Official Lance Armstrong Thread: Part 4 (Post-Settlement)

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To summarise my position and interest in the case: I "like" Armstrong in the same manner as someone "likes" the commandants of the Majdanek extermination camp if he/she points out to someone that the initial and widely circulated body toll of 1.38 million is wrong and too high and the current estimate is around 78.000 death people.
This is a fair summary of where I'm from, I'd say. I care more about doping than I do about those who doped.

David Walsh met Sandro Donati one time, early into the pursuit of Armstrong:

"Sandro told me something important: going after Lance Armstrong couldn't be what it was all about because the bigger picture was what mattered. Cycling was far more important than one competitor and if you pursue one and become too associated with that pursuit, that is not good."

Too often it feels like we've forgotten what we're fighting.

And too often it feels like we're happy to sacrifice truth in that fight.
 
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David Walsh met Sandro Donati one time, early into the pursuit of Armstrong:

"Sandro told me something important: going after Lance Armstrong couldn't be what it was all about because the bigger picture was what mattered. Cycling was far more important than one competitor and if you pursue one and become too associated with that pursuit, that is not good."
It is easy to see that David Walsh didn't fully understand what Donati meant when the Irishman focused heavily on his story about Lance Armstrong (a task that took occasionally much more courage than people today can even imagine).

For instance it took until 2010 (Landis confession) that the anti-doping specialists understood the intravenous microdosing technique of rHuEPO administration, but the technique was described to David Walsh by Jonathan Vaughters as early as 2003 when the two met shortly before Christmas for some background information for the book LA Confidentiel. Even when Walsh wasn't an expert and didn't necessarily understand the issue and there was very little that the authorities could've done about the problem, one gets easily the impression that Lance story was more important than asking more details or thinking the implications of this undergroudn breakthrough technique.

Here is one additional strange idea.

While the "everyone dopes = level playing field"-argument has it weaknesses, if one accepts the simplistic framework that doping = categorically bad and neglects all game theory and incentive structures, the logical conclusion is that Lance Armstrong was actually acting morally sound when (if?) he ratted out his doping competitors to Hein Verbruggen or sabotaged their blood deliveries during the 2004 TDF (as alleged by Tyler Hamilton).

That it because there was less bad (ie. doping) taking place even when I don't know if anyone sincerely maintains this position.
 
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It is easy to see that David Walsh didn't fully understand what Donati meant when the Irishman focused heavily on his story about Lance Armstrong (a task that took occasionally much more courage than people today can even imagine).
Walsh's contributions to the doping debate are invaluable: so much was learned through his articles, so much was learned through LA Confidentiel and From Lance to Landis. Betsy Andreu, Jonathan Vaughters, they probably would have found someone else to tell their stories to had Walsh not come along, but that does not take away from his contributions (Stephen Swart had already told his tale before Walsh came along, and little good did that do). The way he used Emma O'Reilly I'm still not sure how I feel about. But in the early and mid-noughties convincing the many who believed that the few who didn't were not crazy wasn't easy and neither side followed Marquess of Queensberry rules. Liberties had to be taken.

That said, I've somewhat nailed my colours to the mast on Walsh and subsequent contributions from him - Inside Team Sky and ghosting Froome's chamoir - suggest that understanding the difference between Walsh 1.0 (the nouvelle Éire era) and Walsh 2.0 (after the Fall) are necessary. In many ways, the man has reverted to type. And he himself, even more so in recent years than during his dogged pursuit of Armstrong and Armstrong alone, has painted a picture of doping beginning and ending with the American. That is where he really missed Donati's advice: Donati was able to go after Conconi without it feeling like it was all about Conconi, Walsh - then and now - has made it feel like it was all about the Texan, that Armstrong was the alpha and the omega of doping.

Walsh and Armstrong, they are linked in the morality angle you offer. GK Chesterton wrote this about detective fiction and in many ways it is appropriate to Walsh and Armstrong:
"When the detective in a police romance stands alone, and somewhat fatuously fearless amid the knives and fists of a thieves' kitchen, it does certainly serve to make us remember that it is the agent of social justice who is the original and poetic figure, while the burglars and footpads are merely placid old cosmic conservatives, happy in the immemorial respectability of apes and wolves. The romance of the police force is thus the whole romance of man. It is based on the fact that morality is the most dark and daring of conspiracies."
Walsh was the one breaking the norms of accepted behaviour more so than Armstrong was. And for this I do salute him, even as I criticise him.

