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Armstrong calls for a level playing field in doping punishment

Cycling News
November 11, 2013, 18:10,
November 11, 2013, 18:09
First Edition Cycling News, Monday, November 11, 2013
Lance Armstrong liked to control the media

Lance Armstrong liked to control the media

  • Lance Armstrong liked to control the media
  • Lance Armstrong (US Postal) protected by his body guard at the 2004 Tour de France
  • Oprah Winfrey's interview with Lance Armstrong will air this week

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Disgraced Texan claims he has paid a heavy price

Lance Armstrong has called for a more level playing field between his and other rider’s doping bans, admitting that he confessed to Oprah Winfrey on television because there were “lawsuits in place that would have put me in the cross-hairs."

Repeating many of the claims he made in his long interview with Cyclingnews last week, including that he was ready to give full details of his doping to a possible Truth and Reconciliation process, Armstrong claimed that he deserves equal treatment to other riders from his generation who also doped.

Armstrong was the recognised ringmaster and bully that lead to the deceit and doping that went on during his career. But he feels he should get equal treatment to his former teammates who were given six-months ban for assisting in the USADA investigation.

They signed affidavits naming Armstrong, but he refused to co-operate in USADA’s investigation and did everything he could to disrupt and impede it. Armstrong was banned for life and lost his seven Tour de France victories.

“We had a very consistent pattern of behaviour in cycling. Yet the punishment and the toll it has taken on some are not consistent. Some took a free pass, while some have been given the death penalty,” he told the BBC World Service in a telephone interview.

“I just hope that people are treated consistently and fairly. If everyone gets the death penalty, then I'll take the death penalty. If everyone gets a free pass, I'm happy to take a free pass. If everyone gets six months, then I'll take my six months."

“I’ll sum it up like this: The playing field at the time was level, the justice served here has been anything but level.”

Armstrong lamented that he has paid a high financial price, while others somehow “capitalised on this story".

"It's been tough. It's been real tough. I've paid a heavy price in terms of my standing within the sport, my reputation, I’ve certainly paid a heavy price financially because the lawsuits have continued to pile up,” he said.

“The only difference, and I won’t name names, but between people felt burdened by this is that some of the suffered almost opposite to what I experienced. I have experienced massive personal loss, massive loss of wealth, while others have truly capitalised on this story."

“I’ll let the general public decide if that’s meritorious but this has been awfully convenient for some.”

