Did Nike pay $500,000 to Verbruggen to cover up Armstrong positive?

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Jul 5, 2009
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Race Radio said:
Verbuggen has multiple corporate entities. He is primarily a marketing guy who have been in the broadcast rights business for decades. It would be very simple for Nike to pay one of his corporations and bury it as a marketing expense
In your opinion, what was Nike buying for that half million? With Verbruggen's background (marketing, broadcast rights, etc) was it a matter of "protect and promote Lance as a hero and we'll make sure there's a Nike swoosh on every piece of clothing he wears"?

The doping might have even been serendipitous from Nike's perspective. The lynch pin that secured the deal - and Nike never had to get their hands dirty. Just let it all happen.

John Swanson
 
May 29, 2012
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unclem0nty said:
Yep, but I don't think any "official" announcement about the positive was made at the Tarbes press conference. It was a journalist whose newspaper had been leaked the story about it.

Prologue: July 3.
Tarbes rest day: July 19.

Surely the lab would have given the test results to the UCI long before then. But the UCI didn't announce them, so there was pretty definitely a cover up.
Cycling: Rider who tested positive is cleared (Independent, Friday 09 July 1999)

THE TOUR de France rider found with corticoids in his system was yesterday cleared by cycling's top anti-doping official, Leon Schattenberg. The sports newspaper L'Equipe had reported that a rider tested after the Tour prologue last week had been found with traces of corticoids in his urine.

Corticoids are derivatives of cortisone, and riders are obliged to declare if they are using such medication or face sanctions. However, Schattenberg, the head of the International Cycling Union (UCI) anti-doping commission, said: "One rider showed up, as certain media has reported, but he had a valid medical certificate."

The UCI president, Hein Verbruggen, had warned riders before the Tour about a new test set up by a French laboratory in Chatenay-Malabry, near Paris, making it possible to detect corticoids, which so far have been almost impossible to trace.

The Tour director, Jean-Marie Leblanc, said: "Hein Verbruggen warned riders that the French lab could detect corticoids. Now [if] you are telling me that corticoids have been in use for 20 years, you can't expect that riders will stop using them three days before the Tour." Leblanc said all deterrents were good but he would understand a UCI decision to be lenient if it turned out to concern only small amounts of corticoids.

The American Lance Armstrong, one of the four riders tested on Saturday, said he was not too worried. "Yes, I was one of the four riders tested that day because I won it. No, I have not received any message from the UCI."
 
May 29, 2012
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kcycle12 said:
Seems crazy that Nike would have been so committed to Lance so early in his (2nd) career, before he had even won a tour. Was he already worth that much to them?
Austin cyclist back on track after cancer (Austin American-Statesman, Monday, October 27, 1997)

Bill Stapleton, Armstrong's agent, said his client is more marketable now than he was before the cancer, although he said many cycling teams view him as "damaged goods." Cofidis, his former team, dropped him on Sept. 1 because officials said they needed to go in another direction. Several weeks after Armstrong's diagnosis, the team renegotiated his contract, lowering his salary from $1.2 million to about $800,000 because he could not pass a physical.

Armstrong will receive a base of about $400,000 from the U.S. Postal Service. His contract is laced with performance-based incentives, and he could make as much as he did back in 1996.

This summer Armstrong picked up a new sponsor in CycleOps, which is producing a training bike. He also has a shoe deal with Nike and a sunglasses endorsement with Oakley.

"Lance isn't just a cyclist anymore - because of the cancer, the Lance Armstrong brand has a much broader appeal," Stapleton said. "Our challenge is to leverage that now. He's on the verge of being a crossover-type spokesman. He could be just like an athlete who does a Pepsi or Gatorade commercial. If his comeback has success, we hope to take him to a Kodak or Sony and hope they will turn him into a corporate pitchman.

"We're really just beginning. In January and February people will realize that Lance is back on the bike. And once they realize it, that's when the marketing will pay off."
 
May 29, 2012
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python said:
i am just wondering here...since the story had several witnesses according to kathy, and the bank account was involved wouldn't it be relatively easy for any competent police to get the investigation going ?
Nike, Trek cooperating with feds (ESPN/AP, August 6, 2010)
 
Oct 16, 2010
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Excellent finds by Pelodee.

