Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Game-Changer in the Armstrong Doping Case?

Cyclingnews.com is reporting (here) that Lance Amstrong's former teammates George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, and Jonathan Vaughters have admitted to doping and implicated Lance Armstrong. They all allegedly have accepted six-month suspensions, after the current season ends, in exchange for their testimony.

If true, their testimony could sink Amstrong. It's certainly much stronger than any physical evidence that's been released so far, let alone the testimony provided by admitted dopers and liars Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis.

But is it true? Jonathan Vaughters has denied that any employee of Slipstream Sports (his organization) has been given a six-month suspension for anything. George Hincapie also issued a (somewhat more tepid) denial. Moreover, I've never before heard of any anti-doping agency handing out delayed and reduced sentences to admitted dopers in exchange for their testimony. Finally, the story, which initially appeared in the European press (which always likes to explode bombshells during the Tour de France) has not been confirmed by USADA or any other anti-doping agency. In fact, the USADA has responded to today's report by saying that no actions have yet been decided concerning any individual riders, and any rumors concerning such riders are purely speculative and should not be credited (see here).


Remember the bottom line: this is not about whether Amstrong doped or not; it is about whether he can be convicted of doping. If today's story turns out to be true (still a big if), then the answer changes from an almost definitely not to a probably yes.

1 comment:

  1. I wouldn't be surprised if the source used to confirm/identify the "rumor" of bans for interviewees came from the defendants camp. They have been quite particular in smearing the evidence of witnesses whom may receive leniency for testimony. Considering that this is a common practice in criminal law, shows that the defendants have a warped sense of justice, rules and what constitutes acceptable conduct.
    In my mind, the accusation of stand over tactics and coercion is more likely than anyone actually have cheated.
    A final point which may well be pertinent is that young men often big note themselves and fabricate truths about achievements or beliefs (Just look at any randy twenty something talk about his sexual conquests / prowess).
    It could be feasible that the riding defendant lied about using to EPO or Doping to teammates to get them to accept the method within the team, but never used himself...

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