporter who continually backed the accuser and DA Mike Nifong and castigated the players in the Duke LaCrosse case (at the the beginning of the case and even after it imploded , ending disastrously for the false accuser and since-disbarred DA Mike Nifong. Of all the horrid reporting on that case, Roberts' writings have been singled out as the most atrocious." Nor has she ever apologized.

Do I know whether Lance Armstrong ever used banned performance enhancing substances? Of course I don't. That's not the point. The point is that whether it's Lance Armstrong, the Duke LaCrosse players or George Zimmerman, the American media pushes guilt because it sells.

Add to the Armstrong mix an obsessive investigator like Jeff Novitsky, who apparently believes he's the modern-day Elliot Ness and who, despite traveling the globe and dedicating years to bringing down Armstrong, couldn't even come up with enough ham for an Indictment, and a bunch of cooperators who first denied allegations regarding their own and Armstrong's use of performance enhancing substances, and then, when their necks were about to go on the chopping block, changed their tunes, sang for their supper and implicated Armstrong in exchange for sweetheart deals in their own cases, and the result is that the most basic and bedrock principles of our system of justice gets turned upside down: People either presume the allegations against Armstrong are true or expect him to prove they are not.

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    He has been investigated to the moon and back (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Angel on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 08:38:33 PM EST
    and they have never proven anything.  Leave the guy alone!  

    The accused, (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by lentinel on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 04:30:31 AM EST
    it seems to me, are often are punished before they have been sentenced or even tried.

    Armstrong was scheduled to compete in Ironman France in Nice on June 24. The action letter says the Triathalon agency has been sent a copy of the letter. The agency has now said he cannot compete because he is under an active investigation.

    Armstrong will not be able to compete merely because he has been accused.

    Others have to spend days in jail awaiting decisions about bail.

    And then there's Guantánamo
    And indefinite detention without charge or trial.

    And Bradley Manning...

    It has been ever thus, and sometimes the damage (none / 0) (#13)
    by Farmboy on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 09:28:55 AM EST
    lasts past the investigation/hearing. For example, if you ever want to destroy a teacher's career, just make a sexual abuse accusation. They'll never work in education again.

    I have to admit though that I don't see the equivalence between Armstrong and Manning. There is the issue of scope: Armstrong is being accused of breaking the rules for a sport. Manning is accused of breaking U.S. and military law.

    There's the question of actual evidence: none has been made publicly available against Armstrong; it's still just allegations that any evidence exists. As for Manning, whether you support or condemn his actions, there is no doubt that he took them. The transmission of the classified documents isn't in question.

    Then there's the issue of penalty: if Armstrong is found to have cheated, he may be stripped of his victories in some sporting events and shamed publicly. If Manning is found guilty of breaking the law, he could be incarcerated for life or even executed.

    But yeah, the punishment for allegations can sometimes be as bad as the punishment from a conviction.


    Manning, (none / 0) (#39)
    by lentinel on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 05:46:02 PM EST
    has not been found guilty of anything in a court of law.
    If he has been, please correct me.
    As far as I know, he has not been brought to trial.
    Yet he has been incarcerated. For quite awhile.

    Many, too many, prisoners at Guantamano have similarly been incarcerated for years without charge or trial.

    The practice of indefinite detention without charge or trial is still in full bloom. During this administration. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    Our president has even taken it upon himself to order the killing of an American citizen suspected of being a terrorist - or suspected of aiding their cause. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    It is true that the incident regarding Armstrong is relatively mild compared to these other cases. But the issue of punishment being meted out to people who have not been found guilty of a crime remains.

    I don't like it.
    It doesn't feel very American to me.
    But maybe it is as American as apple pie.
    And, maybe apple pie isn't American after all.


    At the risk of hijakcing the thread (none / 0) (#47)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 09:33:35 AM EST
    Manning has recently had pre-trial hearings where the judge refused to throw out 10 of the 22 counts against him.

    thanks, but please stay (none / 0) (#48)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 10:11:52 AM EST
    on topic of Lance Armstrong.

