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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Floyd Landis admits to doping and other allegations

Floyd Landis - I doped.  Admission and allegation
"I want to clear my conscience," Landis said. "I don't want to be part of the problem any more.
Just a quick post to bring to your attention the following big news from cycling.  The Wall Street Journal (I only point this out because the WSJ is one of the most respected papers around, not a tabloid, because had I seen this elsewhere, I'd be skeptical) is reporting that Floyd Landis has sent a series of emails to officials within US Cycling and the IOC in which he has:
  • Admitted to doping.  He says that he began with testosterone patches, then progressed to blood transfusions, EPO, and a liquid steroid, taken orally.  Upon leaving the US Postal team in 2006, he requested support from his new team, Phonak, to continue the same blood doping programme.  The Phonak manager, Andy Riis, is alleged to have provided funding to do this.

  • Alleged extensive doping, as well as encouraged doping from Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel.  He explains how on training rides, Armstrong would explain the process, how to avoid detection and what worked and how.

    His reported words were: "In the same email, Mr. Landis wrote that after breaking his hip in 2003, he flew to Girona, Spain—a training hub for American riders—and had two half-liter units of blood extracted from his body in three-week intervals to be used later during the Tour de France. The extraction, Mr. Landis claimed, took place in Mr. Armstrong's apartment, where blood bags belonging to Mr. Armstrong and his then-teammate George Hincapie were kept in a refrigerator in Mr. Armstrong's closet. Mr. Landis said he was asked to check the temperature of the blood daily. According to Mr. Landis, Mr. Armstrong left for a few weeks and asked Mr. Landis to make sure the electricity didn't go off and ruin the blood. George Hincapie, through a spokesman, denied the allegations".

  • Called anti-doping processes a "charade".  He claims that he once helped team-mates Levi Leipheimer and David Zabriskie take EPO before a Tour of California race, and explained in his emails how this was possible without being caught.
You can read the WSJ article here.

And CyclingNews have what seems to be the actual emails written by Floyd Landis, though I can't vouch for their authenticity.  And then just in, ESPN have actually interviewed Landis and obtained his confession independently.  That piece, along with initial and predictable responses from the UCI, can be read here.


The implication - same revelations, different context?

There is obviously much to be said on this latest allegation.  Allegation is nothing new in cycling, of course.  But these kinds of allegations have historically been made by bike mechanics, physiotherapists, and disgruntled team-mates or rivals who usually are dismissed as having a hidden agenda or financial incentive to do so.

In Landis' case, it's not clear what the purpose may be.  It must be pointed out that WSJ had been unable to obtain comment from any of the other cyclists or men named in the emails - Leipheimer, Zabriskie, Rihs, Bruyneel and Armstrong all could not be reached.

Also, the WSJ have stated that the claims could not be independently verified.  However, I know the WSJ and the reporter who did the piece, and I know them both to be quality sources, and so I would take these allegations very seriously indeed.  ESPN have also obtained the same confession telephonically, so at least we know it is not a hoax with someone else passing themselves off as Landis.  In Landis' words, the confession comes because he was suffering psychologically from years of deceit, and that he had become a cycling pariah (if he thought he was a pariah, he's now entering a whole new world of being shunned by cycling by alleging others' involvement.  The UCI, Armstrong and others will be vicious in their condemnation of Landis).

What is most striking is that disclosure in cycling is very rare from within the sport.  Landis is the highest profile rider to confess, and also his confession comes off years and years of denial.  That alone is enough to spark curiosity, maybe even skepticism, regarding the motives and reasons for the confessions.

I'm sure the story will have legs.  I hope it does.  This kind of admission is long, long overdue, and if it can be verified (which is the next step), then it should be taken very seriously indeed.  Floyd Landis offers cycling the prospect of disclosure.  We wrote a piece on doping in cycling recently, and a number of readers were very defensive, saying that cycling has done the most to combat the problem, and had cleaned up its act.

Floyd Landis has called those efforts a "charade".  I agree with him (or whoever alleges he said it), because cycling's current efforts to clean the sport have been driven by market forces, nothing else.  The sport began to clean up when the media and sponsors started to say that they had had enough.  Then, spurred by the financial threat of lost sponsorship and media exposure, efforts were made to clean up a problem that before had been dismissed as "small".  Certain federations stood alone in their genuine attempts to keep the sport clean, but from the top, it was indeed a charade.

I hope that Landis' claims, if they can be verified, drive further efforts in that regard, and they are not dismissed as being "sour grapes" or "tabloid journalism".  Indeed, this has already begun to happen.  We've just received a mail from Joe, with this link, in which Pat McQuaide (the head of the UCI, who, incidentally, is the man who denied that cycling had a doping problem until all its money started retreating and the media refused to cover it) has said the following:

"What's his agenda?  The guy is seeking revenge. It's sad, it's sad for cycling. It's obvious he does hold a grudge."  McQuaid said he received copies of the e-mails sent by Landis to the U.S. cycling federation, but declined to comment on their contents. He said Landis' allegations were "nothing new."

"He already made those accusations in the past," McQuaid said. "Armstrong has been accused many times in the past but nothing has been proved against him. And in this case, I have to question the guy's credibility. There is no proof of what he says. We are speaking about a guy who has been condemned for doping before a court."


Let us not pull any punches here - Pat McQuaid is as much part of cycling's problem as Armstrong, Bruyneel and others are alleged to be.  As the highest ranking person in the sport, his response should surely be to investigate the allegations, regardless of their source, and then to make an extreme statement afterwards.  If the allegations are true, then he must act, and act very, very seriously.  If they are shown to be false, then he must act to condemn the slander and to defend the image of the sport.

Instead, what we have from this poisonous organization is a response that simply dismisses the allegations, just as they have done in the past.  It is not the first time the response has been such, and it will continue in this vein, particularly from Armstrong, who has in the past ripped into high-quality journalists like David Walsh and Paul Kimmage, for their efforts to expose cycling's cancer (and yes, I use that word with full understanding of its historical implications in the context of this debate).

Time will tell what emerges from this article, but I am hopeful it is further revelation.  Who else will stand up and be counted? 

Ross

56 Comments:

Joe Garland said...

From http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/cycling/news/story?id=5203604:

UCI president Pat McQuaid questioned Landis' credibility in a telephone interview Thursday with The Associated Press.

