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Cycling News and Opinions
Unfair and Unbalanced
May, 2011

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories

May 25: The storm from Tyler Hamilton's interview on 60 Minutes hasn't started to calm down. Looking at many of the post-interview blog and web site postings, my first takeaway is that no one had his mind changed. Those who think Armstrong used performance enhancing drugs saw the interview as merely confirmation of what they already knew. Lance's stalwart fans saw and heard a liar who hadn't told the truth since his doping positives, just as they said Emma O'Reilly (Armstrong's masseuse), Frankie and Betsy Andrieu, Floyd Landis, Stephen Swart and others were liars. Greg LeMond was castigated as a pathetic, jealous has-been. Reporters, newspapers, magazines, etc going back to L'Equipe's revelation that Armstrong's 1999 Tour samples contained EPO have been branded as unethical. Everyone who raised his hand with a question was characterized as stained with evil and guilty of impeding Armstrong's noble work of using his athletic celebrity to fight the scourge of cancer. Trolls, Armstrong called them.

A Los Angeles radio station did an informal survey and found what anyone who has been on a club ride probably already knows: 40% believe Tyler's accusations that Armstrong used PED, 20% believe Armstrong was clean and 40% believe Armstrong doped but really hope it isn't true.

Among the more fascinating revelations of the interview was Hamilton assertion that the team that became US Postal already has a systematic team-run doping program in place before Armstrong joined them.

And then there is the assertion of that the UCI covered-up an Armstrong doping positive in the 2001 Tour of Switzerland, a claim Floyd Landis previously made. The UCI said that it "categorically rejects the allegations made by Mr. Tyler Hamilton, who claims that Lance Armstrong tested positive for EPO during the 2001 Tour of Switzerland and had the results covered up after one of his representatives approached the Lausanne laboratory responsible for analyzing test results from the event". But later in the release comes the weasel language: "The UCI can only confirm that Lance Armstrong has never been notified of a positive test result by any anti-doping laboratory." Hardly categorical, eh?

So, the Armstrong fans are now forced to believe that Tyler Hamilton has concocted a fantastic set of lies and in telling them to the feds is willing to face a long prison term when his untrutchs are uncovered. And, there is a near certainty that George Hincapie has told the feds about team doping.

There is a tool in logic called Occam's Razor: Plurality must never be posited without necessity. In other words, we should tend towards the simplest explanation that fits the facts. When you hear hoof beats do you think zebras or horses?

If you would like the case as seen from the Armstrong side, here is the site that Armstrong's counsel has referred to.

May 21: By now everyone knows that Tyler Hamilton is going on 60 Minutes on Sunday to say the same things Floyd Landis said, that the Postal team doped and that Armstrong participated. Furthermore, 60 Minutes is expected to leak that Armstrong's long-time friend and teammate George Hincapie has testified to a grand jury that he and Lance Armstrong used EPO and testosterone.

I'm going to wait until I see the show before commenting except to note that Armstrong's PR pit bulls usually engaged in vicious ad hominems against any of the people who have said that they in some way or another had evidence that Armstrong had used performance enhancing drugs. Some of America's finest journalists, working for Sports Illustrated, the Wall Street Journal and now CBS News have also been the recipients of hits.

Now, with one of America's most beloved cyclists caught up in this mess, Armstrong's attack machine has to attack the messenger (CBS News has had an ethics failure) rather than Hincapie.

I wonder how many people have to come forward testifying to what they saw or did at Postal and Discovery before reason prevails? Is it five? We're well past that. 10? 50?

It's all beginning to sound and look a bit like Richard Virenque (of Festina scandal fame), who unbelievably denied doping in the face of overwhelming evidence until he looked ridiculous. By the way, like Armstrong, I don't think Virenque ever had a doping postive, but if Virenque ever had a doping positive please shoot me a note.