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Old 08-04-10, 07:50 PM   #1
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NY Times: Other riders now corroborating Landis's stories about Lance

Just posted (Wednesday evening, August 4) at NY Times.com:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/05/sp...armstrong.html

"Federal prosecutors have intensified their criminal investigation of the cyclist Lance Armstrong since the end of the Tour de France last month. They questioned many of his former associates, including cyclists who have supported and detailed claims that Armstrong and his former United States Postal Service team participated in systematic doping, according to a cyclist who has been interviewed and two others privy to the inquiry."

Looks like this will be Page 1 of the NY Times tomorrow, according to a footnote printed online:
A version of this article appeared in print on August 5, 2010, on page A1 of the New York edition.

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Old 08-04-10, 08:46 PM   #2
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uh-oh.
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Old 08-04-10, 08:56 PM   #3
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This unnamed rider would have to be American (else why bother even talking to American officials?), and the only US Postal one that comes to mind is ... Hincapie. I sure hope not.
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Old 08-04-10, 09:00 PM   #4
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This unnamed rider would have to be American (else why bother even talking to American officials?), and the only US Postal one that comes to mind is ... Hincapie. I sure hope not.
There are names that come much more immediately to mind than Hincapie.
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Old 08-04-10, 09:06 PM   #5
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I admire Lance as much as anybody, but I won't be surprised if this turns out to be true. A neighbor of mine is a sports agent, a former major college quarterback who went to law school and represents several big-name athletes, primarily in the NFL but also some NBA players. He claims that at the top level, drug use is universal. The rewards are so great and the difference between making it and falling a tiny fraction short is so small that "nobody can resist the pressure. It's the difference between making $5 million a year and looking for a job selling insurance."
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Old 08-04-10, 09:11 PM   #6
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Not surprising. But again, can they really do anything with a bunch of he-said, she-said testimony?

Can we first clear the air on this thread: Armstrong doped. Probably a lot of different methods, techniques and substances. But the question remains - what evidence do they have that will do anything aside from drag Lance and the sport in the mud. If they can find the evidence (correspondence, money trail, etc...), please go forward and expose Lance (who has been a fraud - and I would have respected more had he not tried to suck all of the oxygen in the room, and marketed Lance over cycling). In addition, I would have respected him more had he not tried to be more than a cyclist, especially since he doped. Serious cycling fans, we know the game they must play, but to market himself to the unsuspecting and gullible public....sad.

But if this is not going to lead to any conclusion (Barry Bonds is still free folks), then I am starting to feel this is going to be a bad outcome for all. Look - nothing makes me happier than the idea of finally, destroying the fantasy world so many Lance fanboys live in. But if this results in enough plausible deniability, then we are back where we belong, albeit a more tarnished spor

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Old 08-04-10, 09:26 PM   #7
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This unnamed rider would have to be American (else why bother even talking to American officials?), and the only US Postal one that comes to mind is ... Hincapie. I sure hope not.
Lepheimer? He was just implicated for blood doping today by his former manager from the Gerolsteiner.
Zabriskie - his current manager has made overtures that any rider on his team should come forward.
Hamilton...he is coaching middle-aged women to rider centuries. Need I say more.
Hincapie - of all the riders, this is the guy who most intrigues me. He not only has his years of riding with Lance, he has his business as well, which, due to the name, could take a marketing and business results hit from this situation.
Frankie Andreu - while he made up in time for Versus interviews, federal investigations...not so sure.

