So Lance Armstrong has said he will not contest charges bought by the United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA), whilst it’s some resolution to the matter it unfortunately doesn’t draw a line under it.
I’ve read Armstrong’s statement and to say it is a highly partisan piece is a understatement. Arguments within the statement are flawed in many aspects. He skirts around or fails to even address a number of issues and in legal terms you can pick holes in a number of things he is saying.
For example, he talks about being charged for offences dating back over 17 years ago which is outside the 8 year limitation set by the USADA itself, but he only retired 2 years ago and won his last TDF 7 years ago. He also questions the legality of the process claiming the USADA doesn’t have jurisdiction on the case on the very same week he lost a legal case on that very matter when a US Judge ruled USADA does have jurisdiction on the matter.
Having said that he hasn’t actually failed a test but there must be some compelling evidence taht the USADA has gathered which Armstrong is now refusing to answer.
There’s also another twist in this whole story; the International Cycling Union (UCI) originally concluded that USADA did have jurisdiction on the case only to change their mind and halt the investigation and take it in house, all this amid allegations that the UCI themselves covered up a failed drug test by Armstrong.
This all comes on the back of what I thought was an interesting article by Jonathan Vaughters in the NYT last week.
Vaughters is a compatriot of Armstrong’s as well as a former colleague on the US Postal team who admits to doping whilst a professional in the article and claims that is why he quit racing.
In truth I would not be surprised at all had Armstrong doped during his time as a professional cyclist, whilst he is clearly an extraordinary athlete he was riding at a time when it’s widely accepted that doping was common. Whilst winning the 2005 Armstrong averaged a speed of 41.66kmh (a TDF record), this year Bradley Wiggins won with an average speed of 39.83kmh so Arsmtrong’s time was over 4% faster which is a consederable amount.
Either way, it’s all a bt of a bad situation all round, cycling continues to be tarnished by doping allegations, there continues to be uncertainty over whether Armstrong doped or not and the case will continue to rumble on.