I looked at Dimspace's flowchart of Lance business connections, and, somewhat surprisingly, didn't find any direct or indirect connections to Nike. wouldn't we expect some indirect connections?
 
sniper said:
'cooperating', as in 'making sure this goes nowhere'?

goodness me.

this could turn out to go deep.
No wonder the Federal case was halted. It was too big to handle. Just too big. No one would want to go to trial that not only proves a national hero doped but it involved illegal payments from the country’s biggest and internationally renowned sports manufacturer.
 
Sep 27, 2009
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thehog said:
No wonder the Federal case was halted. It was too big to handle. Just too big. No one would want to go to trial that not only proves a national hero doped but it involved illegal payments from the country’s biggest and internationally renowned sports manufacturer.
yeah BIG on witness credibility issues.
 
Oct 8, 2012
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No wonder Verbruggen was so insistent that Lance never doped. Verbruggen was getting paid a half a million! What a sham!
 
Jul 19, 2009
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unclem0nty said:
Yep, but I don't think any "official" announcement about the positive was made at the Tarbes press conference. It was a journalist whose newspaper had been leaked the story about it.

Prologue: July 3.
Tarbes rest day: July 19.

Surely the lab would have given the test results to the UCI long before then. But the UCI didn't announce them, so there was pretty definitely a cover up.
Maybe my post was not clear enough : at press conference, despite of no positive test, journalists questionned Lance on doping, and the possible use of EPO with a TUE, so he answered he had no TUE for any kind of drugs.
 
Jul 7, 2012
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pelodee said:
Austin cyclist back on track after cancer (Austin American-Statesman, Monday, October 27, 1997)

...because of the cancer, the Lance Armstrong brand has a much broader appeal," Stapleton said. "Our challenge is to leverage that now. He's on the verge of being a crossover-type spokesman. He could be just like an athlete who does a Pepsi or Gatorade commercial. If his comeback has success, we hope to take him to a Kodak or Sony and hope they will turn him into a corporate pitchman.

"We're really just beginning. In January and February people will realize that Lance is back on the bike. And once they realize it, that's when the marketing will pay off."
The following article highlights just how much Nike wanted to cynically exploit Armstrong's 'cancer survivor' image. He had everything they wanted, even the 'right colour' skin... And just look at the date, 2001 and those in the know were already aware that he was a fraud.

Lance Armstrong Has Something to Get Off His Chest

He doesn't use performance-enhancing drugs, he insists, no matter what his critics in the European press and elsewhere say. And yet the accusations keep coming. How much scrutiny can the two-time Tour de France winner stand?

by Michael Hall

July 2001

...Lance may be private, but he is a public figure. As a courageous, gifted, and fair-skinned champion, he's a Madison Avenue dream. It helps that, although Lance is no people person, he has a rock star's charisma and a cheerleader's smile. Last year Lance made $5 million in endorsements. This year he'll make twice that from companies like Coke, Nike, and Bristol-Myers. As he has won, says his friend, lawyer, and agent, Bill Stapleton, the Lance Armstrong brand has evolved. "In the beginning we had this brand of brash Texan, interesting European sport, a phenomenon. Then you layered in cancer survivor, which broadened and deepened the brand. But even in 1998 there was very little corporate interest in Lance. And then he won the Tour de France in 1999 and the brand was complete. You layered in family man, hero, comeback of the century, all these things. And then everybody wanted him." Nike was so enamored of Lance that the company signed him before it even had a cycling shoe, then made the famous TV ad that capitalized on all the drug rumors, showing him giving blood to suspicious doctors and riding his bike in the rain. "Everybody wants to know what I'm on," Lance's voice said. "I'm on my bike, busting my *** six hours a day. What are you on?" All the endorsements nicely supplement Lance's US Postal salary, which just got bumped from $2 million to $8 million a year, making him the highest paid cyclist ever.

http://www.texasmonthly.com/2001-07-01/feature4.php
 
Aug 10, 2010
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The most interesting thing about this story is the story itself.

Four months ago, this story would not have been published, for fear of an Armstrong lawsuit.

And this story is a bad story, no doubt about it. The statement was Kathy Lemond (who had no firsthand knowledge) relating the statements of a bike mechanic (who probably has no firsthand knowledge) about a financial transaction that the mechanic did not execute. That looks like rumor to me.