On the morality of Armstrong's actions, a book worth looking out for in a library is Doping in Elite Sports – Voices of French Sportspeople and their Doctors 1950-2010 , by Christophe Brissonneau and Jeffrey Montez de Oca (it's one of those shockingly expensive academic books). It looks, in part, at the social structures surrounding doping and anti-doping, makes the point (similar to Chesterton's above) that those who doped were simply playing by the rules of the game, the unwritten ones (let's accept that pre-Festina, and possibly even up to Cofidis or Puerto, the authorities weren't really fighting doping, they were simply trying to make it look like they were fighting doping). The level playing field. But - and this is important - while Armtrong's doping may be characterised as having been a level playing field his defence of it most certainly was not and, for many people, it is and always will be the manner in which Armstrong sought to cover up his doping that was a far bigger crime than the doping itself.

Here, then, I would question whether Armstrong dropping the dime on Hamilton and others was really morally acceptable. He hadn't become a rebel and changed sides, he wasn't doing like Jesús Manzano (the man who birthed Operación Puerto), taking up arms. On that one, I think you have to judge him by his motivations (which were not morally good) rather than the (morally good) outcomes they may have produced.
 
Walsh's contributions to the doping debate are invaluable: so much was learned through his articles, so much was learned through LA Confidentiel and From Lance to Landis. Betsy Andreu, Jonathan Vaughters, they probably would have found someone else to tell their stories to had Walsh not come along, but that does not take away from his contributions (Stephen Swart had already told his tale before Walsh came along, and little good did that do). The way he used Emma O'Reilly I'm still not sure how I feel about. But in the early and mid-noughties convincing the many who believed that the few who didn't were not crazy wasn't easy and neither side followed Marquess of Queensberry rules. Liberties had to be taken.

That said, I've somewhat nailed my colours to the mast on Walsh and subsequent contributions from him - Inside Team Sky and ghosting Froome's chamoir - suggest that understanding the difference between Walsh 1.0 (the nouvelle Éire era) and Walsh 2.0 (after the Fall) are necessary. In many ways, the man has reverted to type. And he himself, even more so in recent years than during his dogged pursuit of Armstrong and Armstrong alone, has painted a picture of doping beginning and ending with the American. That is where he really missed Donati's advice: Donati was able to go after Conconi without it feeling like it was all about Conconi, Walsh - then and now - has made it feel like it was all about the Texan, that Armstrong was the alpha and the omega of doping.

Walsh and Armstrong, they are linked in the morality angle you offer. GK Chesterton wrote this about detective fiction and in many ways it is appropriate to Walsh and Armstrong:Walsh was the one breaking the norms of accepted behaviour more so than Armstrong was. And for this I do salute him, even as I criticise him.

On the morality of Armstrong's actions, a book worth looking out for in a library is Doping in Elite Sports – Voices of French Sportspeople and their Doctors 1950-2010 , by Christophe Brissonneau and Jeffrey Montez de Oca (it's one of those shockingly expensive academic books). It looks, in part, at the social structures surrounding doping and anti-doping, makes the point (similar to Chesterton's above) that those who doped were simply playing by the rules of the game, the unwritten ones (let's accept that pre-Festina, and possibly even up to Cofidis or Puerto, the authorities weren't really fighting doping, they were simply trying to make it look like they were fighting doping). The level playing field. But - and this is important - while Armtrong's doping may be characterised as having been a level playing field his defence of it most certainly was not and, for many people, it is and always will be the manner in which Armstrong sought to cover up his doping that was a far bigger crime than the doping itself.

Here, then, I would question whether Armstrong dropping the dime on Hamilton and others was really morally acceptable. He hadn't become a rebel and changed sides, he wasn't doing like Jesús Manzano (the man who birthed Operación Puerto), taking up arms. On that one, I think you have to judge him by his motivations (which were not morally good) rather than the (morally good) outcomes they may have produced.
Armstrong was outright vindictive; even if it eventually did not create some equivalency for his "legacy". He still throws that common usage comparison out in space like he didn't have both the UCI and a huge budget advantage in his pursuit of doped wins. Hamilton, Landis had the audacity to challenge his primacy by going to other teams. He really couldn't help himself....that's where his self-belief was his undoing.
Again; his history is known to all and we're debating the fine points in an attempt to redefine the era's strongest riders. It doesn't really matter unless one of them emerges as a relatively cleaner, more enriched image of that era. Armstrong is the only one still selling the Snake Oil.
 
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As unsavory as it seems, the most important step towards at least ameliorating the scourge of doping in cycling was to take down Lance Armstrong. And the best way to take down Armstrong was to relentlessly focus on doing exactly that. Because as far as doping goes, and as far as cycling goes, Armstrong was the worst by some distance. He was both a lab rat and an enforcer for Ferrari, funded him and recruited, if not coerced, new clients for him. He bullied, threatened and delivered on those threats. He ended people's livelihoods. He started a charity and used it as a smokescreen. He locked in his supporters with yellow wristbands and promises of salvation. He made himself poster-boy of cycling, to this day. The fish rots from the head, and that's where he set himself. Resting upon a throne wrought from the faith of dying children. In charge, at the head of affairs, as he was when he did this:


And [almost] all the journalists, champions of truth, and [almost] all of the riders, torch-bearers of sport, and [almost] all of the promoters, administrators, and governors, stewards of cycling, cowered. And then cheered.