    Come On (none / 0) (#14)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 09:55:37 AM EST
    Not really the same as jail, not even close.

    He does one of these like every other week.  They don't want him competing in one event, hardly the equivalent of jail.  One is a punishment, one is precautionary.

    The re-accusation is far more corrosive and there should be some sort recourse for Lance.

    Who knows if he's taken something he shouldn't have, but really, how long are they going to keep trying to prove what they clearly can't.  They took their shot and missed, time to move on.

    Side note, I find it amazing that blood transfusions are A-OK considering they test blood.  But they are so let it go.


    Nominate for jumping the shark (none / 0) (#16)
    by Wile ECoyote on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 11:02:02 AM EST
    award of the day.

    Doping or Not, His Body is Not Natural (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by msaroff on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 10:51:31 AM EST
    Basically, you can divide professional bikers into two categories, big strong guys, and small wiry guys.

    Lance was the former until he got cancer, which wasted his body from the waist up, so he's now a hybrid, big and strong below the beltline, and skinny above it.

    Which means that he has the legs of Godzilla, but is carrying a lot less weight than his competitors of similar leg strength.

    It has also been shown (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 11:02:07 AM EST
    that his body, via genetics, can process oxygen flow much more efficiently than most people, so he has greater endurance than most people. (It's called a "VO2 max" (a measure of how much oxygen your body can process per body weight over time during exercise).  Armstrong has been tested at 85 ml/kg/min,a nd then consider that most elite athletes test in the 60-70 range.

    He has also been rumored to have a larger heart than most people.


    Meh (none / 0) (#22)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 01:40:54 PM EST
    That's really not true in terms of other cyclists.

    The science is pretty strongly against Armstrong.


    I didn't say it wasn't (none / 0) (#24)
    by jbindc on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 01:42:51 PM EST
    But he does have these physical advantages too.

    Personally - I think he DID dope - everyone does it.  And trying to recover from cancer - I would imagine he would try anything to get back to where he was.


    The Coyle study (none / 0) (#29)
    by DizzyMissL on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 04:08:00 PM EST
    has been disputed by many people.  Here is some info:



    correctamundo... (none / 0) (#2)
    by fishcamp on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 08:59:12 PM EST
    and the French hate him. I know him and I truly believe he did not do any of the $hit they accuse him of doing.  stop the claptrap.  

    Ironman CEO Statement (none / 0) (#3)
    by Raoul on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 09:18:51 PM EST
    World Triathlon Corporation (owners of Ironman) CEO Andrew Messick released the following statement: "WTC has been notified that USADA has initiated its Anti-Doping Review Board Process against Lance Armstrong to determine if there is sufficient evidence of doping during his cycling career to bring forward charges of a non-analytical nature. Our rules, as stated in the WTC Professional Athlete Agreement and Waiver, dictate an athlete is ineligible to compete during an open investigation.  Armstrong is therefore suspended from competing in WTC-owned and licensed races pending further review."

    Storng possibilty (none / 0) (#4)
    by CoralGables on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 09:23:44 PM EST
    he will be stripped of all his Tour de France titles and prevented from competing in the future. The ban, if it happens, would cover all sports that have signed on to the World Anti-Doping Code and includes the Iron Man which has already suspended him.

    He won't be able to compete (none / 0) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 10:17:13 PM EST
    provisional suspension.

    What the heck is the S/L on these (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 01:48:05 AM EST

    Normally 8 years (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 03:38:27 AM EST
    but apparently they can make exceptions. Sounds pretty arbitrary.

    No... (none / 0) (#20)
    by bmaz on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 01:03:17 PM EST
    ...It would appear they ARE making an exception to go after Armstrong for acts that occurred in 2004 and earlier.  And, for anybody who wondered why I was referring to Novitsky above, that linked article as to :"exceptions" demonstrates the tip of the iceberg I was musing about above.

    It is a pretty common idea (none / 0) (#23)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 01:41:59 PM EST
    Fraudulent concealment is subject to a time of discovery rule in civil cases at least.