Brandon Shuler More than 1 year ago
We have to get him to the table. If he represented the face of cycling, and we cannot forgive him, then how can we argue cycling is a redeemable sport? Let's learn from the past so we're not doomed to repeat it.
Robert 77 More than 1 year ago
I couldn't agree more!
reubenr More than 1 year ago
You must be kidding. That is the most stupid thought possible. You don't invite the Hun to dinner. He'll eat you. This man is a disgrace to humanity. He's a worm. If your need for a hero, a fallen hero, an anti hero is so great, go read a comic book or something and get out of here with this redeemable garbage. Forgiveness is a fetish of religious yahoos. We do not need to forgive him for our salvation, we need to execute him.
Lucifa More than 1 year ago
Is your head full of rocks reubenr ? Read again what Brandon wrote you twit. Actually, punch yourself in the face a few times first. lol moron.
reubenr More than 1 year ago
Lance fan, huh!
mutschi More than 1 year ago
I agree. How can people and stupid and believe a sociopath would ever change? He is just playing them again. I really don't care if he won 7 times or if he doped or not. I don't like him because he is a sociopath and he should not be up there as role model for young kids.
Justin O'Pinion More than 1 year ago
I think you would have to look far and wide to find someone who thinks Lance Armstrong is still a role model for young kids. He is, however, an example of how someone can lose their way.
Robert Palmer More than 1 year ago
Drama queen much?
CanadaSJRA More than 1 year ago
You've obviously never been forgiven to refer to it as a fetish of religious yahoos. Life operates on forgiveness. Why? Because no one is perfect.
runninboy More than 1 year ago
wow, there is a big difference for forgiving someone for minor imperfections in their behavior, versus forgiving someone who has possibly committed multiple felonies and engaged in personal destruction over a period of many years. Nice to see that you are so forgiving, Do you feel that way towards habitual imperfect people such as murderers and child molesters?
Justin O'Pinion More than 1 year ago
First of all, I can see you are clearly outraged at Armstrong. I appreciate that. However, a few comments: The use of the word Hun is derogatory in a racial sense. Please don't do that, save for another forum that I don't visit. Second, go easy on the forgiveness thing. You might need someone to go easy on you some day. I know I have needed to ask it from others on more than one occasion. Also, go easy when tossing the word execute around in that context, because your words spread the same sort of hate you toss Armstrong's way.
powerste More than 1 year ago
I'd want him at the table if I thought he would contribute meaningfully to a resolution, or at least to furthering our understanding of what went on so we can learn from it and change as we move forward. Here's why I just don't think he's the right one for the job: - His C Y A attitude. Granted, pretty much all dopers who have come forward have done so at least partly to cover their own. But LA has way more to cover than anyone else financially, image-wise, etc. Everything he says/does is calculated to protect himself. That's not evil or unhuman or anything like that - but without a doubt his motives for self-preservation cloud his capacity to contribute meaningfully and objectively. - We already understand a ton about his methods of doping, covering up, etc thanks to other cyclists coming forward and decades of investigative journalism. I'm not sure there's a whole lot more to be learned from LA himself. - If they all doped and they all lied to cover it up (which I believe to be pretty much true) then LA is likely the head doper and definitely the head liar - he's lied far more, for far longer, to far more people, than any of his contemporaries. If we're the least bit leery of trusting any of them (e.g., Floyd, Tyler) then we should be VERY afraid of trusting anything that comes out of LA's mouth.
powerste More than 1 year ago
C Y A - seriously! CN, where'd you get your auto-moderation filter, out of a Cracker Jack box?
Highwaystar More than 1 year ago
*If* he *represented* the *face of cycling*. Yeah sorry but no one buys that anymore. Lance is done, there's no coming back. He's gone and that's it. Cry us a river.
cantpedal More than 1 year ago
unfortunately he is still the face of cycling for much of the world. Ask most casual or non fans about cycling and his name will be brought up first.
Truthsetsyoufree More than 1 year ago
