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No prosecution of Lance Armstrong

No prosecution of Lance Armstrong

I have followed cycling for many years, and at one point was a pretty good cyclist myself. The family went to Paris in 2005 to watch Lance Armstrong’s last victory ride down the Champs-Élysées (as it turned out it was not his last ride, as he made a comeback but never won the Tour de France again).

On the wall in my office hangs numerous signed photographs by the famed cycling photographer Graham Watson, of cycling legends Miguel Indurain, Sean Kelly, Greg Lemond, Bernard “The Badger” Hinault, Laurent Fignon, and of course, Lance Armstrong, including this photo of his first second Tour de France Stage win when he was on Team Motorola (fyi, that was pre-cancer Lance, note the more muscular upper body):

Armstrong has been under investigation for doping for as along as I can remember, but never tested positive.  Several years ago a number of teammates, including the disgraced Tyler Hamilton (who was caught blood doping), accused Armstrong of doping, which launched a federal criminal investigation.

The investigation now is closed.  There will be no prosecution, as reported by WaPo:

The case against Lance Armstrong is closed. His legacy as a seven-time Tour de France champion endures.

Federal prosecutors dropped their investigation of Armstrong on Friday, ending a nearly two-year effort aimed at determining whether the world’s most famous cyclist and his teammates joined in a doping program during his greatest years.

Armstrong steadfastly has denied he doped during his unparalleled career, but the possibility of criminal charges threatened to stain not only his accomplishments, but his cancer charity work as well. Instead, another attempt to prove a star athlete used performance-enhancing drugs has fallen short, despite years of evidence gathering across two continents.

Does the lack of prosecution prove Armstrong didn’t dope? No, but one has to believe that if there were sufficient credible evidence there would have been a prosecution given the high profile of the investigation.

Until further notice, Lance stays on my office wall Hall of Fame.

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Comments

Isn’t cycling kinda like Nascar for the 1%?

LukeHandCool (who wanted to cycle in Japan in the winter, but the dry, cold wind hurt his eyes and face. So he bought and donned a motorcycle helmet. But the heat from the exertion fogged up the wind shield. And then the wife complained of acquaintances asking, “Is that your husband riding a bike wearing a motorcycle helmet?” Too far ahead of his time once again … foggy wind shield and neighborhood laughingstock status notwithstanding).

Part of Armstrong’s chemotherapy consisted of epo, no telling how long that evidence remains. Considering all the false positives and results oriented investment of the overseers I was never much worried this would not be the outcome.

Awesome understates his achievements.

Or, on the other hand, he was just too sneaky about it to get caught. The stain remains at least to that extent.

    retire05 in reply to G Joubert. | February 4, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    I have a good friend, an artist, who has ridden with Armstrong many times, especially when Armstrong is in Austin and using Mount Bonnell as his practice ground. The friend, who is also an avid biker, is the most straight laced man I know; no drugs, no alcohol, no smokes of any kind and he absolutely abhors anyone who does.

    We had a long talk about Armstrong, knowing my friend’s standards, and the told me that anyone who thought that Armstrong juiced was wrong.

    Armstrong is a bit of a free spirit, but seems to have a certain set of core values that he is not willing to abandon. His relationship with Cheryl Crow was a bit surprising to anyone who knows him because I am sure Crow would have no objections to sharing massive amounts of whacky weed with Willie Nelson. She is also a flaming liberal while Armstrong has tried to remain apolitical. But their relationship seemed to flame out once the initial hotness of the fire burned out.

    Knowing that Armstrong tires his level best to support up and coming young cyclists, he also tries to be a role model to them. Hard work, training, endurance, stick-to-it philosophy, and clean living would not have included juicing. My friends daughter, due to her training and advise from Armstrong is now attending a northwestern university on a full cyclist scholarship.

    I think part of the accusations of juicing were brought on by two groups: one, the TdeF people who could not accept that an American, no less, had beaten them at their own game and two, team mates who felt like Armstrong took away all their thunder.

    I am glad this chapter in Lance’s life is now closed.

      Cowboy Curtis in reply to retire05. | February 4, 2012 at 5:30 pm

      That he’s an American stings, but his being a Texan is what really makes the French crazy. Texas and France, they’re like the polar opposites of humanity.

    gary gulrud in reply to G Joubert. | February 4, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    I remember a story told by a frontrunner(maybe McEwen) who was celebrating New Year’s at a pub and had the notion to call Armstrong to wish him the best. Armstrong was on some mountain in Colorado working on his climbing.

    After the brief conversation, dude hung up and complained bitterly, “Armstrong has just beaten me this year, again”.

I’ve read one of Armstrong’s books (can’t remember the title)’ ,which I highly recommend. It recounts his early history, his cancer treatment and biking successes – very inspirational stuff.

His Livestrong website is an excellent source reference for health topics.

Thats nice. I hope he lives happily ever after.

