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Lance Armstrong stripped of seven Tour de France titles
22nd October 2012, 12:24 at 12:24 pm #132262
Huge news in the world of cycling today as seven-times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong is to be stripped of his titles.
He was found not only to have used performance-enhancing drugs but masterminding a network of drug use within his team:
UCI president Pat McQuaid said: “Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling. He deserves to be forgotten.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Armstrong’s fame and popularity has made the news hard to take for a lot of people, who simply refuse to believe it:
I don’t know much about cycling but I’m interested to hear the views of other F1 Fanatics readers on this. Formula One has seen a fair few scandals in recent years but I don’t think there’s ever been anything on the scale of this.
Also interesting to note reaction from some F1 personalities:
Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso were asked about it during the press conference in Korea:
MW: Yeah, disappointing. I was a keen cyclist fan through the early 2000s. But slowly, slowly, slowly, over time lost a little bit of passion for the sport. It has been quite obvious, in the last few years, that this was probably going to come, from people on the inside, but the damn wall has now broken and I think that obviously he was the last tree in the forest they wanted to drop down, and a big tree at that. It’s good that they’re trying to clean the sport up, and even retrospectively, it sends a message to lots of different sports that irrespective of what you’ve achieved and how you’ve done it at the time – first of all, it’s a good message – the karma, we’ll come and get you.
FA: The same. Nothing really to add. Obviously I love cycling, I love bicycles and sure Lance was more than another rider, he was some kind of idol for many people and inspiration for many of us and many media people in the world. It’s not easy and I think he will remain an inspiration for many people, whatever happened, whatever the result. Not easy to put together all things.22nd October 2012, 12:42 at 12:42 pm #213320
The thing I find the silliest of all is that suddenly Armstrong is the big villain, whereas there’s no doubt in my mind that every single person that has ever participated in the Tour took performance enhancers of some kind. Look at Tom Boonen, he has been caught with cocaine twice and then I would have to believe he drives thousands of miles across mountains clean? Hell, here in Belgium, the most fanatic cycling country, even amateurs take the stuff, just to beat their mates in the weekends. Pro sports = doping. Yes, motorsport too, don’t be naive.
At least Christian Prudhomme was wise enough not to hand the victories between 1999 and 2005 to Ulrich and the like, who came second, but were equally doped up.22nd October 2012, 12:48 at 12:48 pm #213321
Saw this coming, but I am still surprised. I think Alonso summed it up best with his statement.
I know next to nothing about cycling, but I distinctly remember reading an report outlining the sheer pervasiveness of doping in the Tour de France. The Armstrong case just makes it all the more damning – bribery to evade drug tests is just disgraceful. For such a prestigious event, they really do need to take action.22nd October 2012, 12:48 at 12:48 pm #213322
That’s sad, if you have to cheat to win, then you really are not deserving of anything. If Armstrong did cheat to win, then I think he should go to jail. It is so unfair to the athletes who play clean. Better to have a champion who’s a whiner or a spoiled brat but worked for it than an inspirational cheater…22nd October 2012, 12:51 at 12:51 pm #213323
Armstrong definitely deserves jail time, not because he “cheated to win”, but for bribery and slander.
Follow-up question: are F1 drivers even tested for doping? I mean, of course they are, I read it in FIA reports, but the UCI also “tests” athletes for doping. How serious is it in F1? I have a feeling it’s just a formality.22nd October 2012, 13:15 at 1:15 pm #213324
@necrodethmortem While it is obvious that Armstrong is not the only professional cyclist who has used illegal drugs, he was a hero for probably millions of people. Many considered him to be one of the greatest athletes ever, while actually he is just a cheat, who has won 7 Doping World Championships, instead of 7 Tour de France titles. If both Alonso and Karthikeyan were caught using illegal performance enhancers (or, alternatively, if it turned out that both Red Bull’s and HRT’s cars were illegal in 2011), then who would we pay more attention to? Who would have damaged the sport’s reputation more and made more people upset?