"What's his agenda?" McQuaid said. "The guy is seeking revenge. It's sad, it's sad for cycling. It's obvious he does hold a grudge."

McQuaid said he received copies of the e-mails sent by Landis to the U.S. cycling federation, but declined to comment on their contents. He said Landis' allegations were "nothing new."

"He already made those accusations in the past," McQuaid said. "Armstrong has been accused many times in the past but nothing has been proved against him. And in this case, I have to question the guy's credibility. There is no proof of what he says. We are speaking about a guy who has been condemned for doping before a court."

Ray said...

Very interesting indeed.

I hope one of the things that we find out if Armstrong is worth the chair (or bicycle seat) he sat on.

You guys once promised to provide a detailed review of Michael Ashenden's interview. I know you guys have day jobs, but now might be a ripe time to dust off that item.

hendrik said...

Ross, I agree with you that this could be a ground breaking moment for professional cycling if all of these allegations are true.

However the fact that he finally came clean does not really surprise me. If you watched him winning the Tour that year certain things pointed to Performance enhancing drugs. Being able to completely murder a mountain stage after a tough stage the previous day will raise eyebrows. The UCI has struggled to control this since the emergence of professional cycling.

Why did he wait so long to do this? Also he won the TDF in another team.
The one thing that stands out is that all the cyclists involved are American and Rihs, Bruyneel are some of the best sporting directors in professional sports.

The one issue that has always been with Armstrong is his relationship with Dr Michele Ferrari.

The timing is odd as the Tour of California and the Giro D'Italia are on. Will sponsors stick with Armstong if he is a supposed performance enhance user? I doubt it...

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

Hi folks

Thanks for the quick responses. Joe, I've used that article and actually edited the original piece, thank you very much.

What is most disturbing about the response is that the head of the UCI, who is the highest ranking guy in the sport, should not be so quick to jump to one side or the other on this kind of controversy. If his response was the exact opposite "We'll get these dopers now", then I'd be equally concerned.

Surely the man in such a position must be prudent in his responses. He should be saying something like "We will investigate these latest allegations with utmost diligence, and we take very seriously that such allegations are made. If they are found to be true, we will act. If they are found to be false, then we will act against those who have slandered the sport".

But to come out straight away and condemn them is a sign of the "charade". And I've just read that one of Landis' allegations is that Armstrong tested positive in the Tour of Switzerland, but then reached a financial agreement with Hein Verbruggen to keep it quiet! That is sensational news, and it requires investigation, not dismissal like McQuaid has done. Make no mistake, McQuaid is a massive part of the problem.

To Ray:

Yes, indeed, maybe it is time! I can barely remember that series, it was so long ago!

To Hendrik:

Don't hold your breath. The sponsors will stick with Armstrong until it is proven, because a vast majority of the public cannot join the dots and see the obvious implications that exist when so many different sources are alleging the same thing.

To us, who follow closely the sport, it's another layer in what is now a massive body of evidence - you've hit on 2 of them - the American link, and the Dr Ferrari link.

However, to most, these are easy to dismiss as isolated allegations. Only when you are involved do you see that they are not isolated at all, but all linked.

The sponsors will probably stick with it until the gun is not just smoking, not just in the hand of the man who pulled the trigger, but being placed against their own temples by him.

Thanks for the comments!
ross

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid the cover has finally been lifted on all the doping participants and it looks like Armstrong was a fraud. It's time to take off all those yellow bracelets. I won't support a cheater.

Experthasbeen said...

We should not underestimate the power of guilt. Especially after years and years of denial. I can't imagine that either Landis or Hamilton have slept well over the last several years. If you look at Landis' racing over the last two years it is obvious that something was bothering him.
A good man's conscious may allow him to cheat for a time, but eventually this will torment him until he confesses the truth. This admittance by Landis is his ticket to living a better life, at least mentally. I really hope things improve for him now.

NL said...

What do these "allegations" from Landis actually "prove"? Nothing.

Have you read the actual details he provided? In one incident, he claims that after a stage, the team bus stopped at the side of the road while pretending to have engine trouble. The entire team then sat on the bus for an hour and everyone got a transfusion. And this was done in front of the bus driver. Does that sound legit to any of you? Really?

Lance had everything to lose if caught doping. If he is simply the greatest doper who ever lived, is this how he got away with it? By doping openly in full view of his entire team? In front of a bus driver? Really? You believe that? Or you want to believe that?

Cameron said...

For "scientists", you are remarkably partial when it comes to cycling. You (fairly) criticize McQuaid for not considering these charges as the truth, yet you are apparently unwilling to consider that they might be false.

If the emails on cyclingnews are true, then Landis accuses everyone of doping, all of whom claim otherwise. There is no court in which the unproven testimony of a single accuser would be accepted over the contrary claims from a legion of others. Except, of course, in the court of Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas, where nuance, balance, evidence, and procedure are all ignored in favour of opinion, bias, and innuendo.

Anonymous said...

I disagree that cycling has a problem. I submit that sport has a problem. Where is your righteous (and rightful) indignation for aquatics, athletics, gymnastics, football, american football, baseball, hockey?

I was recently told by a highly placed official in american cycling that every test costs $200, but every positive test costs at least $200,000. They don't want to know, because they can't afford it!

Brett said...

I am interested to know what the percentage of improvement a cycler has with doping. 10%? 25%? 40%?

Now if its anywhere near 30-40% its highly doubtful that Lance can beat them all without doping.(especially having battled cancer)

Anonymous said...

Look I don't know how big a problem doping was and probably still is in cycling. I suspect a lot of what Floyd is saying could be true... but a lot of it is also highly suspect.

Of course Pat McQuaid is going to be defensive... he has been accused of accepting bribes to cover up false tets. True or not and lets say it isn't true.. how is he supposed to believe anything else?

Also, Paul Kimmage may be a respected journalist, but I also hear he can be a world class jerk. Ask Joe Parkin (who has been refreshingly honest about doping in cycling) all about Paul Kimmage.

Steffan said...

People go on about how Lance has been tested so many times and not been tested positive, but that is way too narrow minded. Look at Marion Jones, she has been tested a ton of times, never got a positive result during all those glory years. THERE ARE WAYS TO BEAT THE SYSTEM. And it has been shown again and again in so many sporting codes.