Name any other Postal rider and I would suspect the Feds have entertained talking to them.
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Old 08-04-10, 09:30 PM   #8
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Is this really the best use of tax payer money right now?
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Old 08-04-10, 09:39 PM   #9
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Can we first clear the air on this thread: Armstrong doped.
Ok thank you Mr. Genius.
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Old 08-04-10, 09:40 PM   #10
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Is this really the best use of tax payer money right now?
That stupid Justice Department, doin' it's job. Prosecutin' cases. What's up with that? How could American tax payers possibly benefit from the investigation of possible defrauding of the US government (and therefore, um, tax payers) by a sports company? I don't think the government should be in the business of collecting damages from said crimes, nor attempting to deter future acts of fraud! I demand my money back!
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Old 08-04-10, 09:41 PM   #11
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I admire Lance as much as anybody, but I won't be surprised if this turns out to be true. A neighbor of mine is a sports agent, a former major college quarterback who went to law school and represents several big-name athletes, primarily in the NFL but also some NBA players. He claims that at the top level, drug use is universal. The rewards are so great and the difference between making it and falling a tiny fraction short is so small that "nobody can resist the pressure. It's the difference between making $5 million a year and looking for a job selling insurance."
And this is why I cannot fault them for doping, especially when the testing is so weak. However - there is a fine line between succeeding while cheating and not then taking it a step further P.R. (i.e - keep a low profile), and what Lance did.
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Old 08-04-10, 09:44 PM   #12
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Ok thank you Mr. Genius.
Dude - if there was not a population of Lance Fan Boys, this would not necessary. But I wanted to clarify my personal position about what happened, versus my concern about the process going forward.
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Old 08-04-10, 09:47 PM   #13
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It's hard to downplay him having had a rockstar girlfriend who has a bit of a drug history.
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Old 08-04-10, 09:52 PM   #14
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It's hard to downplay him having had a rockstar girlfriend who has a bit of a drug history.
First of all, recreational drugs and performance enhancing drugs are two completely separate animals. Secondly, Sheryl Crow, from what I've read, doesn't have much of a drug use history besides smoking a little weed.
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Old 08-04-10, 09:59 PM   #15
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First of all, recreational drugs and performance enhancing drugs are two completely separate animals. Secondly, Sheryl Crow, from what I've read, doesn't have much of a drug use history besides smoking a little weed.
I second this. I imagine the other poster is such a teetotaler that a little recreational drug use is scandalous.
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Old 08-04-10, 10:05 PM   #16
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I guess I don't see the reason at this point in time. All it will do is make cycling's image more tarnished.

Its like if Usain Bolt is doping. Many people know who he is and it brings attention to Track and Field. The more attention to Track, the more money that sponsors give out to athletes.
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Old 08-04-10, 10:13 PM   #17
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Lepheimer? He was just implicated for blood doping today by his former manager from the Gerolsteiner.
Zabriskie - his current manager has made overtures that any rider on his team should come forward.
Hamilton...he is coaching middle-aged women to rider centuries. Need I say more.
Hincapie - of all the riders, this is the guy who most intrigues me. He not only has his years of riding with Lance, he has his business as well, which, due to the name, could take a marketing and business results hit from this situation.
Frankie Andreu - while he made up in time for Versus interviews, federal investigations...not so sure.

Name any other Postal rider and I would suspect the Feds have entertained talking to them.
Excellent points, and I did forget about DZ & Bottle. Landis and Andreu, meh, they've got well-publicized anti-Lance axes to grind, and Hamilton's got no more credibility than Landis. One of the reasons I don't think (hope?) it will be Hincapie is his lack of big wins, although he was indeed riding for Postal when he won that TdF mountain stage in 2005. It seems to me he never climbed well after that.
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Old 08-04-10, 10:15 PM   #18
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This is mostly a witch hunt, I'm sure they'll find some skeletons in his closet.

It doesn't make sense because the sport, any sport, won't ever be clean. If you're gonna compete you'll be faced with competitors who will take banned performance enhancing solutions and beat you.

Next up: Lance Armstrong made us all dope.

Just because you take a steroid or blood transfusion doesn't mean you won't be working hard as you would without one - it's not exactly a free ticket to the podium.
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Old 08-04-10, 10:27 PM   #19
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This is mostly a witch hunt, I'm sure they'll find some skeletons in his closet.