    Oh, agreed completely (none / 0) (#31)
    by bmaz on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 04:09:30 PM EST
    This is certainly not a hard criminal SOL in the least. They both can and, apparently, have an established history in this regard.

    Guilt by Association (none / 0) (#18)
    by indy in sc on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 11:47:27 AM EST
    I do hope Lance Armstrong has not doped, now or in the past.  It is hard, however, to escape the fact that the sport has been notoriously rife with doping issues with various riders and the only person not doping is the person who won the big races even understanding that Lance has unique physical traits.

    I continue to believe he is innocent until proven guilty, but I can't help viewing him through the same lens through which I view Barry Bonds and his ilk.  Unfair, but that's how it is for me.

    I honestly don't see how you can compare (none / 0) (#19)
    by Angel on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 12:52:25 PM EST
    Lance Armstrong and Barry Bonds.  Lance Armstrong had a particular motivation to win and be the best - his cancer diagnosis and subsequent victory over that disease. I don't believe he would dope after his body had already been through the hell of cancer.  And besides that, cycling and baseball require different skills - baseball is about power whereas cycling is about endurance.  Lance has been tested more than any athlete in history and they still can't prove anything.

    They are easily compared (none / 0) (#32)
    by indy in sc on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 04:14:01 PM EST
    in my view.  Lance Armstrong obviously has a compelling story with his battle and triumph over cancer, but I don't think that makes him more motivated to be successful in his field than other athletes.  They all want to be at the top of their sports and some are willing to do things like use performance enhancing drugs to get there.  

    Any sport that requires strength, endurance and the ability to return from injury quickly is a sport that is susceptible to drug cheating.

    That doesn't mean Lance did anything wrong, but he's not inherently immune from suspicion.


    The reason they (none / 0) (#33)
    by DizzyMissL on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 04:14:38 PM EST
    often cannot prove anything via testing is because the scientists are constantly designing new drugs/combos that are undetectable with current testing methods.

    So you're saying he's been one step ahead of (none / 0) (#34)
    by Angel on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 04:17:38 PM EST
    the testing officials for 25 years, is that correct?  

    Yes, that is (none / 0) (#35)
    by DizzyMissL on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 04:22:06 PM EST
    the way they avoid discovery.

    Whatever. He's been tested, and tested, and (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Angel on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 04:32:41 PM EST
    tested for 25 years and they haven't proven one thing.  I would think if he were guilty of doping with something illegal he'd have been caught by now.  

    how could he be (none / 0) (#37)
    by DizzyMissL on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 04:35:22 PM EST
    caught if there were no tests?  How have all of these other folks avoided getting caught?

    Floyd Landis. Alberto Contador. (none / 0) (#38)
    by Angel on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 04:43:49 PM EST
    Both stripped of their Tour de France titles after being convicted of doping.  

    How many times were they (none / 0) (#40)
    by DizzyMissL on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 05:56:53 PM EST
    tested without being caught?

    You'll have to google that one to find out. (none / 0) (#41)
    by Angel on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 06:47:33 PM EST
    I don't know and I don't particularly care.   I do know they have not been tested as many times as Lance Armstrong has been tested.

    According to USADA (none / 0) (#42)
    by CoralGables on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 08:08:52 PM EST
    "more than 10 former Armstrong teammates and support personnel who will testify they saw the Tour champion use drugs or talk about using them."

    Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton are two of the (none / 0) (#43)
    by Angel on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 08:22:42 PM EST
    ten.  The others have not been named, to my knowledge.  Landis and Hamilton both have axes to grind with Armstrong.  I guess we'll just have to wait and see, but without evidence of a urine or blood sample showing illegal substances, then I find it hard to believe they will be able to accomplish their goal of making him the poster boy of doping.  

    I don't follow this sport, but (none / 0) (#44)
    by NYShooter on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 09:47:42 PM EST
    are we to believe that Armstrong is that much of an idiot that he talked so openly and freely about injesting illegal substances which he certainly knew could get him canned?