Anonymous said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greg_LeMond

scroll down to the part about lance

LeMond is someone I respect in the cycling world. plenty of guys are brainwashed by the lance-brigade

bman said...

Look carefully at history. EVERY single rider who was a client of Dr. Ferrari HAS been convicted of doping ACCEPT for Lance Armstrong. The list is so long I can't even remember them all... here are a few (Hamilton, Botero, Vino..., Basso, DiLuca, Ullrich) Other huge names like David Millar, Ricardo Ricco, "The Chicken", etc... Moreover, people like Lemond have been screaming it for years. Walsh, Kimmage and Voet have books clearly stating exactly how it happens and quoting many examples of not only the doping practices but how to beat the tests. Just last month another rider said in VeloNews that there was no need to test his B sample as he was doped. He said he forgot to drink his LITER or water in order to beat the EPO test at the end of the stage. I'm personally proud of Floyd for doing the right thing. The truth hurts and his life is already in ruins. He knows that this will make it worse but he doesn't care. I say bravo Floyd. At least YOU can go to the grave with some self respect now.

Dave said...

Regarding "supporting a cheater" (as a previous commenter said.

A distinction should be drawn between supporting Lance and supporting his organization. Lance might be a cheater - that's TBD. What isn't TBD is that his organization helps people.

A family member of mine has cancer, and reading Lance's book helped him significantly. Every morning when he puts on that yellow band, he feels better. True, finding out Lance is a cheater might damage that in some way, but the idea of "Livestrong" goes beyond Lance now.

Anonymous said...

>Lance might be a cheater - that's
>TBD. What isn't TBD is that his
>organization helps people.

Brilliant: The end justifying the means :(

Anonymous said...

No one believes Floyd.

NL said...

bman wrote: "Look carefully at history. EVERY single rider who was a client of Dr. Ferrari HAS been convicted of doping ACCEPT for Lance Armstrong."

So your argument comes down to guilt by association?

Don't we need to take Landis' allegations with a grain of salt? Here's a man who spent his life savings -- some $2 million -- to challenge his positive doping test. Now, having wasted his savings and needing a payday, he comes forward with doping allegations for a new book. In the news stories that I read, Landis admitted that he had no proof to back up allegations. (He also said that he planned to write a new book.) It’s basically his word against the word of those he’s accused. And Landis’ word isn’t worth much.

Anonymous said...

The accusations leveled by Floyd Landis are pure crap. This is a guy who basically stole money from people to fund his defense that he now states was a charade. Do people really believe that a whole team of riders, in front of support staff and a bus driver, dope on a "lonely mountain" road and this is the first that we would hear of it?

Landis says whatever he needs to say at the time to help Landis.

If he really was legit, he would have waited to go public until after the authorites conducted an investigation, but wait, according to him those authorites are a charade.

How long until we have a Landis book avaible for 19.99 on Amazon and he can then climb out of the financial hell hole he finds himself in?

And to throw Hincapie under the bus is an absolute disgrace.

Gene said...

As the comments indicate, snitches are not popular, especially when icons are implicated.

One thing Landis claims in the ESPN interview is that the test that lost him his TdF title was actually a false positive for reasons he doesn't understand, that he was using hGH not testosterone that season. Possible explanation?

Gene said...

I neglected to mention that ESPN reports Landis as saying that he "has kept all of his journals and diaries and has offered to share them with U.S. anti-doping authorities." If true, it would be powerful circumstantial documentary evidence.

Simon said...

2008 (or whenever):
Landis: "I didn't dope and no one around me was doping either."
McQuaid (UCI): "He is a lier; you can't believe a word he says."
2010:
Landis: "OK, I admit it, I was doping, but so was everyone else".
McQuaid: "He is a lier; you can't believe a word he says."

Edla said...

What strikes me here is how so many seem to gasp like Landis would have said something new. Joerg Jaksche and Patrik Sinkewitz have told the same stories publicly in national media in Germany years ago. And their were riders basicly at the same level as Landis. JJ tells how he was obliged to move from Epo to blood transfusion like Landis now does. Using HGH as a booster to epo has been a long doping tradition. Only news here is how Landis knots Armstrong tightly into doping. And even reveils Armstrong´s Agassilike cover up procedure. If there have still been qualified people around who think that Armstrong has done everything as a clean sportsman, they must also believe in Santa Claus. HGH has been there free to use for 25 years and epo was free (without risk being caught)until early 2000 and of course they have been used by those who have won most.

Martin said...

[SARCASM MODE ON]
Brilliant quote from anon here: "Do people really believe that a whole team of riders, in front of support staff and a bus driver, dope on a "lonely mountain" road and this is the first that we would hear of it?"

ffs!! how can someone claim this is the first we've heard of it? You've got to be one of the kids kept in by Josef Fritzl! Either that or you're on Lance's payroll

Ross Tucker said...

To Cameron:

Thanks for your post. I must disagree with you on a number of fronts. Firstly, I believe I was partial in this post. Numerous times, I pointed out that the WSJ article had yet to be verified independently. In fact, I went out of the way of the post to point this out - the story existed, it had been confirmed that at least Landis' had come forward with the accusations (rather than being 'framed' for making them).

I said countless times that time will tell what comes of these accustations.

Yes, I am biased. Never said I wasn't. In fact, your criticism is one I've heard over and over and over, whenever I post something that people disagree with, they beat me with the "scientist" and impartiality stick. It's old news now.

What I am saying in the post is that Floyd Landis has made extraordinary claims. I believe there to be merit in his argument, because of his background and because he really has little to gain by sending emails to the US cycling authorities. If he was a money fiend, he could have sold the revelations, or written a book.

I believe that we should be asking serious questions. A scientist might well ask these questions, and seek to discover the truth, as I'm sure you will agree. I would like the truth. What I don't want is to be told that I lack objectivity for reporting what up to now, are the facts.

I'm sorry my biases disagree with yours, but I am not sorry they exist. The more important question is whether your own biases might be obscuring the truth? I am interested only in that.

So please, don't confuse your personal disagreement with my views with the accusation that we are a court which seeks to condemn people. We aim to have the first word, not the last. You need to ask what that last word might be.

Ross

NL said...

Gene wrote: “[S]nitches are not popular, especially when icons are implicated.” Your implication, Gene, is that Landis is a whistleblower and can prove his allegations. Landis has no proof. He has his word, which isn’t worth much.