Now, I would never advocate cutting of someone's actual head. But for cycling to have any chance of being a cleaner sport, it was (and I would argue still is) necessary to extricate that guy from the sport (permanently). Now, we can move on to scale what all that remains underneath. It's a thankless, endless job, and ultimately just as important. But it's hard to overstate the necessity of taking down Armstrong. For however trivial and pompous it may be in the grand scheme of things, in terms of the fight against doping in cycling that Walsh overstates his role, or gets it wrong, or gets caught up in his own hubris at times, pales in comparison to what he risked and what he helped achieve.

[Edited in an attempt to be more catholic than the Pope.]
 
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As unsavory as it seems, the most important step towards at least ameliorating the scourge of doping in cycling was to take down Lance Armstrong.
What is unsavoury about busting a cheat?
as far as cycling goes, Armstrong was the worst by some distance.
<yawning emoji>
He was both a lab rat and an enforcer for Ferrari
Oh God...
Resting upon a throne wrought from the faith of dying children.
Oh my God...
And all the journalists, champions of truth, and all of the riders, torch-bearers of sport, and all of the promoters, administrators, and governors, stewards of cycling, cowered
Patently bollox. Many did, but not all. But hey, what's a few lies among friends. What's that Skippy, damning LA for being a liar and then telling porkies yourself makes you a hypocrite? When did you become such a fanboi, Skippy? I am so disappointed by your scepticism and your cynicism Skippy, so disappointed. You need to learn how to dream.
Now, I would never advocate cutting of someone's actual head.
Gosh, that's nice to know. It's such a difficult thing to judge with people today, isn't it, whether they want to lop people's heads off? I'm forever meeting people and wondering whether they're going to advocate chopping someone's head off, and you know that just makes social interactions so akward. So, you know, thanx for removing the awks!
It's a thankless, endless job, and ultimately just as important.
And I for one am immensely grateful, beyond words grateful, that we have champions like you doing that job for us by posting videos like the one you did. Go you.
But it's hard to overstate the necessity of taking down Armstrong.
Yet you make it look so easy, you have such a way with words.
 
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What is unsavoury about busting a cheat?

<yawning emoji>

Oh God...

Oh my God...

Patently bollox. Many did, but not all. But hey, what's a few lies among friends. What's that Skippy, damning LA for being a liar and then telling porkies yourself makes you a hypocrite? When did you become such a fanboi, Skippy? I am so disappointed by your scepticism and your cynicism Skippy, so disappointed. You need to learn how to dream.

Gosh, that's nice to know. It's such a difficult thing to judge with people today, isn't it, whether they want to lop people's heads off? I'm forever meeting people and wondering whether they're going to advocate chopping someone's head off, and you know that just makes social interactions so akward. So, you know, thanx for removing the awks!

And I for one am immensely grateful, beyond words grateful, that we have champions like you doing that job for us by posting videos like the one you did. Go you.

Yet you make it look so easy, you have such a way with words.
Ok, most, not all. I stand corrected. It was a rhetorical slip, TBH. But I do believe we get to the truth by pushing past it at times, however. It doesn't just present itself from the ether.

And, for the record, I'm not damning him for being a liar. We all are liars, to different extents. It's probably more of an evolutionary feature than a bug. I've posted on that before. You spin the truth to your liking too, BTW, and you have quite the relationship with your words, always stroking them just so. And I do think you're mostly on the up and up. You don't have to thank me for that too.

But I venture you're being a tad disingenuous yourself by suggesting that I that lying was the ethical charge I was stringing Lance up upon. And that people don't have a tendency to wilfully misunderstand things online. So there's, for instance, no need to play it safe when alluding to guillotines nowadays. No worry about those that will chase you down on minor details attempting to derail a substantive discussion with an unhealthy dose of tu quoque buried within a slattering of nihilistic apophasis.

And I thank you for your gratitude. I appreciate the encouragement. We all do this for the trophy points, after all.
 
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I do believe we get to the truth by pushing past it at times
Uh, no, we don't. We get tangerine trolls in the White House, floppy-haired clowns in Downing Street, fascists burning the rainforest.
We all are liars, to different extents.
Speak for youself and don't imagine everyone is as bad as you.
I venture you're being a tad disingenuous yourself by suggesting that I that lying was the ethical charge I was stringing Lance up upon
Uh, no. I think you're an actual hypocrite, using lies to condemn a liar. Do I need to make that clearer for you?
attempting to derail a substantive discussion
LOL!
We all do this for the trophy points, after all.
Again with the imagining everyone's as base as you are. Stop.
 