His price to get him to the talbe is NOT WORTH IT. He is holding his last few chips at an attempt to get some sort of reduced sentencing. While a TnR process will help the sport heal faster - which i am in favor of, Lance's last chips (UCI corruption) is not worth giving him a reduction. We know what we need to in order to move forward (as suggested by Tyler). 1. Independent policing through WADA. 2. Move the sport to a Team ownership model, not sponsor ownership. All he is trying to do is get back to Ironman so he can recover his image and recoup his money. Which BTW it sounds like he is pissed that Floyd will be getting. Travis if you read this please do not under any circumstances give Lance a reduction, it would be an injustice to ALL the people that he spent every waking second planning and scheming on how to tilt the table his way and if they fought back - destroy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"we cannot forgive him"...who are "we"? "we" who believed in what we WANTED to believe. "we" who did not know this "sport" well enough "we" who thought the life is a fairy tale. C'mon! grow up.
MonkeyFace More than 1 year ago
Tygart has even said that he knows so much now that what Lance has to say isn't as important as it was June, 2012. This whole equal punishment for unequal crimes is just to shut people up and keep the omerta moving along and reduce his lifetime ban.
Moose McKnuckles More than 1 year ago
How about we make the punishment proportional to the amount of financial benefit each one got from cheating?
John Stebbens More than 1 year ago
I agree. This was beyond just cheating or doping, this was theft. He needs to be locked up.
danjo007 More than 1 year ago
did he steal your hopes and dreams? awwww.
bike_boy More than 1 year ago
Could be good in theory, but its also like giving someone less time in jail because they murdered a poor person. Bit lame really, a crime is a crime and doping is doping, no matter if your Lance or a fattie masters rider.
Particle More than 1 year ago
Isn't everyone missing the point? It's not really about whether Armstrong made more more money or treated other people badly etc. Rather, the people who got reduced sentences all HELPED with the investigation and confessed their own doping (admittedly most of them only admitted doping inside unbelievable time-frames after which they were miraculously clean). Armstrong hindered the investigation and did not in any way come clean. So far he has also refused to speak with USADA. Currently the playing field, in this respect, IS level. If he ends up supplying some new information he will be entitled to an appropriate reduction to his penalty.
reubenr More than 1 year ago
This is the crux of the problem. If you are giving leniency for coming clean, you are actually promoting doping. It's like Ricco or DiLuca coming back after they "cooperated" with authorities. It is a joke of unbelievable proportions. The best that could be done would be to just ignore the guy and do what was originally called for in principle and that was to ban him from everything. He's a pariah. We really do not need new information. If he has any, then have him give it to the police and then lock him up for concealing the information. Let's wake up here. We are dealing with a snake.
azureskies More than 1 year ago
Moose, great, A+ in Bolshevikisim. If LeMond or Thevenet, recieved injections just once, for a vitamin or knee injury, would they deserve more, or less of a punishment?
MonkeyFace More than 1 year ago
He was offered a slap on the wrist like all of his teammates. Read pages 277-278 in the book "Wheelmen". "USADA was offering Lance a chance to deal: Come forward and admit to everything and face a relatively modest punishment. USADA intended to strip Armstrong of his final two Tour de France wins - they were within the official eight year statute of limitation - and suspend him from competition for six months"
Justin O'Pinion More than 1 year ago
Armstrong is right on this one guys (guys being gender-neutral); his sanction is out of whack. I'm no Armstrong fan and indeed something seems a bit off agreeing with him, but he has a point. Sure. he's looking after his own interests, but that's human nature for ya.
ceramiccyclist More than 1 year ago
No. It's not out of whack. It's entirely proportional to the venal, corrupt and vindictive behaviour he demonstrated during his tenure. A brief review: Threats, intimidation and persecution of the Andreu's, Lemond, Hamilton, Mike Anderson, O'Reilly, Bassons and Simeoni. Perjury in a US court. The use of his Cancer charity as a shield and to aid his lies. Aggressive tactics against journalists. Aggressive behaviour and marginalisation of those who spoke the truth or left the team. Exploitation of his fake story to enable creation of a huge and profitable corporate culture around himself and his associates. Refusal to cooperate with the Novitsky investigation. Refusal to cooperate with the USADA investigation. Massive fraud, arrogance and questionable business practices. The other guys just took the drugs to keep their jobs or attempt to compete with Armstrong's highly organised doping program. The fact that Armstrong still can't see that the above reasons create a huge chasm of culpability compared to other riders is even more reason for a stiffer sentence in my view, because he is simply too inherently corrupt to be trusted anywhere near a bike race. Now the guy is whining because shortly, he might not be rich anymore. The only shame, is that the corporate sponsors who knowingly endorsed this fraud while it lasted, e.g. Thom Weisel, Nike, Trek, Oakley, will get to keep the millions of dollars they reaped in profits and are unlikely to be sanctioned in any way.
