Last Updated : June 02 2010. Please let me know if you have trouble in viewing the writeup, and hearing the audio clips provided below.
A great person once said that history is written by the victor. The one who is smart and cunning, who wins and has the money, who is extremely powerful and has a throng of followers around them, who can literally decide your fate if you turn your back on them...these are the people who have the muscle to bend a true story to their liking and ultimately to their advantage.
It's all too easy to be star-struck watching the hundreds of video clips of Lance Armstrong on Youtube. Its easy to buy a bunch of books written by him and his lieutenants and believe what he invariably asks you to slurp in. And it's easier going with the fan following based around him and his brand and do exactly what they're all doing.
But it's difficult to go out against the tide and exercise some independent critical thinking skills to challenge the root of the system. We're often times lazy to explore or plainly just narrow minded to accept the other half of the story. When we believe in something, we fix it in our world view and build castles around it to protect it. But if castles are built on loose foundation, like the story of the man who built his house on mud, it will topple sooner or later. When it crashes down, that will be a mind-blowing experience.
So what is the other half of the story for those of you who haven't heard at all? Join in this post as I amass together a few facts, figures and audio clips that are absolutely critical if you are to have a "balanced knowledge" of the persona of Lance Armstrong. Some of these I collected over from some who were bold enough to only share, talk and write. By all means, this is a re-pollination of facts but done so as to never let people forget the past. So get yourself a cup of tea or coffee and focus for a while on the 'other side of the grass'.
1. "LANCE ARMSTRONG'S DOPING HISTORY" : This 50 page report challenges us to think about the curious holes in Lance Armstrong's story and his strange attitudes towards doping in general, especially given his stature in the sport. You'll be going "But Why" in little-time.
2. FLOYD LANDIS' EMAIL TESTIMONY : Floyd Landis shocked the cycling world on May 20, 2010 when he confessed to doping via email to UCI. Not only did he reveal how he took the drugs, he also implicated "master tactician" Armstrong and his seemingly evil manager Bruyneel for instructing him on how to use them. Besides, from his firm email, there is little doubt that Armstrong was also on the juice. Read the startling letter below :
3. MICHAEL ANDERSON'S TESTIMONY : Mike Anderson was not only Armstrong's former team mechanic, the man also ran errands for him, maintained his kids toys and bicycles, did groceries for him and his family and performed other manual labor around the cyclists' home property in Dripping Springs. Being so close to Armstrong, you would think he would have an intimate knowledge of Lance's homely affairs, behind closed doors. And sure he did. One interesting account, of several, involved him discovering an unmistakable box of androgen in Lance's apartment bathroom. The friendship and written contracts between both parties quickly turned sour from then on. This court account gives the full details of another one of Armstrong's broken relationships.
4. "THERE IS NO DOUBT IN MY MIND THAT HE TOOK EPO DURING THE 1999 TOUR" : Read on through NYVelocity as reputed exercise physiologist Dr. Michael Ashenden from Australia explains the 6 positives from Armstrong's '99 urine samples with a level of detail you can only imagine. In short, there is 100% certainty that all results from the tests were valid and news stories and other allegations trying to bend this fact is simply misinformation. See Link.
5. "GROSS ERRORS IN CALCULATION OF ARMSTRONG'S CYCLING EFFICIENCY" : PhD Sports Scientists from South Africa elucidate the outright gross errors and measurement inconsistencies in Edward Coyle's battery of tests performed on Armstrong at the University of Texas. This study is suspect not just because of the errors in it, but also for the fact that the paper curiously appeared at a time when Lance Armstrong was suing SCA Promotions in court. And what else? Ed Coyle was a PAID CONSULTANT for Lance Armstrong during that time. In other words, Armstrong was paying him to manufacture some results on paper that would help him win the 5 million dollars. If that doesn't tell you anything, this study is often quoted to others to make believe that Armstrong is somehow magically way off the charts when it comes to pedaling efficiency. That's why he won the Tour de France 7 times, or so they claim. Well, consider that the latest research has blasted this myth apart with a double barreled shotgun. See Link.