Martin: The point “anonymous” made is a good one, i.e., if Armstrong and his teammates were so careless and stupid with their doping – and it would be pretty careless and stupid to get a transfusion in front of your entire team and the flippin’ bus driver – why is it that no one has made these same allegations about Armstrong until now? Are we to believe that the UCI investigators and French reporters couldn’t have gotten to the bus driver, and got this story from him years ago?

Ross Tucker: You conveniently ignore Landis’ comments that he IS going to write a book, detailing his “allegations.” No doubt his “diaries” will be fodder for his book. Landis has a huge financial incentive to write a book. He’s blown his life savings on his lawyers, fighting his dope case. He can’t hope to make money as a professional cyclist. The book is his only hope at a payday. He’s desperate. I’m sure his publisher, agent, or business manager thinks Landis’ recent comments are good publicity for the planned book.

I’m not saying Armstrong has never doped. I’m saying Landis’ allegations, without more, prove nothing. Landis’ diaries may lend some credibility to his story, but that may depend entirely on the format in which he kept the diaries.

Martin said...

NL: The point is these allegations have been made before. Books have been written about it! You clearly don't follow cycling.

elbowspeak said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
elbowspeak said...

Blogger elbowspeak said...

As Carl Sagan said, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

The question is whether these claims are extraordinary or not. If you don't believe him (he is an extraordinary liar and betrayer, after all, one way or another) you require exhaustive documentation that you'll likely never get. If you do believe him you don't need much evidence at all.

NL said...

Martin: I’m fairly well-versed in the “evidence” against Armstrong. But what is there other than guilt by association, hearsay, speculation, and the “certainty” of cynics?

And who, other than Landis, has claimed to have actually watched Armstrong dope, e.g., to have been on the bus with him while he was getting a transfusion? These are new allegations, no?

Anonymous said...

It is impossible for me to know which cyclists doped and which did not...same with baseball players

But what I find odd is that Hamilton and Landis went to Phonak at different times and had career years and reached that pinnacle they had never previously reached by doping while riding for Phonak

Prior to that they were good..not world champions.......

so why does that fact implicate Armstrong and Hincapie....i think it supports the opposite or Phonak had lousy doctors

but i think it is important to note the career moves of the two to reach the next level

Anonymous said...

actually I think Roberto Heras left discovery and then got caught riding for another team while stepping up to the next level as well

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

Hi all

So many thoughts, so little time to respond.

I apologize for not replying sooner, I've been out pretty much the whole day and had time only to reply to Cameron.

To respond to some others.

I'm going to declare it now, for those who are still indignant at the fact that scientists dare express an opinion. I believe, based not only on Floyd Landis' latest allegations, but on 11 years worth of allegations, plus my own experiences within the sport of professional cycling, that these stories have some merit to them.

I don't commit to saying that they're all true, because I don't know this.

What I was trying to get at in the post is that these are indeed extra-ordinary revelations, because Landis has details, background and context that are unique.

Yes, he is a liar. Yes, he is a doper. Yes, this undermines his credibility. But his story now, given the timing and the fact that there is nothing to be gained from sending emails to the cycling officials, demands that they at least be investigated.

And what I was getting at is to say that simply dismissing them as the lies of a sad, washed up, vengeful has-been is a tactic that was both predictable and regrettable.

The allegations should be verified, yes, but they need to be verified and not simply dismissed. And that is what I think many of you who openly dismiss them are missing.

one of you has written "No one believes Floyd". You're wrong. Many people do, and they should question him enough to investigate. The problem is that people don't wish to know, they don't want to believe and thus don't want to investigate.

Just on the note of "guilty by association": I agree that this should never be grounds for a guilty verdict. However, when the evidence builds up, and association becomes part of the evidence, then it forms a very compelling piece of the puzzle. I suspect that in criminal cases, evidence that is gather is often clinched by an association with an individual who is proven to be involved in whatever criminal activity is in question.

So, my view on this story is that one should not look at Landis' allegations in isolation. By themselves, they are neither true nor false, but they demand attention, and investigation.

Sadly, a lot of people have done the predictable thing and attacked Landis, ignoring his words. Cycling is where it is because of this approach to doping.

Ross

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

to the other anonymous poster who has asked about Sport having a problem, and not just cycling, and why we haven't commented on them:

We have. All the time. The doping problems of athletics, the allegations that Bolt must be doping, the reports on doping among runners and baseballers has been a staple topic here. Not as much as cycling, certainly, but we have not shied away from covering it.

I believe sport has a problem, you're 100% right. But what I was saying here is that cycling has a problem it pretends to want to control when in fact the only driver for its action is the financial risk of not acting! That to me, is the key point - cycling has this reputation for cleaning up its act, which is utter nonsense. It had its own house cleaned by the sponsors and media, despite kicking and screaming.

As for other sports, you're 100% right, there is a doping problem. but it's not cultural, and I believe cycling's is far worse. I believe success is possible in athletics, for example, without doping. I don't believe the same for cycling. This opinion has been formed through my interactions with athletes, who I know succeed despite not doping. I may be wrong, who knows!

Interesting stats re the positive test though, that puts it into quite nice perspective!

Thanks for the comment!
Ross

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

To NL:

Thanks for your well-stated comment, much appreciated.

I think the issue of why these things are not disclosed is partly responded to by Martin. They have been made, along with many others that are similar. There is the famous story, for example, about a delivery of medical products to a hotel which was tracked by a private detective.

Also, regarding Armstrong, the allegations of watching him dope and discovering doping products in his presence is not new. Landis' allegations go further than this, you're right, but they're not new. For example, David Walsh obtained transcripts from the court case where a conversation between Andreu and Vaughters implicated both Landis and Armstrong. That's in the book "Lance to Landis", which I really recommend you read. Contrary to what Armstrong has said using his PR machine, David Walsh is a brilliant journalist and his sources are not tabloid in nature. So the point is, the allegations are not new, just a 'next step' beyond. And understanding that history helps one understand why they're never made.

There are countless people implicated in these matters, but little incentive in the past to look up the drivers or those "bystanders" who might implicate them. And it is mighty difficult to find these guys. For example, I know a journalist who has tried in vain to find the man who delivered medical products to the team hotel in the Tour de France.