LRI44 More than 1 year ago
But the thing is Justin O'Pinion's comment is about doping. Lance's claims of equal treatment is about doping. It doesn't matter how much of an A-hole he was he used EPO and blood transfusions like most others which is why I agree with Justin on the sanction. Ceramiccyclist once you've stopped throwing darts at a picture of Lance, I cant help but laugh at your second paragraph. "The other guys just took the drugs to keep their jobs or attempt to compete with Armstrong's highly organised doping program" Seriously? Really? Hahaha! He deserves most the law suits coming his way though that's his own doing so not much sympathy on the 'I'v paid a heavy financial price side'
Dewulf More than 1 year ago
I disagree...whilst some other cyclists doping were yes, trying to get wins themselves, and still others yes, were just trying to be able to keep up (and thus keep their jobs as domestiques), the bottom line with Lance is he did a lot more than just take drugs. He organized, he coerced, refused to cooperate, lied, etc, as has been documented by USADA. The level and direct impact he had, in particular on specific individuals, I feel justifies the sentence without a problem. That in effect, is a level playing field - he did more negative things, so he got more penalties. For you to argue that he should only have been sentenced for the performance enhancing side of things, is naive. How are we going to keep someone like that out of the sport? Legal cases? Oh yeah, because Lance never has any money for those, and we can always rely on the courts to reach a timely and relevant decision where rich people are concerned.
ceramiccyclist More than 1 year ago
No, he's not just complaining about the doping. Firstly, he should have cooperated. He refused. Not only that, he resorted to aggressive pseudo-legal tactics and the calling in of political favours to try and deflect both investigations. That alone affected his final sanction. Doping is not just about how much EPO or Testosterone or whatever that someone took, but rather about the entire behaviour related to that. In Lance's case, the use of a secret motorbike supplier during the 1999 Tour, the legal and verbal harassment of anyone asking questions or questioning his story, the very likely abuse of his power and status within the sport to avoid sanction and so on. And as for my second paragraph which you feel free to mock without the slightest opposing argument, what else did these guys do? Some of them took drugs to keep up, others to win, but none of them did what Lance did, which was to bully, intimidate, threaten and abuse other people and their position for financial and personal gain. No, they just kept their mouths shut and got on with it. That would be clear to you if you'd bothered to read it properly and cross reference it with the massive volume of evidence against Armstrong on these issues for many years, but I'll say again: other than take PED's in violation of the rules of the sport and keep quiet about if for years, what did the likes of Christian Vande Velde and George Hincapie do? Sure they made a good living, but not in comparison to Lance or his contemporaries in other sports.
Justin O'Pinion More than 1 year ago
I couldn't have summed up his behaviour any better than you did in your first paragraph. And you are far less verbose. Having said that, I have to still disagree with you, respectfully. Everything you state in the above is true, everything. But the sanction Armstrong received should have been about doping, not about the man's huge personal shortcomings. You state the other guys took drugs to keep their jobs or to compete with Armstrong's highly organized doping program. The other top road teams had equally sophisticated doping programs in place. Jan Ullrich won the Tour before Armstrong, he wasn't keeping up with Armstrong when he won his Tour. His Telekom team were just as bad as US Postal, but before Postal even existed as a team. Ullrich was linked to a doping investigation and they had his blood for proof. He was caught dead to rights. He received a 2 year ban after he had already retired and he kept his Tour victory. Sure, he liked strudle and bratwurst a little too much to compete with Armstrong during Armstrong's Tour wins, but don't think for a second he wasn't as heavily doped as Armstrong. Armstrong didn't introduce systematic doping to road cycling, he was borne in to the culture. As his success grew, so did the lies, and so did the doping. But all the dopers were ahead of the testing curve. Testing methods were not solid but as they became more and more reliable, more and more cheats were being caught. Armstrong is not to blame for the rampant doping that took place within the pro peloton. The