And the underlying facts may or may not be true. I could care less about that. The interesting thing is that this demonstrates just how wide-open the media floodgates are right now. The "Rise" part of the Armstrong story-destiny is now over. The media is now executing the "Fall" script. And, don't worry, eventually the "Redemption" script will be played out too.

The other thing that is interesting is that a Murdoch paper appears to be the source of this story? Are Dirty Rupert's lawyers collaborating with the SCA lawyers?
 
Jul 12, 2012
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Race Radio said:
Yes.

I have heard, and written about, this story many times over the years. The source was always Julian.

Don't forget, when USPS team staff were filmed dumping drugs in 2000 Julian took the fall and said the bags of Actovigen and dozens of syringes were for his diabetes. He then showed up at the following years training camp with a big new Mercedes

When Armstrong tested positive for EPO in 2001 he was not worried, told his teammates it was no problem to take care of. The deal was already in place

RR, does this film still exist?
 
Aug 18, 2012
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58teeth said:
Long time reader, don't post much. I gotta say that this is just awesome if it turns out to be true! This is unfolding like one of the best spy novels ever. Makes total sense though. 500K is nothing compared to his marketed value.
My thoughts exactly, LMAO!
 
Oct 11, 2012
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sniper said:
Excellent finds by Pelodee.
+1

Robert21 said:
"Nike was so enamored of Lance that the company signed him before it even had a cycling shoe..."
ahaha.

you've really got to hand it to the United States of Advertising, don't you? what a Faustian pact was made when their Corporations rolled in to bring pro-cycling out of "the dark ages", as Bradley put it.
 
MarkvW said:
The most interesting thing about this story is the story itself.

Four months ago, this story would not have been published, for fear of an Armstrong lawsuit.

And this story is a bad story, no doubt about it. The statement was Kathy Lemond (who had no firsthand knowledge) relating the statements of a bike mechanic (who probably has no firsthand knowledge) about a financial transaction that the mechanic did not execute. That looks like rumor to me.

And the underlying facts may or may not be true. I could care less about that. The interesting thing is that this demonstrates just how wide-open the media floodgates are right now. The "Rise" part of the Armstrong story-destiny is now over. The media is now executing the "Fall" script. And, don't worry, eventually the "Redemption" script will be played out too.

The other thing that is interesting is that a Murdoch paper appears to be the source of this story? Are Dirty Rupert's lawyers collaborating with the SCA lawyers?
I agree Mark. It’s been quite the turnaround. It came so fast as well. It’s been an onslaught especially from mainstream media outlets. Many of us have heard the talking points before but now they’re getting public airing. Right you are. A report like this would have been filed in the trash can. Now its front page news.
 
May 13, 2009
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This will remain as speculation and hearsay since it will never be proven. There will be no 1st party witnesses and no money trail will exist.

Sorry guys, you won't get to enjoy this one, though it would have been fun.
 
Aug 18, 2012
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MarkvW said:
The most interesting thing about this story is the story itself.

Four months ago, this story would not have been published, for fear of an Armstrong lawsuit.

And this story is a bad story, no doubt about it. The statement was Kathy Lemond (who had no firsthand knowledge) relating the statements of a bike mechanic (who probably has no firsthand knowledge) about a financial transaction that the mechanic did not execute. That looks like rumor to me.

And the underlying facts may or may not be true. I could care less about that. The interesting thing is that this demonstrates just how wide-open the media floodgates are right now. The "Rise" part of the Armstrong story-destiny is now over. The media is now executing the "Fall" script. And, don't worry, eventually the "Redemption" script will be played out too.

The other thing that is interesting is that a Murdoch paper appears to be the source of this story? Are Dirty Rupert's lawyers collaborating with the SCA lawyers?
I'm sure the media love a rise-fall-redemption story but Lance has done too many misdeeds in my book to predict anything other than a rise and fall story.
 
Aug 18, 2012
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70kmph said:
“There is obviously a strong relationship with Armstrong,” Schenk added. “The UCI took a lot of money from Armstrong – to my knowledge 500,000 dollars – and now there is speculation that there are financial connections to Armstrong, as well as the American market. I do not know what sort of connections Verbruggen has.”

http://velonews.competitor.com/2005/09/news/former-german-cycling-president-blasts-ucis-handling-of-armstrong-case_8889
Damn, that whole statement fits in perfectly.
 
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