1. From the WaPo link:

The hurdle for prosecutors wasn’t so much to prove whether any particular cyclist used drugs, but to determine if Armstrong and other team members violated federal conspiracy, fraud or racketeering charges.

This brings to mind Martha Stewart’s conviction for making false statements about something the government couldn’t prove she did. Oddly enough, the federal prosecutors who framed Ted Stevens and cost the GOP his Senate seat weren’t indicted for conspiracy, fraud, or racketeering.

2. Here is more about Ace Gummint Agent Jeff Novitzky, who has been called “a failed athlete with a vendetta”.

3. How can ordinary citizens without Armstrong’s resources cope if some bureaucrat targets them?

Maybe we need a “loser pays” system for frivolous prosecutions. The government pays the successful defendant’s lawyers and the failed prosecutors pay with their careers for wasting the taxpayers’ money.

Maybe it’s because I don’t really care deeply about professional sports but I never understand why the feds get involved in athletes doping or using performance enhancing drugs. If the athlete is using an illegal drug they should be prosecuted like regular people, but if they’re just doing something the sports org objects to, the govt shouldn’t be trying to police them. If their league has issues with something their people do the league should handle it.

    Cowboy Curtis in reply to katiejane. | February 4, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Because its cheap attention with almost no chance for personal embarrassment or consequence. They get to preen (the only effort they actually expend in such instances), look tough on a whole lot of tv, and its a wonderful excuse for them not doing any of the things they actually get paid to do.

This is insane! Why were the Feds prosecuting Armstrong? Roger Clemens? Barry Bonds? Seriously?

Why is everything now a federal crime? Over-criminalization is literally insane. At this very moment, we are probably all violating several federal statutes that are probably felonies. How free are a people who can be prosecuted by an all powerful government any time a federal prosecutor decides he wants to ruin your life?

The worst part of this is that none of the current GOP candidates are likely to roll this back should they win. In fact, the federal government has inserted itself more deeply into our lives every year, year after year, since Lincoln was in office.

We need to restore the concept of limited government and then we need to restore the fact of limited government. And I don’t see any candidate from either major party who is interested in doing so.

I want my constitution back. I want less federal government. I want my liberties restored. And no single major party candidate actually agrees with me…

JackRussellTerrierist | February 4, 2012 at 6:00 pm

The stinkin’ feds are out of control. I’d like to have $.01 for every dollar these vicious idiots waste on these bogus harassment investigations, be it Scooter Libby, Martha Stewart, Karl Rove, the two AZ border agents (Campion & ?), the ranch owners with property in the paths of incoming illegals; the list is endless. The feds just brush their hands, shrug their shoulders and walk away, leaving behind a trail of gigundous legal fees, suspicion, embarrassment, harassment, and sleepless nights for their victims.

Sickening.

Bill,

That shot is actually of Lance’s second TdF stage win, in 1995 when he broke away to honor the memory of his teammate Fabio Casartelli who died on a descent in the Pyrenees that year. His first stage win was actually in 1993 at Verdun, when he was riding for Motorola but was wearing the jersey of the US National Champion that he had won a month earlier.

Geoff

JFK remains an irreproachable American hero, despite the truth about his own doping and carousing, and his family’s back room corruptions to advance Jack’s interests. Yet Lance’s monumental achievements are readily discounted and cheapened by petty agenda journalists. For example ESPN’s take on the prosecution shutdown is shock and then they use unnamed sources to report about how the case against Lance is quite strong. All I can say is that no amount of dope is going to be enough juice to get my legs to pedal this ass up Alp d’Huez — let alone be competitive at it for 3 weeks straight. Maybe Marco Pantani got away with one for a single Tour, but it’s a crime that so many slander Lance’s 7 consecutive yellow jerseys with the notion that they were not earned and they were not spectacular athletic performances.

    WarEagle82 in reply to Mark30339. | February 4, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    JFK was a drug adled sex adict who nearly ignited a nuclear war over Cuba after he bungled a proxy invasion. He also cut tax rates and refused to support civil rights bills.

    It is now plain that he stole the 1960 election through voter fraud.

    He is everything Democrats are today and project upon conervatives…

BannedbytheGuardian | February 4, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Some people are just very good at some sporty things. Lance had Testicular cancer which peaks 17-24 years of age when the testosterone levels are rising fast. It is also a little bit of an indication that the person had some very high levels naturally.

There is a Testosterone vs epis level which in normal males is a set ratio. Outstanding athletes are different & sometimes borderline “fail’ tests until their history is presented.
But true cyclists have a long career. Ullrich was riding as an East German .

The 2010 Tour winner Cadel Evans was a champion BMX rider at 10 .

BTw Lance is also a very good middle 400 m freestyle swimmer & would rank in the top 10 US Masters.

BannedbytheGuardian | February 4, 2012 at 8:44 pm

Make that 2011 winner. 23 years after his first national championship.

Ya gotta have dem knee joints.

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