rest should be matters for the courts to decide. Fraud, uttering threats (veiled or otherwise), perjury, misrepresenting himself in the eyes of the world by using the whole cancer thing to his financial advantage, aggressive behaviour towards journalists, fraudulant lawsuits, everything you mention should be matters for the courts to decide. Does he deserve to be sued to the depths of despair? Absolutely. Should he lose his fortune? Probably. But it's been well documented that doping was widespread. It wasn't just US Postal and Lance Armstrong who were to blame. Don't be fooled, most of Armstrong's former team mates who testiffed against him made very good livings as pro cyclists, and they got off with very short sanctions. George Hincapie walked away from cycling with a six month ban and a pretty lucrative cycling clothing business (I'm just guessing though, I haven't seen their books). Levi Leipheimer accepted a six month ban for giving evidence. By all accounts, he should have been sanctioned for a second doping offense. He gets a six month ban? He should have been imposed a much lengthier ban (even lifetime). I think Leipheimer believed he'd get picked up by a team for 2013 but look how that turned out. Armstrong was never sanctioned, despite all the accusations. Sure, we knew he was doping and now we know the rest. I still say, seperate Armstrong the man and his personal (and criminal) faults from Armstrong the cyclist. He deserves a sanction, but not as heavy as was levied.
rhubroma More than 1 year ago
Simply you can't separate Armstrong, the man, from Armstrong the cyclist. Though only he has to answer for this, but for which the investigation can’t consider it’s punishment.
runninboy More than 1 year ago
I agree. I think Justin is way off, When LA is being a jerk in his "personal life", he is also breaking the law to a greater extent than the others. Did George Hincapie threaten a federal witness? Subporn perjury? Lance sure did. That deserves harsher penalties.
ceramiccyclist More than 1 year ago
Read above. A court did decide and as I state, doping isn't just about how much EPO or whatever someone took but about all the associated behaviour which went along with it, including refusing to cooperate when everyone else agreed to do so. Had he cooperated instead of giving both investigations the finger and attempting to litigate his way out of it, he would have received a lighter sanction albeit with his status as a ringleader for doping and sporting fraud taken into account. Commenters such as you seem so selective with the facts. As for George Hincapie and others, yeah they made a decent living and if you ask me, I think they should be asked to contribute some of that back into funding grassroots cycling and antidoping, but there personal wealth would hardly put them above 'well off'.
azureskies More than 1 year ago
The other guys just took the drugs to keep their jobs or attempt to compete with Armstrong's highly organised doping program. Please prove that.Ceramic cyclist. Nice theory, plese prove.
ceramiccyclist More than 1 year ago
The point I'm making is they didn't do any of the other things Armstrong did. Read what I wrote. I'm not going to type it all out again. What else would they dope for except to keep their jobs and/or compete with other dopers in the hopes of winning? The 'proof' is self evident in the "Reasoned Decision". Lance also doped so he could compete/win against other dopers, but he did much, much more besides.
ceramiccyclist More than 1 year ago
And remember, I'm not talking about every cyclist ever suspected or sanctioned for doping, I'm talking about the guys who are specific to this case who rode for US Postal and in most cases went on to ride for other teams or take on other jobs in the sport and were in many cases abused by Armstrong.
bxcountry More than 1 year ago
Lance as always with an agenda. He will cooperate IF he is guaranteed a substantially reduced penalty. Was he penalized more heavily than others? Absolutley. Does the nature of his doping, his vicous attacks on anyone challenging his story, his intimidation of anyone he saw as a theat, his comprehensive lying to any and all authorities etc. go beyond the extent of others? Absolutley. He should be out for life. If he gets to the table we will get the Lance version of the facts. Fool me once, shame on you . Fool me twice, shame on me. He is leveraging all he has left at his disposal so that he can compete again. For Lance it has nothing to do with helping cycling.
Chuck_T More than 1 year ago
Good to see so many on here seeing the picture clearly, good post.
NashbarShorts More than 1 year ago
"The playing field was level, the justice is not".... That clearly is Lance's new talking point (garbage though it is..). Wonder if he thought of it himself, or if Timmy Herman, esq. helped coin that catchphrase.
gsfskivelo More than 1 year ago
