I’m going to come right out and say that I disagree with the USADA’s lengthy battle against Lance Armstrong and I disagree with his titles being stripped.
Do I think Lance Armstrong was completely clean? Not at all. But the USADA never caught him. No one ever caught him. In my opinion, his statement on the matter implies as much “The bottom line is I played by the rules that were put in place by the UCI, WADA and USADA when I raced” by including the words “when I raced”. But the USADA has spent decades, close to a decade longer than their own rules allow, hunting the guy despite never having a dirty sample while he raced. If it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck…then it’s a duck, or in this case a witch hunt.
Do I think he’s a super great guy? No. Do I think his foundation is great, yes but I think that’s because he has amazing people running it. I think his name does a lot for cancer and I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t agree with that. I also think he’s a super competitive guy who did what he had to do to win. And it seems, based on the fact that his tests were clean at the time, what he did to win was acceptable.
Do I think the USADA even has the authority to require his titles to be stripped? No. I understand where they’re drawing their authority, that the USPS was a team sponsor and therefore it’s a government matter in their opinion. But cycling is an international sport and the US didn’t award his Tour de France titles. I do understand that the UCI is a signer of the World Anti Doping Code, but if they don’t recognize the USADA’s assertion that a lack of a fight implies admission of guilt then why should they strip the titles? Look, looking past what I think is a gross waste of resources by the USADA, they’re not the end all be all of authority. I read an interesting article about the recent NCAA sanctions against Penn State and the author, who was confused by the NCAA’s authority to impose said sanctions, said something along the lines of “There’s a reason that the IRS isn’t out looking for murderers in their spare time. It’s not their jurisdiction” (quote grossly paraphrased and reworded by me). I hope the UCI, who has sided with Armstrong during the investigations, puts up a fight regarding the titles.
I genuinely welcome your respectful thoughts on the matter. Admittedly, I’m not knowledgeable about the history of cycling but I have, for years, said that I think this is a witch hunt and I feel the way this ended supports that opinion.