You should write a book based on your deep knowledge, because authors Juliet Macur, David Walsh, Reed Albergotti, Vanessa O"Connell or the CIRC staff didn't find these "millions paid" or at least didn't report them anywhere (if Hein Verbruggen had some questionable financial connections via asset management etc to Armstrong is another matter).

Do a favour for your trustworthiness and read the links before using flawed paraphrased quotations. The article is only about one trio of races of which the bonus was one million, but you imply that Ochowicz paid "million(s)" to win one million which (as usual) Armstrong pocketed instantly and got the discounted present value of something like $600.000 over the stream of future payments.

There is only a certain amount one can make up quotations, use ad hominems or be 100 % certain about things backed up with next to no evidence.

You took the words right out of my mouth.
Ill do that, thanks. Talk about one being delusional, you and Wonderboy have that area covered. Too funny :)
 
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Talk about one being delusional, you and Wonderboy have that area covered.
You're increasingly reminding me of the dear, departed sniper, @86TDFWinner, with your twisted logic ("if he coulda done it then he did") which was once used to prove that LeMond himself was a demon doper. Add to that the lack of substance in your comments and I do wonder if maybe you haven't been possessed by his spirit, or had your account hacked by him.

Let's try and play the ball here for a bit, 'kay?

That Lance Armstrong was the biggest, baddest doper in the whole history of doping, how about we start showing some evidence to support this. Putting aside a century and a half of history, let's focus for now solely on the Gen-EPO era, how does Armstrong's doping compare to Indurain, for instance? The Texan, he had Ferrari, the Spaniard, he had Padilla. Now I do seem to recall that Ferrari was allowed to freelance with riders on other teams even while he was Armstrong's go-to guy, but you know I don't recall Banesto ever letting Padilla go work with anyone other than their riders. So, when it comes to an unlevel playing field, Ferrari's a bit of a divot while Padilla's a whole ha-ha, wouldn't you agree?

Or how about we compare Armstrong's doping to Basso, Beloki, Escartin, Klöden, Mayo, Rumšas, Vinokourov, Zülle? I think most of us would agree there's some demon doping in that list, but who should we demonise the most?

Or, you know, maybe we're wrong to be looking just at Gen-EPO. O2-vector doping didn't begin with Amgen, we know it'd been a thing in the 1980s, we have more than enough testimony from riders at this stage to tell us that the peloton of that golden decade was banging in bags of blood. How come they're getting a hall pass and we're still fixating on a guy who's been firmly knocked off his pedestal?
 
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You're increasingly reminding me of the dear, departed sniper, @86TDFWinner, with your twisted logic ("if he coulda done it then he did") which was once used to prove that LeMond himself was a demon doper. Add to that the lack of substance in your comments and I do wonder if maybe you haven't been possessed by his spirit, or had your account hacked by him.

Let's try and play the ball here for a bit, 'kay?

That Lance Armstrong was the biggest, baddest doper in the whole history of doping, how about we start showing some evidence to support this. Putting aside a century and a half of history, let's focus for now solely on the Gen-EPO era, how does Armstrong's doping compare to Indurain, for instance? The Texan, he had Ferrari, the Spaniard, he had Padilla. Now I do seem to recall that Ferrari was allowed to freelance with riders on other teams even while he was Armstrong's go-to guy, but you know I don't recall Banesto ever letting Padilla go work with anyone other than their riders. So, when it comes to an unlevel playing field, Ferrari's a bit of a divot while Padilla's a whole ha-ha, wouldn't you agree?

Or how about we compare Armstrong's doping to Basso, Beloki, Escartin, Klöden, Mayo, Rumšas, Vinokourov, Zülle? I think most of us would agree there's some demon doping in that list, but who should we demonise the most?

Or, you know, maybe we're wrong to be looking just at Gen-EPO. O2-vector doping didn't begin with Amgen, we know it'd been a thing in the 1980s, we have more than enough testimony from riders at this stage to tell us that the peloton of that golden decade was banging in bags of blood. How come they're getting a hall pass and we're still fixating on a guy who's been firmly knocked off his pedestal?
Those guys aren't making a serious living off podcasts while revising their own history publicly. To the other point about equity of opportunity; those other guys didn't have Thom Weisel attempting to buy the Tour and assisting LA in his "investments". Weisel's own partners said he would break any rule to win including SEC IPO insider rules. Someone noted Lance's net worth is still very high...Lance himself mentioned he benefitted from an early stock purchase in Uber. He's still got his Angel out there and the rest of the doped generation are trying to maintain a low profile.
 

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