Lance it`s not because you doped... it`s how you defended yourself and how you treated others...if it was just doping OK I agree but the lawsuits and mistreatment of Emma O`Reilly & the Andreu`s you deserve more....perhaps one day you can come back. However not sure you should be sued for your performances or by former sponsors etc, as almost all your contemporaries doped, you din`t misrepresnt the ability to get publicity, and results
rhubroma More than 1 year ago
Exactly. Lance just doesn't realize how his abuses of not only the cycling system, but the legal one instituted to bring him and his colleagues to task, resulted from the rather grave consequences of the Texan's own chosen path. The doping thus becomes only one, contingent part of his personal outcome.
Justin2 More than 1 year ago
When Emma O'Reilly was interviewed, she was offered protection. This is the level of intimidation that USADA was working with at the outset. To her credit, she declined - but the fact she was offered it speaks volumes. LA physically assaulted Hamilton and USADA officials received death threats. This was serious.
ceramiccyclist More than 1 year ago
I doubt the death threats came from anyone except misguided fans, but it has to be said that the massive myth and power Lance created around himself (with as yet unpunished enablers) created that situation.
rhubroma More than 1 year ago
Well as it has been previously pointed out, when dealing with Mafioso cases such as these those approached to break the omertà in order to get to the big fish who talk and reveal, and thus contribute to the investigation, are cut a deal. When you are that big fish, but refuse to talk to the ongoing investigation, while the incriminating evidence piles up against you, and then wage war on the investigating agency with death threats, cultivating political support in the US Senate as part of a popular defamation program against it, followed by a useless lawsuit against the federal government; once that investigation has sufficient means to convict you then no deal. The great irony is that the means by which the Texan profiteered by his doping, intimidation and persona, are now being exploited by some of his victims to cash in on their losses. F-ing brilliant that! I'm sure this vexes the Texan. He must be terribly vexed.
Chuck_T More than 1 year ago
Nicely put.
ceramiccyclist More than 1 year ago
Exactly. Lance is now whining about not being treated the same. Well he should have taken the deal. He should have behaved like his colleagues did if he expected to be treated the same. Of course he says there was no deal but various journalists and lawyers have seen the documentary evidence that he would have benefited from cooperation.
Kublai More than 1 year ago
Kingpins pay a higher price. Lance faces issues from a) sanctioning through his sport, b) various civil lawsuits from sponsors and civilians, c) criminal fallout from lying under oath, and d) public disaffection. He has no equal in this regard and all arguments about level playing fields and just treat me like the rest are specious at best.
sck451 More than 1 year ago
I think it's important to note that you cannot accurately call a lifetime ban from cycling a "death penalty", and it is a cynical attempt at narrative-manipulation to call it such.
patrick24 More than 1 year ago
The term death penalty is used in sports to mean a long-term ban - look at college sports for cheating/recruiting scandals there. Armstrong did not invent it.
Chuck_T More than 1 year ago
Maybe he didn't invent the term but given his connection to the cancer community it shows a staggering lack of perspective. A cancer diagnosis is too often a death penalty, for that to be compared with a sporting ban on a multi-millionaire is obscene. A narcissistic, self absorbed man with no redeeming features.
CP2013 More than 1 year ago
Armstrong also didn't invent fraud, perjury, drug trafficking or bullying but he used them to great effect and self-benefit.
sck451 More than 1 year ago
It's probably a cynical attempt at narrative-manipulation there too.
Haytor More than 1 year ago
lance sure is the king of hyperbole. I see a move to politics soon.
ceramiccyclist More than 1 year ago
He's got all the qualities required for a very successful career in Congress these days….
runninboy More than 1 year ago
are you kidding? With all his lying he is qualified to be president.
Truthsetsyoufree More than 1 year ago
We had a consistent pattern of behaviour? BS. No one else went to the lengths you did to ruin so many other peoples lives. It was never a level playing field. You can get that by the ESPN crowd, but by the CN crowd. We know the score. BTW, Lance if you don't like how this game is ending, how it is being played why not leave. That was your advice, now take it.
crispy More than 1 year ago
"They signed affidavits naming Armstrong, but he refused to co-operate in USADA’s investigation and did everything he could to disrupt and impede it." I think that says it all right there. He had his chance to cooperate and he refused and as such got what was coming to him.
Chuck_T More than 1 year ago
Simply put and right on the money.