And just from my own experience, I travel with a national level rugby team around the world, and in each city, we get driven around in sponsored buses by local drivers. But they drivers change every day, they're different all the time, and so even the company managing these buses may not have records of which driver has which bus on which day, if cycling works in any way like it does when we're in Hong Kong/Dubai/Adelaide/London etc.

So not as easy as that.

But I think there is this cloud of secrecy around the sport that makes it pretty easy to understand why it's never revealed.

Let me ask you this - for years, Tiger Woods was having multiple affairs with women, in hotels where many people passed through. Do you honestly believe that he was able to do everything in private, that his entourage, his caddy, manager, fans, other members of the public would not have noticed things at some point? Yet they never came out...until they came out. That's the nature of the beast.

And in cycling, where silence is a virtue (think "omerta"), it doesn't surprise me one bit that it's never been revealed.

Re the book, sure, I hear you and I expect the book, but as Jonathan pointed out later, these allegations we're discussing now did not come out by design, it was the accidental leaking of emails.

But the key point that I want to make is that even if the motive is money, the allegations require investigation. Not out of hand dismissal as the vengeful ramblings of a sad and washed-up liar.

I think the allegations by themselves carry little weight, but in the broader scheme of cycling, its history, they're very powerful indeed.

Ross

Jim said...

Has anyone read Landis' book? I did and having done so find anything he has to say now as highly suspect, I mean on a really sociopathic level. I know everyone's got a hard on to "out" Lance but if you're going to make the case with Landis, you should have your head examined.

Schlom said...

The most explosive thing out of all this is that Lance Armstrong paid off the UCI to conceal a positive doping test in the Tour of Switzerland in 2002. Unfortunately Armstrong did not ride the Tour de Suisse in 2002. That's a rather large error don't you think? Let's just say he was wrong on the date, maybe it was 2001 when he actually rode and won the race. Do you honestly think it's possible that everyone involved in the bribe and cover-up (not only Hein Verbruggen, head of the UCI at the time, plus some financial people, the drug lab, secretaries, etc) actually kept that a secret? Doesn't the fact that he's making an allegation that is so easy to disprove (wrong date, improbability of keeping it a secret) put up a giant red flag that maybe this isn't true?

Anonymous said...

I'm really pleased that Floyd has come clean and I sincerely hope some of the mud sticks.

The most exceptional thing in the last 24hrs has been the amount of arse covering McQuaid has been doing, that man knows the smelly stuff is about to hit the fan, his next step will be to distance himself.

You have to amire Armstrong's sense of the dramatic...crashing out in TOC just as all this stuff hits the media...brilliant timing!!

Slapshot

Martin said...

schlom: you haven't read it for yourself, have you? Just sticking to the soundbites from the Armstrong camp, right? Have a read of it and you'll it is painfully obvious Landis is not saying that it was in 2002.

zencycle said...

Ross wrote:
"Surely the man [Pat McQuaid] in such a position must be prudent in his responses. He should be saying something like "We will investigate these latest allegations with utmost diligence, and we take very seriously that such allegations are made. If they are found to be true, we will act. If they are found to be false, then we will act against those who have slandered the sport".

He did. From http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/kimmage-landis-allegations-will-decide-the-sports-future

"[Pat McQuaid] also insisted that the UCI will take action if an USADA investigation into Landis’s allegations suggested other riders had cheated. “If they can come up with enough proof from these allegations against any of the riders involved, the UCI will support them 100 per cent in going forwards with that process. But even Floyd Landis has said that he has no proof to back up the statements he’s made."

Also, the tiger woods analogy is pretty bad of a few levels.
a) woods wasn't participating in anything that would be considered 'performance enhancing'.
b) If the entire woods entourage were engaged in sex parties, you might have a point, but it was just him. Landis is accusing not only armstrong, but leipheimer, rubiera, zabrieski, hincapie, michael barry, brunyeel, and the entire administration of the UCI. Was woods accused of paying off the president of the PGA? Think about keeping your emotions in check before writing such drivel, please.

I understand as sports scientist that you have an emotional interest in the cleanliness of the sport, but Landis is a pathetically poor choice for your torch bearer. He doped, he lied about it for 4 years, he took money from his supporters, and after being shunned by ToC, he makes accusations about anyone that ever had any contact with lance armstrong including completely ludicrous claims of a payoff to the UCI and the us postal bus stopping so the entire team could transfuse themselves...please.

Landis' motivations are obvious, and they don't include the best interests of the sport. He is a man of little character and even less integrity.

Schlom said...

Martin,

I actually read that on Cyclingnews although now I see that they aren't saying that anymore. My basic point is that the Suisse allegation is really the biggest accusation. There is basically zero chance that this is true.

Martin said...

Schlom,

you were just as sure about Landis having said that this occured in 2002, weren't you? I think you simply have too much belief in the people at the top of the UCI.

I'd like to bring a quote from Sylvia Schenk, former UCI board member and head of the UCI's ethics commitee, to your attention.

"The UCI took a lot of money from Armstrong - to my knowledge $500,000."

This was as a thank-you for backdating the TUE he got in the '99 Tour de France.

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

To Zencycle

A number of things to respond to from you:

First, please bear in mind the time frames here. The article here was written yesterday, many many hours before McQuaid came up with his latest 'admission' that the allegations might well be serious. So when I made the statement, McQuaid was on record as saying the allegations were baseless, a waste of time, the vengeful rantings of a liar and cheat.

What you have provided a link to is a new report, where McQuaid how now, 24 hours (or more) later adopted a position that I wrote about (as did many others). So your first accusation is mistimed.

The second one re the Woods analogy is a classic argument taken out of context.

What difference does it make whether we're talking about doping or affairs, or a drug deal, a pay-off or bribe, or a bank robbery? The context was to discuss whether those associated, within the circle of 'influence/knowledge' would have spoken out. And my illustration was meant to show that many people can know something to be true without it being revealed by them.

The Woods illustration is different, of course. But it's immaterial to the point, which is that those who know do not always speak. And surely you cannot deny that others will have known what was happening with Woods?

As for it being drivel, perhaps you should leave your emotions aside, or at the very least avoid making an accusation that you are more guilty of yourself.

No where have I said that Landis is the "torch-bearer" - again, these are your words, which is a great way to win a debate. Make the counter argument up and then debate it.

Sadly, I didn't use those words. I said that Landis' allegations were profound in the sense that they took the allegations to a new level, warranted verification and should be taken very seriously indeed.

