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Tygart: Armstrong's "essentially shut the door" on USADA cooperation

By:
Cycling News
Published:
December 11, 2013, 23:50,
Updated:
December 11, 2013, 23:57
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, Friday, December 13, 2013
US Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart

US Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart

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Kjærgaard describes descent into doping

US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) CEO Travis Tygart has all but given up on gaining the cooperation of Lance Armstrong in his agency's "still ongoing investigation" of doping during the US Postal Service team years.

Tygart was speaking at an anti-doping conference in Oslo, Norway, one week ahead of the scheduled arbitration of Johan Bruyneel's lifetime ban for involvement in the US Postal doping conspiracy.

He said that his agency "gave every athlete, even Lance Armstrong, a chance to be a part of the solution, unfortunately he refused to do that, he continues today to refuse to do that. He's essentially shut the door on that opportunity.

"We've given him multiple opportunities over the last 18 months, including a couple over the last couple of weeks. My sense is that's not going to happen at least for now, and we're moving on with our investigation."

Tygart used broad strokes to describe the systemic doping that existed in cycling in the 1990s and 2000s, stating, "Athletes from almost every country that we've seen, at different teams, participated in a corrupt culture that took over the sport of cycling for a period of time, and it's why we've been pushing so hard for an independent process to get to the bottom of that culture and finally set the sport on a new path, and to give athletes a genuine choice."

USADA's arbitration hearing with Bruyneel and doctor Pedro Celaya and trainer Jose "Pepe" Marti is scheduled to take place in London next week, but the investigation could still encompass dozens of riders and associated staff who were named but redacted in the various published testimonies gathered in 2012.

Tygart emphasized that his agency was initially focused on making sure the 2012 Olympic team did not include dopers: Levi Leipheimer Christian Vande Velde, George Hincapie and David Zabriskie refused their spots on the team before the details of the investigation were made public - and to ensure the culture of doping was dismantled.

Toward that end, USADA successfully backed the campaign of Brian Cookson for UCI president, and Pat McQuaid, who called Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis "scumbags" after their accusations against Armstrong, was drummed out of his position of power.

"The head of the sport fell," Tygart said. "Lack of leadership was ultimately why the president was not re-elected this year. The failure to fully protect clean athletes, and the failure to fulfill the promise to clean up the sport once and for all through ... an independent commission. There's new leadership in the sport - that was never our goal - but it sends a strong warning that clean athletes' rights are going to be protected, and if a leader can fall for not protecting those rights ... it sends a powerful message."

Kjærsgaard speaks out

In the same conference, former US Postal rider Steffen Kjærsgaard spoke out for the first time since his October 23, 2012 confession to doping, describing his gradual path to cheating.

After avoiding the press for the past year, the 40-year-old Norwegian took to the stage after the impassioned speech by Tygart, and added his story to that of the other riders of the US Postal Service team who have admitted to doping.

For Kjærsgaard, the decision to give in to doping came slowly, and he echoed the sentiments of others such as David Zabriskie, Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Christian Vande Velde, Michael Barry and Tom Danielson, that the culture of doping in the sport at the time made it impossible to compete clean.

"When I took the choice to begin doping, there were no consequences to doping yourself. When I started my first EPO course in May 1998, the fear of being caught was absent and it felt completely safe," he said, according to Dagbladet.

"Most [riders] were opposed to doping," he continued. "Those who were a few years older than me were opposed to doping like me, but they had resigned to the culture that dominated the peloton."

Kjærgaard made his decision after attempting to race clean with TVM in 1997, and being unable to hang in the races. "I decided to pack up and go home. But in 1997 I got a call from Kim Andersen, who asked if I would be part of a small Danish team. My immediate feeling was no, but I had come this far and I was so close to the target, but still so far away."

Two weeks later, when Andersen called, he said yes, and joined Chicky World. By the spring of 1998 he had started with EPO, cortisone and other drugs. "It came naturally," he said. He rode two seasons with the Danish team before moving on to US Postal Service in 2000, where he stayed for four seasons.

Kjærgaard gave no excuses for his behavior or his choices. "This is more of an explanation of the choices I made, rather than a rationalization. I'm still sorry on behalf of Norwegian sport, but mostly because of the family: wife, mom and my dad," he said.