As far as I know, motorsports require different strengths from the athletes that cannot be improved by doping. If that was the normal practice, I think we would have heard more about it and there would have been at least a couple of scandals.
Anyway, ‘everybody does that’ is not a good excuse. We should not legalize or tolerate marijuana or tax fraud just because ‘everyone’ has done that kind of stuff. The same goes for doping in the professional sports.22nd October 2012, 13:22 at 1:22 pm #213325
I wasn’t aware that there are bribery charges and slander… Jail time, lots of it. Plus repossess all his assets and give them to the people who took 2nd place and lost when they should have won. If he’s protected his assets as they usually do, life sentence…22nd October 2012, 13:23 at 1:23 pm #213326
@girts F1 drivers have to stay utterly concentrated for 2 hours straight, while their heartbeat is constantly at around 180 bpm. There are many products out there that could make that a whole lot easier for them. Even snooker players take performance enhancers to stay more focused and make their hands steadier.
I’m not justifying the use of doping by saying that everybody does it, I just think it’s naive and hypocritical to condemn just a few people for it, while the whole system is rotten.22nd October 2012, 13:34 at 1:34 pm #213327
@freelittlebirds Yes, Armstrong threatened quite a few people that knew about his doping. When the wife of one of his former team mates testified in the book ‘L.A. Confidential — Les Secrets de Lance Armstrong’, he made sure that that team mate never got in a pro cycling team again. He also charged the woman for defamation and won, a case which is now being reconsidered, obviously. A masseuse that also testified against him was falsely accused of prostituting herself to “The Boss”.22nd October 2012, 13:45 at 1:45 pm #213328
@necrodethmortem For sure, they take performance enhancers but there are a lot of legal drugs, supplements or whatever and somewhere there is a red line between perfectly legal stuff and doping. And this red line has to be because otherwise sportsmen would just try to ‘outdope’ each other until they died from overdosing or side effects.
I agree that the whole picture should be kept in mind as well but I don’t really know how to resolve the problem of doping in the professional cycling. I have heard that the same organisation, which promotes the sport, is (or was) responsible for making the drug tests as well, which is, of course, absurd.
There have been a few racing drivers that were caught using illegal substances like Tomas Enge (twice, after he had already left F1) and the NASCAR driver AJ Allmendinger this year but I haven’t heard of anything similar in F1.22nd October 2012, 13:56 at 1:56 pm #213329
I’ve got such mixed emotions about this. Of course people who cheat deserve to be punished for what they do but Armstrong was always someone who you wanted to do well when you factored in what he had overcome. For years the likes of Greg LeMond accused him of doping and for years he continued to pass every drugs test he was made to do. Now it’s been proved he was doping…I honestly still cannot believe it.
I was in high school/Uni when he was winning those TdF’s and I watched a lot of his most epic stage wins live on telly, in awe of what this man had done, in awe of what the human body could do. The fact that those wins (a) were gained through doping and (b) have now been wiped from the record books really does make me incredibly sad.22nd October 2012, 14:07 at 2:07 pm #213330
I remember watching Landis’ “epic stage win” in 2006, where he made up several minutes after an “off-day” (probably because he didn’t take anything because he was warned about a test) and I never had any illusions that that performance was “real”. At least that time it didn’t take so long for him to be stripped of the title.
The Tour has never been “real” and it never will be.22nd October 2012, 14:23 at 2:23 pm #213331
Unless i have missed something hasnt he just refused to take the test? I didnt think that he ever actually got caught?22nd October 2012, 14:31 at 2:31 pm #213332
@necrodethmortem The difference with Landis was that he won, got drug tested, failed and then was stripped of the title. Armstrong won again and again and again, always passing the drugs tests so everyone, including me, thought it was legit.22nd October 2012, 15:04 at 3:04 pm #213333
I wonder if he gets to keep all the millions he’s made as a result of cheating? Also how did he get away with it for so long? I’m not a cycling fan so I don’t have any emotional attachment to Armstrong or sport in general, so I can easily say that this is disgraceful and this will really hurt the image of cycling. I hope nothing like this ever happens in Formula One or any other sports I enjoy.
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