The "crusade" that you have concocted based on these allegations does not exist. There is history, for one thing. The cycling world has for many years seen similar accusations, as I'm sure you know. These are the latest, potentially most serious ones, but they are not "my choice as a torch bearer" at all.

And finally, why are the claims of a payoff ludicrous? Why is the claim about the bus ludicrous? I'd like to know the basis for your outright and complete dismissal of all those claims. I'm very interested in learning why a pay-off cannot happen. It happened just recently in cricket in India. It has happened in many other sports before. Why "ludicrous?".

Is it because you disagree with them? In which case, "ludicrous" becomes a simile for "disagreeable or offensive to me"?

Final point. What does the person look like who will one day be believed by cycling authorities and people like yourself? Is it a cyclist who has never doped and then alleges doping? Is it a champion who has been caught for doping and then confesses? Is it a journalist who has covered the sport for a decade?

The problem you're in is that all three categories are equally easy for you (and the Armstrong machine) to dismiss. The first is a guy who has sour-grapes because he never won. The second is Floyd Landis who is out for revenge. The third is David Walsh who is accused of being money-hungry.

Cycling will always condemn these people as "untrustworthy". They are either jealous, liars or greedy. No one will listen. But the irony is that the person who should be listened to more than anyone is the guy who has doped, and learned how to do it.

Yet you and many others dismiss them as cheats (which of course, they are). This blind dismissal keeps cycling well and truly in the dark. Let's face it, no one can be believed, as long as they allege doping.

Therefore, doping doesn't exist?

A nice position to be in for the peloton.

Ross

Mike Patton said...

Here's an interesting article on the trends in Grand Tour performance over the last decade (Abstract Link). It talks about a disproportionate increase in the tour-winning average speed from about 1993 until now when compared to the rate of performance increase in the years previous to that.

So far I've only been able to get the abstract, so maybe Jonathan or Ross (or someone else) might like to find it to validate the line of argument. Just thought it might be a well-timed addition to the discussion given the recent re-focusing of attention on doping in cycling.

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

Hi Mike

Thank you for the link, and well picked up!

I actually do know the article - I happened to see it when it was in the review stage, before going to press. These scientists from France have done a number of really cool statistical studies, looking at things like world record performances in athletics, swimming, Olympic medal distributions by line of longitude, and now this.

It is an interesting paper, one that I had "earmarked" to comment on when it was finally published, which it now clearly is. So thanks for bringing that to my attention!

I'm traveling with the SA Sevens rugby team at the moment so I might struggle to do it justice on the trip, but I've definitely got it down to do in more detail. It's a relevant and fascinating topic!

Thanks!
Ross

Anonymous said...

With regard to Mike Patton's post, I know the paper as I was a reviewer and also know and respect the authors well. The paper certainly provides very strong evidence that the recent improvement in cycling performances in European races are due to something other than simply changes in bicycle design. What it means in essence is that to win the Tour de France (or other major European race) in the past 17 years, a cyclist who chose not to dope would have to be 6% better biologically than all previous cyclists in all the history of cycling. I note that in his first 3 Tours Lance Armstrong did not show that he was 6% better than all the other cyclists in the race - in fact his time trial performances were about 10% slower than the race leaders. This could be used as evidence that he was not doping then. But this raises the question of how his performances improved after 1996 and the treatment of his cancer.

Steve said...

I'm not a scientist; but I have received law enforcement interrogation training. Landis's initial denials of doping in 2006, when interviewed immediately following the revelations of his positive test from the TdF (and before being lawyered up), showed many of the classic signs of deception: unable to muster an emotional denial, assumed belief that no one would believe such a denial, and, most particularly, misplaced outrage--his most emotional response was directed to comments about his mother. "Leave her out of this," he said (as memory serves). "She's a saint. She would never get involved in stuff like this." She wouldn't; but he would. That Landis couldn't muster outrage on his own behalf ("Hell no I didn't!") but could for his mother was a clear indicator of deception. Even in his colloquy with Greg Lemond, Landis reportedly said, he was concerned that a confession would only "hurt innocent people." Tellingly, in the Bonnie Ford interview, Landis now says that the hardest part of his confession was calling his mother to tell her the truth.

So I believe that Landis was lying then, and that his confession regarding his own doping is truthful now. And I feel sorry for those who staked their own beliefs, and money, behind his defense. I also believe that the accusations Landis makes against other cyclists (he primarily names Americans in his emails to USA Cycling, as I understand it, because that body is responsible for the licensing of the American pros) are sufficiently credible and specific to merit serious consideration and investigation. I agree with the other posts that note that the details regarding the techniques of doping appear to be corroborated by the available public details of other confessed and contemporaneous dopers such as Patrick Sinkewitz. Any such accusations will, by and large, consist of one person's detailed oral history--mob families have been brought down with less. Contemporaneous training diaries, as Landis suggests he has, could be very powerful evidence.

The sport of cycling has all the financial incentives in the world to push past practices under the rug and try to move on. But the fact that many riders of a dirty past continue to ride in the pro peleton, and have success, points to serious unanswered questions. Just ask the riders who compete against the Vinokourovs, Valverdes, and others of the world. It's time for the sport to clean house.

Anonymous said...

Can I ask Steve a question?

If I was the best cyclist in the world and I was not doping but I knew others were, would I not draw attention to the fact that my closest competitors (who were a threat to my livelihood) were doping?

In other words, is silence on this matter not a sure sign of common guilt (given that we know that many successful cyclists have doped)?

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

To Steve:

Thank you for the post. What a fantastic, clear and well thought out post. We receive some excellent comments here, one of the things I'm most proud of is the level of discussion in the comments, but yours is definitely one of the more insightful ones. The area of understanding interrogation fascinates me to begin with.

Of course, I'm biased, because I agree entirely with your conclusion that Landis' accusations warrant serious further investigation. And I lean towards believing the key elements of Landis' story this time around. There will be errors, I've no doubt, because stories always lose accuracy in their retelling. But the essence, I believe, is there, and it must be investigated.

However, you've hit the nail on the head, when you ask about the sport and its history which has pushed doping under the rug, and that it has serious unanswered questions.

Thank you for your post. ANd I am equally interested in your answer to the question posed of you regarding other riders who are doping.