Tour87 11 months ago
It's funny how: -Kjærgaard, Leipheimer, Vandevelde, Hincapie, Danielson, etc. use the word "compete" instead of the word "win." -They were still able to "be competitive" after they said they stopped taking drugs in 2007. -The criminal statute of limitations just so happens to be 2007. -Sure, they didn't race in the 2012 Olympics, but that USA Pro Challenge victory parade sure must have eased their pain.
epofuel 11 months ago
Meanwhile, the Giro 2014 is going to honor fallen clean cyclist Marco Pantani. And Ryder Hesjedal goes unpunished, having stopped doping in 2003, but still had a very nice giro win after that.
Mongolian Torque 11 months ago
Dude- that was 10 years ago!
erader 11 months ago
your math is solid but what do you mean?
stringcatt 11 months ago
Pantani clean? He had hematocrit levels approaching 60% during his years.
Master50 11 months ago
This is the saddest use of propaganda to advance his position. Of course LA is not co-operating and why would anyone expect him too with all the law suits pending. La has made it clear he will talk to WADA and the UCI when the proper structure exists. I am sure LA layers would line up in front of him before he talks to USADA
Chuck_T 11 months ago
Feel free to expand on this proper structure you refer to.
clausgodske 11 months ago
Master50 takes the point that when LA is finished with all his law suits and have sold every little piece of information to the press, then he will talk to USADA, if the time is right, and if there is 2 thursdays in one week.
epofuel 11 months ago
There is no structure. Lance is acting in his own self-interest, so whatever structure suits Lance is the best for Lance, just like Travis does what is best for Travis, and Chuck_T does what is best for Chuck_T. If Lance did otherwise we would all consider him to be loony. Cycling is a world of self-interested parties determined to go to the ends of the earth for personal gain. Goverining bodies are no better, as they must rationalize their own existence and their own jobs. Travis has sealed himself a nice deal, and well done. He just has to ease off the MOST SOPHISTICATED DOPING bs, as that wasn´t the case, clearly.
Alpe73 11 months ago
You speak the truth, EPO.
ustabe 11 months ago
Exactly.
Silver Bullet 11 months ago
"why would anyone expect him to(o)" - um, maybe because he wants to reduce the liftetime ban that USADA gave him? As he keeps blabbering on about in his 'woe is me' global golf tour? the lawsuits are his problem of his making. If he does not want to talk to USADA, then Master50 could you just tell him to ST_U about reducing his lifetime ban. Thanks champ.
taborpolkadots 11 months ago
LA doesn't have time to talk. He's on his bike 8 hours a day. What are 'you' (we) on?
epofuel 11 months ago
Fair enough, Lance made a fool of himself. Now ask yourself...when the Lance news broke, how was it that almost nobody in cycling threw a fit? They all knew, they have always known, and doping is what has made heros out of cyclists. Meanwhile, the Giro 2014 will HONOR Marco Pantani. How dya like them apples?
srsplato 11 months ago
Very well said Master50.
neineinei 11 months ago
UCI has made it clear that they can't do anything about Armstrongs sanction, it is up to WADA they say. And WADA says it is up to USADA. If he's going to compete in WADA sanctioned events of any kind again he will have to co-operate with Tygart. Whatever structure WADA, USADA, or UCI comes up with, it will not over trump the laws of the United States of America.
lets ride 11 months ago
A lot of finger pointing going.
ElReyDelSol 11 months ago
It will be very interesting to see what comes out of Bruyneel's arbitration - nothing at all or loads of evidence. Bruyneel seems cagey if a bit unhinged over the past year or so. Curious as to what game or angle he is playing.
Limehouse 11 months ago
I'm curious too but I don't think it will be interesting. Brunyeel's got nothing. He's just prolonging the inevitable and hoping it all just goes away. And the rest of us are just hoping that he goes away.
philpaque 11 months ago
JB is too busy enjoying life in Switzerland to be bothered by all of this. He's always been a bit of an opportunist. Remember him drafting Indurain during a 2-man TDF breakaway. He came around Mig at the finish for the win.
epofuel 11 months ago
If you are so upset with this, why not think about Big Mig´s probability of cleanliness when the EPO era was in full-swing?
lets ride 11 months ago
The point of racing is to win!
mewmewmew13 11 months ago
why in the hell are these comments here? total nitwit invitation
Limehouse 11 months ago
Maybe Lance's PR team is paying shills again?
blemcooper 11 months ago
