Lance's Ban: The Essential Reports
Lance’s decision to give up his fight against the U.S. Anti-Doping Association (USADA) has spawned a flurry of news coverage—opinions that both support and tear down the (potentially former) seven-time Tour champ, accusations surrounding his doping guilt or innocence, opinions from cyclists, lawmakers, cancer advocates, and oh-so-much more. So what do you need to know to stay current? We’ve got the highlights:
- The day after Armstrong’s competition ban took effect, he hopped back on two wheels to compete in the Power of Four mountain bike race—where he promptly had his “butt kicked” by 16-year-old Keegan Swirbul. But luckily, “It’s not so much about racing anymore for me,” Lance said. “It’s more about staying fit and coming out here and enjoying one of the most beautiful parts of the world, on a beautiful day, on a very hard course.”
- Several new reports have surfaced detailing the behind-the-scenes happenings of Armstrong's alleged doping. One adviser to the French anti-doping agency, AFLD, told a French newspaper that Lance was always warned before drug tests—giving him as much as 20 minutes, enough time to cover his tracks with tactics such as swapping urine or thinning his blood. The same adviser also claimed that Armstrong had a large network of important people to help cover up his doping. Another report claims that a 2005 search of Lance’s hotel room was halted at the last minute, potentially saving Armstrong from doping discovery. And former teammate Tyler Hamilton told 60 Minutes not only that he saw Lance dope and that Armstrong helped Hamilton dope himself, but also that Lance failed a 2001 drug test that officials "took care of," effectively making it disappear from the record. Armstrong's attorneys have continued to deny all accusations.
- If Armstrong had come clean about his alleged drug history, he may have been able to hang onto five of his yellow jerseys, USADA CEO Travis Tygart told USA Today Sports, due to the traditional 8-year statute of limitations on persecuting dopers. Tygart added that the USADA is still willing to work with Lance. “Ultimately, from what we have seen in these types of cases, acknowledging the truth is the best way forward.”
- The competition ban on Lance doesn’t just cover cycling—it’s a blanket ban on all events under the USADA’s jurisdiction. That includes big ticket events in which Lance frequently participates, such as the New York City Marathon (Lance competed in 2006 and 2007), as the New York Daily News points out.
- While his Tour titles may be erased, Livestrong is still, well, living strong. Last Friday, when the USADA announced the consequences, the foundation received around 1,700 donations totaling $174,000. Comparatively, their typical daily contributions are around $3,000.
- And just for fun: The New York Times put together an infographic detailing every Tour de France top 10 finisher from 1998-2012 and called out each one who has had a drug-use run in. If you couldn't guess, as an alleged doper, Lance is in good company.
- Tyler Hamilton (the same one who spoke with 60 Minutes) wrote a book, "The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs." And now, the release date has been moved up two weeks, set for September 5. Will more surface about Lance inside? We'll soon find out.