Then to Anonymous, the reviewer:

Thank you for your input. Exactly right, the paper presents evidence that demands an answer! And it leaves one in no doubt as to what that answer must be! It's well worth writing about, and as I said, I'm looking forward to a gap in the schedule that will allow it!

Thanks for your comments. Feel free to email me directly if there's anything else you think of interest, seeing as how you have perhaps the closest knowledge of that research in the world - ross.tucker@mweb.co.za

Regards
Ross

Steve said...

Ross, thank you for your kind words. I'm glad to be able to contribute. My answer here, in two parts:

About a top cyclist riding clean speaking out about suspicion of others' practices: the history of omerta (the "code of silence") and accusation in the sport suggests otherwise. For example Christian Vandevelde was asked a similar question about his strong ride at the 2008 TdF and the nature of his competitors. Vandevelde said that he didn't know about other riders, he knew that he was riding clean, and so therefore assumed that others around him on GC were, as well. Vandevelde's team published and allowed independent analysis of his year-long profile, to establish Vandevelde's bona fides.

Of course, several of the performances around Vandevelde were not clean--including Bernhard Kohl, who finished ahead of Vandevelde on GC, as well as those of Stefan Schumacher, Leonardo Piepoli, and Ricardo Ricco, among others. But Vandevelde wasn't in position to have evidence of those others' practices. One can imagine the difficulty that a rider might have to make such accusations without proof against a competitor. Given the sordid history of the sport, one might also well imagine how difficult it would be if, say, someone were demonstrably riding clean now, but was aware of questionable practices in one's own past. The riders and professionals associated with the current Garmin-Transitions team, which appears to be among those making the most effort to practice and demonstrate clean riding, are pointedly mute about their own past practices while on other teams. It's the glass houses effect.

Even if always clean, throwing stones would damage the sport, reduce one's own standing as a competitor, and yield little in reward. Ask, among others, Gilberto Simoni, who famously accused Ivan Basso of riding "like an extra-terrestial" at the 2006 Giro di Italia. While not accused of doping himself, Simoni was heaped with scorn and tagged as a sore loser; little was said or done to Simoni's benefit when, just months later, Basso's involvement in the Operation Puerto scandal became clear. Infamously, too, Fillipo Simeoni accurately accused Dr. Michele Ferrari in 2004 of being involved with doping; for his trouble, Simeoni's presence in a break at the TdF was chased down. Simeoni was not rewarded for his accurate accusation.

Steve said...

(Part two)

Typically, knowledge of doping practices appears to come from first-hand knowledge--to know for certain what happened and where, one had to be directly involved. To accuse others with substantial evidence therefore typically means indicting oneself. The track record of cyclists who admit to doping regaining high-level employment in cycling is very poor--they have typically been shunned. The few who have gained some measure of a restored career are the exceptions that prove the rule. Most riders or team professionals with knowledge of doping practices--and there must be many, given what is confirmed about, just as examples, the old T Mobile team, Phonak, Saunier Duval, Festina, and many of the former members of US Postal-Discovery--must weigh the likelihood of ending their gainful employment in their chosen profession, and quite likely risking ruining the careers and endorsements of all of the people with whom they have been associated. Even, and perhaps paradoxically particularly, teams committed to "clean racing" such as T-Mobile-High Road, when faced with the Patrick Sinkewitz revelations, risk sponsor withdrawals over positive tests. The risks are high and the individual rewards are few.

In sum, the nature of the cycling community creates strong disincentive to defect from omerta and to display what one knows about doping practices, even if those practices are in the past, and the defections (those who admit doping practices and supply evidence against others) are, typically, those with nothing left to lose.

Those dynamics are little different from many criminal conspiracies, from drugs to racketeering to white collar crimes like price-fixing. As a prosecutor with the US Department of Justice's Antitrust Division, I worked with agents and fellow prosecutors to encourage witnesses to defect from price-fixing conspiracies and cooperate with government investigations. There, too, the incentive to defect is low and the risks are high--those who admit to price-fixing subject themselves and their companies to criminal fines and imprisonment, as well as treble civil damages. Like in cycling, those individuals who "turn state's witness" can be assured that they will never work in their chosen field again, and that they will be contributing to the ruination of everything and everyone around whom they have worked throughout their careers. The Antitrust Division offers an amnesty program to incentivize defection: immunity from criminal prosecution, de-trebled (single) damages for wrongdoing, legal protection for whistleblowers--even the opportunity for whisteblowers to share in the recoveries of certain ill-gotten gains. The system isn't perfect, but it at least begins to provide incentives for conspirators to defect.

Until cycling properly incentivizes those with knowledge to come forward--for example, with protection from suspension, guarantees of employment on clean teams, and harsh penalties for teams and individuals that do not cooperate--the incentives for those who are dirty, and even those who are clean, to keep what they know silent will remain strong.

Matt E said...

I've spend a lot of time over the last few years reading the articles on this site. Without fail they stimulate some excellent internal dialogue for me. they challenge me. I want to say thanks for the that.

It's very tough for me reading the doping articles, because this is not just an issue for cycling, or for sport in general. It is an issue for humanity as a whole. I so want to believe that my heroes are innocent and completely clean. I need to believe it.

In sport the top athletes are doing everything they can to succeed and reach the top. Their prime goals and major definite purpose is to reach the top of their sport by beating all of their competitors.

Initial entry into the elite club is of course exceptional talent. No-one is questioning this. All of the top athletes today are incredible, regardless of doping or not. You cannot get to the top without having this incredible inate talent.

They are all mentally solid, with incredible drive, motivation and mental strength. I'm sure no-one will question this either.

In this specific case, with the admissions of Landis and his own history, it's important to look at it from a human psychological perspective. I also need to look at it from an impartial perspective, regardless of my awe for the heroes I watch.

Doping when seen from the outside looks like a black and white case. You are either doping or not.

As an athlete it is of course a process that may take place over several years, which has virtually no option to step back and retract what has already happened. It's a path they follow, often not willingly.

When you are involved in something that is happening all around you, you become numbed to the true impact and consequences. You walk the path and acept that it has consequences, and part of those consequences are that it will call your moral standpoint into question multiple times.

I believe Landis is not lying when he said he could see that everyone was doing it, and accepted it as a part of the sport. This justification becomes fully believed by him the individual. They really think they are justified in doing wrong.