Hm...Kim Andersen--isn't he the Schlecks' favorite team manager?
ElReyDelSol 11 months ago
Shouldn't really be too surprising that he is mentioned - he himself tested positive for doping during his career during the late 80's and early 90's.
Pedal Pusher 11 months ago
Remember when Andy Schleck rode TDF in 2011 to win stage 18 and Cadel's comment was along the lines of it being an unbelievable result - perhaps Kim Anderson was helping out!
clausgodske 11 months ago
He had to. They - Andy & Frank only rode fast with Kim Andersen by their side,
azureskies 11 months ago
Tygart, you have had your 15 minutes of fame now just go home and leave cycling alone. Your hate for the sport knows no bounds Tyagart.
Silver Bullet 11 months ago
very glad he has an influence on this sport and not you.
sbroaddus 11 months ago
couldn't agree with silver bullet more, azureskies weeps with LA and wishes they could all just dope already and foget the cheating ever happened.
srsplato 11 months ago
Agreed azureskies!
Lance, remember Bassons? 11 months ago
Azure - people aren't sickened by Travis's accomplishments, on the contrary, he's given a lot of us hope that we're on the right path. Now take down that poster of LA off your ceiling.
epofuel 11 months ago
All of these are missing the essential point. You are all arguing over Lance´s cheating and over his merits as a cyclist and as a person. Some of you are fanboys, some of you hate Lance. The real issue here is with the punishments and Lance getting singled out for having the most sophisticated doping program...obviously, it wasn´t that sophisticated if all these guys cracked like little babies later on and started to point fingers. In fact, all along the doping was a racket that nobody wanted to see. Many of those who are now bashing Lance were the fanboys of years past who didn´t want to see the cold, hard reality that was clear to all. But I will summarize: doping isn´t the issue. They ALL doped. The issue is punishment, and until Lance either gets let back in to cycling or they all get kicked out of the sport (my personal preference) the problem isn´t going to go away. Everyone doped. Or pretty near everyone. Kick they all out, our Truth and Reconciliation for the them. But for heaven´s sake, stick to the punishment issue because that is the only issue that matters.
lets ride 11 months ago
I have to agree a lot of la"s team mates who ratted him out to save there own career made a lot of money because of lance when they were on postal with him maybe they should thank him.
kielbasa 11 months ago
Who saved their own career?
LemonFriend 11 months ago
Lance Armstrong was charged with more than just doping. He was charged with 1) doping, 2) possession (they go hand in hand), 3) trafficking, 4) administration to others, and 5) conspiracy. Do you know of any others that were charged with all that? Everyone that has received a conspiracy charge has been given a lifetime ban. LA was not the only person to be banned for life by the USADA during this investigation.
RobbieCanuck 11 months ago
No you are missing the point. When one commits a "crime" in this case the most serious offence in cycling i.e. performance enhancing cheating, there are degrees of culpability after the initial threshold has been proven. In LA's case there are loads of aggravating factors that do not exist with some of the other dopers and the extent of the organization that went into USPS doping orchestrated by LA. Those aggravating factors deserve the most serious sanction available. For some other dopers, who admitted and confessed, as opposed to LA who lied and prevaricated even on Oprah when he had a chance o come completely clean, he did not. If you agree generally that he should be kicked out, what is your point?
oldschoolnik 11 months ago
Facts: LA sued USADA, tried to get them defunded, used LiveStrong Lobbyists in washington to get rid of USADA (as reported by the Wall St Journal), intimidated federal witnesses, the list goes on. Not one of the other riders did any of these things. Sorry Lance and fanboys---not a level playing field you were much much much worse.
epofuel 11 months ago
None of these are good things, OldSchoolNik, but again...those are criminal charges rather than sporting ethics. I agree that he should be held to the fire for all of these. But he was only banned for DOPING, because that is all you could ban him for, sporting wise. But then you have the issue that EVERYONE ELSE WAS DOPING. In fact, doping existed long before Lance, so now you have to either want the rest banned for life (which I hope you do), or else you want Lance, Ricco, etc. back in the sport. As much of a slimeball as Lance may be, at least he has the guts to go full on, unlike a guy like Hesjedal, who is a total crybaby and doper and should be kicked out as far as the eye can see. So we agree, OldSchool, on many things. I just hope you want to see lifetime doping bans for all involved in the Postal Conspiracy. If not, you had better change your tune really quickly.
