Are you sick of Lance Armstrong yet? We sure are. But at the same time, we’re fascinated. The trainwreck that is Armstrong, the USADA, the UCI and the world of professional cycling is so full of the stuff that good stories are made of—the kingpin leader, drugs, coercion, conspiracy, deceit, the cover up, the relentless investigators who won’t be dissuaded from finding the truth—that it’s impossible to tear yourself away from the unfolding story.
But if you're too sick of it all to sift through the coverage, here are the quick-hit, essential reports since the USADA released its statement. And don't worry—we'll continue to update as more information becomes available. (Ed note: all bold in quotations added.)
If you do have a few years of your life to spare, though, you can read everything, The USADA statement, the Reasoned Decision and all supporting materials, here.
Otherwise, it’s been generally accepted that Lance doped. ESPN sums it up:
"You can choose not to believe any or all of the witnesses. You can choose to disregard the flashing neon arrows among the test results. You can somehow construe the $1 million in payments Armstrong made to the Swiss-based company of discredited trainer Michele Ferrari as legitimate medical expenses, or remarkably generous gifts. To discount all three elements of USADA's case, and the way they overlap and intersect, is nothing less than being willfully blind."
So what about those 500 drug tests he passed? Newsflash: he lied. The real number is more like 300, at best.
But naturally, Armstrong’s lawyer is still repeating it:
"Ignoring the 500-600 tests Lance Armstrong passed, ignoring all exculpatory evidence, and trying to justify the millions of dollars USADA has spent pursuing one, single athlete for years, USADA has continued its government funded witch hunt of only Mr. Armstrong..." blah blah blah.
And really, it’s not all that hard to pass drug tests, even if you're doping. The USADA report details how it was possible for him to get away with it. One top-secret, highly-advanced technique? Pretend to not be home.
But he wasn’t the only one who took performance-enhancing drugs. No fewer than seven of Lance’s former teammates came out as past dopers yesterday—and they’re facing the consequences of it. They include: George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Michael Barry, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, Jonathan Vaughters and Tom Danielson.
Though the report does put Lance at the center of the conspiracy, alleging that he not only doped, but threatened his teammates to get on board with EPO—or get off the saddle:
“It was not enough that his teammates give maximum effort on the bike, he also required that they adhere to the doping program outlined for them or be replaced,” the antidoping agency said in its report. “He was not just a part of the doping culture on his team, he enforced and reinforced it.”
But in spite of the overwhelming evidence of guilt, Lance has friends in high places—and they’re sticking by him. Nike maintains his sponsorship. (Must be nice.)
What about the head honchos of antidoping? They’re on the USADA’s side. From John Fahey, president of the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA):
“We would like to commend USADA for having the courage and the resolve to keep focused in working on this difficult case for the sake of clean athletes and the integrity of sport."