Landis just wanted to win, to achieve and to perform against the other top athletes in his sport. It's clear that if he was not doping, he would not have achieved the success he saw. he needed to do this, or acept that all of his hard work and years of effort wouldf come to nothing.

So the dilemma exists to stay completely clean and never win, or to do what everyone else is doing anyway, and stand a chance for glory.

Once inside this viscious circle of moral denial, it is impossible to get out without completely ruining your own reputation, becoming virtually exiled, untrusted and unliked. Who would want that?

You would fight with all energy to prove your own innocence until it becomes clear that it is not going to change anything. this is the point at which Landis released his revelations. So the timing of it is not a surprise to me.

Only when he was at his lowest, with little chance of redemption, did he consider 'the truth' a viable option.

From this perspective, it is why I believe him to be one of the most reliable sources of information, because he no longer has anything to lose by lying.

Matt E said...

I've spend a lot of time over the last few years reading the articles on this site. Without fail they stimulate some excellent internal dialogue for me. they challenge me. I want to say thanks for the that.

It's very tough for me reading the doping articles, because this is not just an issue for cycling, or for sport in general. It is an issue for humanity as a whole. I so want to believe that my heroes are innocent and completely clean. I need to believe it.

In sport the top athletes are doing everything they can to succeed and reach the top. Their prime goals and major definite purpose is to reach the top of their sport by beating all of their competitors.

Initial entry into the elite club is of course exceptional talent. No-one is questioning this. All of the top athletes today are incredible, regardless of doping or not. You cannot get to the top without having this incredible inate talent.

They are all mentally solid, with incredible drive, motivation and mental strength. I'm sure no-one will question this either.

In this specific case, with the admissions of Landis and his own history, it's important to look at it from a human psychological perspective. I also need to look at it from an impartial perspective, regardless of my awe for the heroes I watch.

Doping when seen from the outside looks like a black and white case. You are either doping or not.

As an athlete it is of course a process that may take place over several years, which has virtually no option to step back and retract what has already happened. It's a path they follow, often not willingly.

When you are involved in something that is happening all around you, you become numbed to the true impact and consequences. You walk the path and acept that it has consequences, and part of those consequences are that it will call your moral standpoint into question multiple times.

I believe Landis is not lying when he said he could see that everyone was doing it, and accepted it as a part of the sport. This justification becomes fully believed by him the individual. They really think they are justified in doing wrong.

Landis just wanted to win, to achieve and to perform against the other top athletes in his sport. It's clear that if he was not doping, he would not have achieved the success he saw. he needed to do this, or acept that all of his hard work and years of effort wouldf come to nothing.

So the dilemma exists to stay completely clean and never win, or to do what everyone else is doing anyway, and stand a chance for glory.

Once inside this viscious circle of moral denial, it is impossible to get out without completely ruining your own reputation, becoming virtually exiled, untrusted and unliked. Who would want that?

You would fight with all energy to prove your own innocence until it becomes clear that it is not going to change anything. this is the point at which Landis released his revelations. So the timing of it is not a surprise to me.

Only when he was at his lowest, with little chance of redemption, did he consider 'the truth' a viable option.

From this perspective, it is why I believe him to be one of the most reliable sources of information, because he no longer has anything to lose by lying.

Matt E said...

Cont...

The response from the accused cyclists and the general cycling community was also not a surprise: vehement denial.

What other option do they have, without destrying their own credibility and career? These are the people who have everything to lose, and will deny,deny, deny until they also have nothing to lose.

The critical factor for me is 'moral creep'. Small decisions made over time where your own personal ethics and morality are questioned, and put to the test. I think that in the same situations, I would probably make the same choices they have.

Who amongst us has not stood at a small, empty road and crossed when the light was red? If a police car had been sitting there, we would not have done it.

We make decisions based on what we consider to be the severity of the offence and also the chances of getting caught.

If it looks like a small indescretion, and we are highly unlikely to get caught, we will do it.

Who amongst us has always, without fail, obeyed the speed limit in all situations when driving? Not going 1 single mph/kph above the limit?

Who amongst us has not lied as a child, or an adult?

It doesn't make us evil. I consider myself a decent guy, but have recieved 2 tickets over the last 3 years for cycling on my bike through red lights, after not spotting a hidden police car.

These small moral failures can soon add up. Internally we justify each of them as the right choice. This is how we remain consistent. we also justify them through other actions (well, I went through that red light, but I also helped the old lady cross the road).

Often the size of the justification can give an indication of the moral failures that are being committed.

In the wider world we are promoting foods that cause cancer, obesity and heart failure. We fill our cars with fuels that destroy the planet, cause asthma, kill the planet. We buy the products of slave labor. We sell weapons to people to kill each other. We steal, murder and commit adultery almost universally.

How can we then expect these guys, who strive for so much and with so much passion to stick firmly to a moral code, that I believe virtually no-one can adhere to. Why do we also feel so justified in witch hunting these guys? Does it justify our own small indescretions?

It's clear that cycling is corrupt, and that the top riders are using performance methods that are not considered legal. Just like in virtually every sport where it makes any difference.

It doesn't make them less than incredible athletes. It doesn't make them evil or abnormally lacking in morals. It just makes them normal human beings. Why should we expect anything less from them?

This may sound highly cynical, and maybe it is. I feel quite sad even just writing this. there is so much that is positive and wholesome about life and about people. I'm sure there are many athletes out there that refuse to dope, and take the performance hit that comes with it.

It's said that let the one without sin cast the first stone. Do any of you truly deserve the right to step up and start telling these guys how they should be acting?

So what is the solution? Just having stricted controls to make punishment more likely and more severe? Make testing more watertight and regular?

Can we ever reach a state where no doping is taking place? This seems highly unlikely, and then doubt will always be in the mind of the athlete that your main competitor has an unfair advantage.

Maybe the answer is just quiet acceptance, like world standard body-building. It's just accepted that people are doping, with even a 'natural' version of the sport.

The one thing that ditresses me the most is seeing top cyclists lying through their teeth on a regular basis. I can only imagine that this steadily rots the soul. How can that be a good thing for humanity?

Anonymous said...

Doping affairs in cycling from 1980...well worth a read

http://forum.team-saxobank.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=5013&whichpage=1

From : TeamB

Anonymous said...

>Lance might be a cheater - that's
>TBD. What isn't TBD is that his
>organization helps people.

Brilliant: The end justifying the means :(