Deagol 11 months ago
Also, the congressman Sensebrener from Wisconsin- the one who tried to intimidate USADA- is now on the record calling the 97% of climatologist who acknowledge global warming as "scientific fascists".. What a joke he is.. >: (
azureskies 11 months ago
sirbroadazz and silver bullet, praytell, how could Tygart played out his displeasure more effectively, than to cut deals with everyone he chose? Effectively Tygart undermined cycling. I don't know. but I see people are pretty sickened by pro cycling right now. The mission Tygart accomplished.
Silver Bullet 11 months ago
No, don't invert stuff. Your boy accomplished this, along with his pocket-lined chums at USAC and the UCI. And all he had to do was chuck Landis a bone!!! oh the sweet irony, its hilarious. Tygart is not the laughing stock of the cycling world, that thoroughly belongs to Lance, for the cruel joke he has played on it. Tygart is lauded as a giant killer, and deservedly so. He brought down the giant scumbag of the sport, when everyone else failed. legendary stuff.
Limehouse 11 months ago
He brought down the giant scumbag of the sport, when everyone else failed or was unwilling to try. Fixed that for you! :-)
bing181 11 months ago
"Tygart is lauded as a giant killer, and deservedly so." Absolutely. Though someone should remind him that he needs to wear his underpants on the OUTSIDE of his trousers.
epofuel 11 months ago
These are just silly comments through and through. Silver Bullet, what do you think of the Giro honoring Pantani this year? How does that sit with you, in the wake of your hatred of Lance? And speaking slimeballs, what do you think of Ryder Hesjedal´s dimwitted half confession? No ban at all. You either hate them all, or love them all. Cause they all the same guy.
Silver Bullet 11 months ago
but your comments are so "silly" epofuel...
epofuel 11 months ago
No, all of the comments are silly, not just yours, but including yours, yes. But please, answer my question and we´ll be all good. What DO you think? My comments are absolutely not silly. I really want to know what you and others think about Lance sitting out for the rest of his life because of doping, but the Giro will HONOR Marco Pantani this year. What DO you think?
Vincent Dimaano 11 months ago
Speak for yourself. I love pro cycling. It's shills like you that make me wish would go away. In order for the prosecution to get to the head rat, they have to deal with the little dispensable rats. You see how that works? Of course, since you see LA as god almighty himself, any rational thought goes out the window, so you're going to see Tygart as the devil himself. He's against Lance, so he must hate all cancer patients was the de facto defense.
epofuel 11 months ago
VIncent, I think the underlying unease that people have is in Lance going down, while everyone else got essentially a free pass. Ok, so Lance didn´t cooperate. But neither did Bjarne Riis, and he is still there. Valverde didn´t do a thing, and he is still there. Ulrich got a 2 year ban. And the Giro will honor Pantani this year. Hesjedal goes unpunished, having clearly lied about his doping. Tygart isn´t the devil, but he is out of touch and only concerned with Lance. What does Travis think of the Giro honoring Marco Pantani, the year after he gets his man? Ain´t that a barrel of laughs!
Vincent Dimaano 11 months ago
I respect your opinion, and I may have gone over the top with my comments. But, are we comparing (bad) apples to apples here? For the simple sake of argument, let's assume everyone doped which in your opinion makes it an even playing field. Done. The issue I have here is how over the top Lance played up the whole cancer thing. He knew he was cheating and whenever someone brought up the issue of doping, he would use the cancer shield as his defense. How much of people's donations to Livestrong -- which incensed me in finding out did not donate to cancer research -- were used to help cover up his doping, support lobby groups in Congress for political clout, and bully people with multi-million dollar lawsuits? I am extremely ambivalent on the matter and I'm leaning towards a personal opinion of it being borderline fraudulent.
lets ride 11 months ago
And you were most likely a lance fanboy before it cool to hate him!!
Vincent Dimaano 11 months ago
