The mud keeps flying as Lance Armstrong’s alleged doping schemes have been described as the most elaborate and successful example of cheating in modern sports history. Armstrong’s previous assertion that the case against him was a “unconstitutional witch hunt” has taken a further hit as the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has put their money where their mouth is by naming 11 former teammates as key witnesses in a report detailing the step by step process Armstrong followed on the way to winning his seven Tour de France titles.
The cooperation of former teammates has substantiated USADA Chief Executive Travis Tygart’s ‘witch hunt’ and shattered cycling’s code of silence. Former teammates and associates George Hincapie, Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis feature prominently, elaborating on Armstrong’s relationship with the banned doctor and alleged doping king pin Dr Michele Ferrari, the drug test tip-offs, and pressure placed on team riders to enlist in Armstrong and Ferrari’s program. It’s all pretty grimey stuff with evidence mounting that not only shames Armstrong but casts a shadow over the sport as a whole . Hincapie released a statement on Wednesday with several damning admissions:
Because of my love for the sport, the contributions I feel I have made to it, and the amount the sport of cycling has given to me over the years, it is extremely difficult today to acknowledge that during a part of my career I used banned substances. Early in my professional career, it became clear to me that, given the widespread use of performance enhancing drugs by cyclists at the top of the profession, it was not possible to compete at the highest level without them. I deeply regret that choice and sincerely apologize to my family, teammates and fans.
Via NY Daily News
The latest turning of the screws on Armstrong’s revered legacy will be another kick in the guts for fans of Armstrong the cyclist as well as Armstrong the inspirational cancer survivor. In the aftermath of the Armstrong title strip, outraged fans vented their anger at the finding; how could an athlete who has never tested positive be labelled a drug cheat? With the evidence mounting it looks more reasonable that Armstrong avoided detection because he was an exceptional drug cheat with his methods and systems placing him one step ahead of competitors and officials in terms of performance and detection.
In the light of the continual admissions that doping was rife withing the sport and the likelihood that the the sport’s most inspirational figures was a doping mastermind, we’ll leave the final word to the Tour de France organisers, the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO). In reply to where Armstrong’s titles will eventually end up, they said they had “no particular comment to make on this subject.” Yeah, it’s a bit like that.
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