    I, at least got the notion that this is a cut throat business and that there's any number of competitors who would love nothing more than to knock Armstrong off his pedestal.

    What's up with the big mouths?


    It was a (none / 0) (#46)
    by DizzyMissL on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 10:32:54 PM EST
    rhetorical question.  And LA did test positive for PEDs in 2001.

    Respected persons in the field (none / 0) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 01:39:45 PM EST
    of anti doping science feel pretty strongly that Armstrong doped and now they have to lay out their evidence.

    I think Jeralyn is much too cavalier about the evidence that exists.

    With regard to the criminal investigation, the issue was whether Armstrong committed criminal fraud, not whether he doped.

    USADA is an anti doping agency.

    The reality is the criminal investigation was a stupid waste of resources.

    At least the USADA investigation is germane to the mission statement.

    For a better explanation of what this is about (none / 0) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 01:44:30 PM EST
    After reading the article, it seems that the most (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Farmboy on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 02:31:18 PM EST
    damning evidence they have against him is that they don't have any physical evidence against him. In other words, Armstrong bas been too successful for somebody who has passed 25 years of blood tests - he must have cheated. Somehow.

    As to the Andreu testimony, didn't a court already rule in favor of Armstrong regarding those allegations? And didn't that court award Armstrong a $7.5 million settlement?


    Well (none / 0) (#27)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 02:33:14 PM EST
    no, but I think discussion is often futile.

    According to an article at the WSJ about the 2010 (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Farmboy on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 02:54:26 PM EST

    Mr. Armstrong and Tailwind Sports, the company that operated the U.S. Postal Service cycling team for several years, sued SCA for payment. The case went to arbitration. SCA ultimately agreed to a $7.5 million settlement with Mr. Armstrong that included interest and attorney fees.

    The evidence against Armstrong in that case was, in part, the testimony of Andreu and his wife.


    But hey, if you don't want to discuss it that's fine. I just wanted to let you know what I'd found.


    Perjury and "fraud" trap yet again (none / 0) (#45)
    by diogenes on Thu Jun 14, 2012 at 10:04:52 PM EST
    If you can't find a real crime and you don't like someone, concoct a perjury trap (a la Bill Clinton, Scooter Libby, Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Shellie Zimmerman, etc)

    Two things about REALITY here (none / 0) (#49)
    by Dadler on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 10:52:59 AM EST
    First: Many riders who doped NEVER got caught either, which is axiomatic to the entire discussion.  The idea that EVERY rider who doped got caught is silly and naive.  The entire history of doping is athletes and docs staying AHEAD of testing advances.

    Second: it is simply established fact, at this point in time, that the entire sport of cyling has been doping for decades.  That is just the unpleasant reality.  Now, the idea Armstrong (who has been a nortorious bully and termper for a long time), who worked closely with one of the most corrupt doping docs in the world, won all those races but DIDN'T dope when almost everyong else was, well, if you want to cling to that, if it makes you feel better, go ahead, but it just isn't consistent with reality.

    Armstrong did nice things for cancer treatment, but he is just not credible on doping.  Also, Greg LeMond came back from getting blasted with a shotgun to win the tour, and he is just as inspiring a story, but he isn't for well known reasons.

    I meant to say that LeMond... (none / 0) (#50)
    by Dadler on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 10:54:38 AM EST
    ...doesn't find Armstrong an inspiring story for those well known reasons.  

    This stuff gets me (none / 0) (#51)
    by NYShooter on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 02:56:27 PM EST
    "it is simply established fact, at this point in time, that the entire sport of cycling has been doping for decades."
    Why in the world do they make rules for which there is no adequate oversight, or means of detection?

    You hear it over and over again. Whether it's financial shenanigans on Wall St, bribery, or perjury; "Oh, those things are "soo hard" to prove in court."

    If you can't prove'm, don't make'm.


    I agree-- (none / 0) (#52)
    by DizzyMissL on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 04:09:07 PM EST
    level the playing field--let them all dope. Or, have doping and non-doping leagues.

    We need to quit wasting taxpayer resources on this stuff.