It doesn't make sense because the sport, any sport, won't ever be clean. If you're gonna compete you'll be faced with competitors who will take banned performance enhancing solutions and beat you.

Next up: Lance Armstrong made us all dope.

Just because you take a steroid or blood transfusion doesn't mean you won't be working hard as you would without one - it's not exactly a free ticket to the podium.
I agree with one point - how many times a month is some football player caught using PED's, and no-one says a thing. I think cycling is so much like baseball (an individual sport wrapped around a team premise), and stats (power to weight vs. batting average), that it gets hurt more by these allegations.
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Old 08-04-10, 10:41 PM   #20
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The comment from Armstrong's lawyer stood out to me:
Quote:
To the extent that there’s anyone besides Floyd Landis saying things, the bottom line is, if you take away the soap opera and look at the scientific evidence, there is nothing.
Evidently we need to add "Cast doubt on the validity of any possible positive test results" to the list of Armstrong's strategies, joining "Talk up Landis as an admitted liar and cheat", along with the tried and true, "The French are jealous and bitter I won their race too many times", the media or "that guy" David Walsh) are out to get me, it's just a "witch hunt" or "circus", LeMond is a bitter old man, etc.

We see a shift away from the "Most tested athlete ever" strategy. (Florence Griffith "Flo-Jo" Joyner never tested postive either...anyone out there believe she never used PED's?).

By now, forceful denials from Armstrong don't necessarily count for much...Marion Jones and Rafael Palmeiro gave particularly forceful denials too.

The interesting thing is that there is perhaps now a more critical mass of people with knowledge willing to (or feeling forced to) speak. Up until now, Armstrong has counted on his secret being kept...those who knew anything were either too close to him (his wife), guilty of similar things themselves (teammates, other riders), too invested in his success(his sponsors, the cycling world in general), afraid of being tarred or blacklisted if they said anything (see what happened to LeMond, the Andrieus), or wrapped up in the iconic cancer survivor image (fans).

Landis had already been booted out of the sport so had more to gain than lose by speaking out. LeMond has certainly taken a lot of abuse for his comments over the years; he may have been motivated by self interest, but most of what he has said may very well all be true too.
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Old 08-04-10, 11:29 PM   #21
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"Novitzky...is trying to determine if Armstrong, his teammates, the owners or managers of his former team conspired to defraud their sponsors by doping to improve their performance and win more money and prizes."

How were the sponsors defrauded? I could see that happening if an athlete loses intentionally and collects on bets against her or himself. I'd like to know how acting to increase the chance to "win more money and prizes" defrauds a sponsor.
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Old 08-04-10, 11:33 PM   #22
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"Novitzky...is trying to determine if Armstrong, his teammates, the owners or managers of his former team conspired to defraud their sponsors by doping to improve their performance and win more money and prizes."

How were the sponsors defrauded? I could see that happening if an athlete loses intentionally and collects on bets against her or himself. I'd like to know how acting to increase the chance to "win more money and prizes" defrauds a sponsor.
Really, is this a serious question?

Sponsors want to be associated with winners, but only winners who "play fair" by the rules of the sport that they are in. No big brand wants to give money to a team that wins but then is subsequently found to have cheated. Lots of sponsors of pro cycling teams have this in their contracts now. It's the same thing that most pro athletes now have "morals clauses" in their sponsorship deals. So an athlete gets in drugs/money/PEDS/gambling/marriage problems, his sponsors have a pre-arranged right to withdraw their sponsorship money.

The fraud occurs when someone violates the sponsorship contract, and then denies it. Or hides money spent to perpetuate the fraud; lies about it; induces others to lie about it, etc.

Whether you think Lance is guilty or not -- or whether you even think this particular investigation is worth pursuing -- you ought to understand why sponsors don't want to be associated with teams or athletes who "cheat" to win.