6. "AND IN A RELATIVELY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME, ARMSTRONG WAS VISITING FERARRI FOR 3-4 DAYS AT A TIME" : One of the most honest journalists around happens to be showing honesty in return for little money. And our cancer humanitarian called him a "f**cking little troll" while the honest journalist returns only professionalism in his job. In this candid interview with David Walsh at NYVelocity, you learn a few good things going on that are nicely hidden behind the charisma of Lance and the world of pro cycling. Guaranteed that you won't get this in your Texas newspaper. See Link. Alternatively, Mike Anderson, a former personal mechanic of Lance, testified in great detail in court to the elaborate meetings between Lance and the notorious doping doctor. See Link to read the Anderson Report.
7. "WE'VE BEEN FED A PACK OF LIES" : A short interview with Walsh by NPR. Team Motorola had decided to dope like the others and this was gained from inside sources working very closely with the team. "Cycling has gone into the gutter" because of the silence of folks who knew all along the real kind of game going on behind the scenes.
8. "THE SMOKING GUN IS IN LANCE'S COVERUP..." : When your own wife knows something is seriously different as you charge up Sestriere, dragging along another EPO filled black sheep to help him win the 1999 Tour, and when she goes against all odds to come out and be sincere and forthright about the all these events from the perspective of friends who were close to Lance, it makes for a powerful take on the issue. This 1 hour revelation from Betsy Andreu as she spoke to Competitor Radio will shake the castle you had built around your view of Lance...the truthful, kind, charity-driven hero who is known to spark streaks of performance miracles over the course of many years.
9: "STEPHANIE McIlAVAIN AND HER HUSBAND WERE UNDER IMMENSE PRESSURE FROM OAKLEY..." : When your very future career is put at stake because of what you will say in court, you comply so that truth is bent in favor of the manipulator of truth. There is substantiated evidence that people involved in Lance Armstrong's circle in his early days were 'straightened' to say what Lance Armstrong wanted them to say. Fortunately, in a sea of liars, only one woman selflessly stands strong to tell the truth. Here is Betsy's interview in 5 parts with an Irish radio show host.
11. "I WAS IN THAT ROOM AND I HEARD IT, I DEFINITELY WON'T LIE" :Why was Stephanie Mcllavain, an employee of Armstrong's sponsor Oakley so completely shaken and nervous in court? Because she was disgraced as a liar with irrefutable audio proof. Greg Lemond taped a phone conversation with her on September 21, 2004 without telling her, where she went on to candidly admit hearing and knowing the things Lance did in his great pharmaceutical career. That audio, presented below, is not the best in the world, but if the listener gives it the required attention and patience, many disgusting things can be learned about the state of pro cycling back in those days. At one point in the clip, she goes nonchalantly with reference to drug taking, "Its going to be funny to see what George Hincapie's baby is going to look like." Horrible.
3. Ed Coyle's Error Prone Research : "Improved Muscular Efficiency Displayed As Tour de France Champion Matures", JAP (2005)
-"Delta efficiency Calculation In Tour de France Champion Is Wrong", Ashenden et.al, JAP (2008)
-SIAB : Dr. Michael Ashenden Bio
-"Scientist : My Research On Lance Armstrong Was Flawed" : NYTimes Daily
4. Lance Armstrong's Blood and Urine Testing Results : August 2008-July 2009
-NYVelocity : Interview With Armstrong's Bio-Passport Critic, Jakob Moerkeberg
5. -4 Part Analysis - "Lance Armstrong Meets BioPassport: Reticulocytes Difficult to Explain"
6. How Pro's Defeat Anti-Doping Control : An Article By Joe Papp
7. -Blood Journal : "False-Positive EPO Test Concerns Unfounded" by Don Catlin, Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, UCLA
And for those who're addicted to this post, and still can't get over the urge to push on and learn more...
Below is a closeup portrait of Lance Armstrong's narcissistic, temperamental personality. This, most people knew from a long time back. But even the latest news reports confirm that his is an attitude that hinges on deliberately creating conflicts and tension among people, even if its in his own team! This is his strange way of inflicting psychological wounds on people he doesn't like, his way to disintegrate an opponent.
Besides, he's also one of the smartest guys in the room, and knows very well how to get around the system. The following observations are from Cédric Vasseur, a former teammate who rode for him in Team US Postal. Credits for the quote go to the book From Lance to Landis by renowned journalist David Walsh. Every real cycling fan must have read this book at least once. Investigative journalism doesn't get better than this.
Note : This blog will always remain democratic, so feel free to voice your opinions after you have read and heard the above post.