I looked forward to Lance's bumblebee cadence in the time trials, yes. And his ability to climb effortlessly on the mountains. And I hated how Machiavellian he was towards anyone that even remotely got in his way. You win a prize. Do I hate him? I get a queasy feeling in my tummy whenever his pr train tries to put a spin on the entire episode.
lets ride 11 months ago
i agree i hate his pr train also but my point was also that there is a lot of people who bash him on this post who use to b big fans of his when he was winning the tours but now its cool to hate him solets do it i cant git on bord with that he is one of the main reasons i started riding!
James Silva 11 months ago
Let's be clear, USADA is nothing but a NON-PROFIT entity. It's only connection to the US Gov is that it receives funding from them. There is no justice here, and Mr. Tygart has over and over again acted tyrannically. If he wants to catch actual dopers, than he should do it! Why chase around a bunch of middle aged CYCLISTS of all people! Who cycles? College kids and Middle-aged men predominantly. Now, where are the actual dopers, on ESPN every day!! haha, what a pathetic fool that Tygart, although I respect his motives.
bertfivesix 11 months ago
Wait, that couldn't possibly be because USADA doesnt have jurisdiction over NFL/MLB/NBA etc, could it?! Naaaaaaaahhh.... Genuis..
WillieTheWaiter 11 months ago
Ha nice work genius!
Lance, remember Bassons? 11 months ago
Berfivesix - unfortunately James Silva is indicative of many of the contributors to these forums, completely lacking in knowledge and facts, same as auzreskies and maxmartin to name a few. Where is Heckler btw?
DjangoFurioso 11 months ago
I miss Heckler. We was always always good for a laugh.
epofuel 11 months ago
If you are so concerned about FACTS and KNOWLEDGE, then how do you feel about the fact that a guy like Hesjedal goes unpunished? And that the Giro honors Pantani this year? Clear doping in both cases, and nothing done. The fact was that doping was rampant. Rampant. But in light of your screen name, I hope you want the same justice Lance got for ALL OF THE EX DOPING USPS RIDERS as well as ALL the other ex.dopers who are currently running teams or racing. Then, fine with me.
James Silva 11 months ago
Well, I may not know the facts and I don't pretend to… I just think that the whole thing is ridiculous and should be blown over. There are other dopers out there… not in cycling, he's done enough, eh!? We're all tired of reading this on cycling news…
leftbehind 11 months ago
Are we really tired of reading about doping, James Silva? Of course not. Doping articles get more comments than any other articles here on CN.
lets ride 11 months ago
No they govern them selfs and we see how well that works out oh wait it dosent!
Lance, remember Bassons? 11 months ago
silly boy
Vincent Dimaano 11 months ago
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the most pathetic of them all? waaah! I can't compete because I cheated, and threatened people with multi-million dollar lawsuits for telling the truth, and I made hundreds of millions because I played up the whole cancer story, even though I may have gotten it through widespread use of forbidden steroids and substances. Oh, and I helped smuggle drugs across international lines and forced my team mates to shut up and just take it like a man. waaaah! Tygart, you pathetic fool!
epofuel 11 months ago
Vincent, Other than the cancer bit, your post could read like a tribute to the sport of cycling as a whole! These guys have been doping since time began, looking for an edge. Tell me, Vincent, if all of that is so bad, what do you think about the Giro honoring Pantani this year while Lance sits out for a lifetime? Tygart was not wrong to go after Lance, he was wrong to stop at Lance and he was wrong to give all of Lance´s minions a free pass. Give them the same punishment, and all is good.
CTOXYEB 11 months ago
"Athletes from almost every country that we've seen, at different teams, participated in a corrupt culture that took over the sport of cycling for a period of time, and it's why we've been pushing so hard for an independent process to get to the bottom of that culture and finally set the sport on a new path, and to give athletes a genuine choice." I thought he had done that before he published the reasoned decision, since he was able to objectively compare the USPS doping program with all the others: "The evidence shows beyond any doubt that the US Postal Service Pro Cycling Team ran the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen." Source: The Reasoned Decision.
Anonymous 11 months ago
doping program and doping culture are not synonymous. knowing that USPS had the most sophisticated doping program does not equate to knowing why there is/was such a doping culture in cycling.