That's why this whole topic is so damaging to the whole sport. Does anyone think Trek is happy about being dragged into this? (recall that they have been asked to produce documents related the alleged sale of bikes to pay for doping). Do you think that this increases or decreases Trek's willingness to spend money sponsoring race teams going forward?
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Old 08-05-10, 12:08 AM   #23
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So if they drag Armstrong down, then what about the other teams during that period. Will the Europeans reclaim all the TdF titles? Educate me on this please.

This sucks!
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Old 08-05-10, 12:14 AM   #24
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So if they drag Armstrong down, then what about the other teams during that period. Will the Europeans reclaim all the TdF titles? Educate me on this please.
Ummmm, you do know the record of the "other teams" during this period, don't you?

If not, read this series of articles; it's in four parts:

Part 1:

http://le-grimpeur.net/blog/archives/73

Part 3 is interesting:

http://le-grimpeur.net/blog/archives/99

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Old 08-05-10, 12:17 AM   #25
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BengeBoy wrote:

"Sponsors want to be associated with winners, but only winners who "play fair" by the rules of the sport that they are in. No big brand wants to give money to a team that wins but then is subsequently found to have cheated."

A good point. But then, the people in charge of the companies that are sponsors of people like Lance Armstrong knew - just as you did - that people like Lance Armstrong doped. These sponsors were more than happy to turn a blind eye to situation, and keep on with their sponsorships, even as rider after rider after rider was caught doping or admitted to having doped.

Admittedly, I dropped out of law school after just one semester, but it doesn't take a Philadelphia lawyer to figure out that the only people who are going to feel defrauded out of something are U.S. attorneys, should they ever bring a prosecution and lose.

While sponsors (who could just as well be called investors) might be saddened to learn that the potential gravy train is over when it's discovered that an athlete doped, don't imagine they feel defrauded. No, the sponsors feel enriched.

Sponsors invest in an athlete to earn a return. Therefore, the CEO of Nike won't thump his forehead, shout out "Doh! I was SO stupid" and sue Lance Armstrong, if he's ever found guilty of a crime, demanding his company's money back, anymore than the sponsors of Tiger Woods have felt cheated because Woods cheated on his wife.

Frankly, Nike didn't care if Armstrong used steroids, EPO, or black magic to win bike races. Nike and the other sponsors only cared that he win his races....and didn't get caught doping. Therefore, while the sponsors are sick that the gravy train might be over, they are not sick that Lance Armstrong doped. It's not the doping that bothers sponsors, it's that the law is sticking its nose in a place the sponsors don't want it. They'd like to chop off that nose.

And that is why the sponsors of Lance Armstrong were not defrauded. They got exactly what they wanted, a good return on their investment, even as they knew the risks involved.

As for Trek, the company has admitted having suspicions about the inappropriate sale of their bikes. Is Trek sorry NOW? You bet. Was Trek worried enough BEFORE to drop its sponsorship? Absolutely not. Trek admitted it knew what was happening with its bikes, but it turned a blind eye.

So Trek didn't feel defrauded BEFORE an investigation began, even though it was aware of shenanigans. Trek was very happy with the arrangement. It's only NOW that Trek is worried, but not about the return on their investment. They ARE worried because it's been revealed that higher-ups in the company had some direct knowledge of what was going on.

If Lance were to be convicted of something, Nike and Trek, etc., aren't going to come out with commercials apologizing for their association with him, anymore than Tiger Woods' sponsors have released mea culpas for erroneously believing in the integrity of the world's number one golfer.

To sum up: sponsors knew what they were getting into, and in the case of Armstrong, have made huge returns on their investment that cannot be negated by anything that happens in the future. That is why no fraud took place.

However, if Armstrong had consistently been a poor performer after garnering contracts from sponsors like Nike and Trek, and had those sponsors learned that Armstrong was earning less "monies and prizes" because he hadn't been doping, THEN those sponsors would believe they had been defrauded.
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