(2005 Dec blog post, with updates)
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Lance Armstrong and doping in bicycling
After Lance Armstrong won the overall championship in the Tour de France (2005) for his 7th consecutive Tour de France overall-championship title, a French newspaper managed, in 2005, to get some old, backup blood samples, from the 1999 Tour de France, analyzed for EPO ( blood doping via oxygenation to enhance performance ).
The analysis indicates that Armstrong MAY have used EPO blood-doping in 1999.
HOWEVER ... Armstrong has been harassed by this newspaper for at least 5 years, resulting in his being subject to surprise blood and urine sampling for at least 5 years (2001 - 2005).
There has been no indication of a use of performance enhancers in any of these later tests.
You can bet that French newspaper would have let the world know if there had been the slightest indication.
So ... I say ...
Way to go, Lance! Even if you did use EPO back in 1999.
A Challenge :
I challenge ANYONE to use all the EPO and steroids they want -- and try to win seven consecutive Tours de France.
It takes MUCH MORE than drugs to achieve that.
What an achievement --- winning SEVEN CONSECUTIVE championships.
The harassers at that French newspaper need to get a life.
2013 UPDATE :
Well, Armstrong has confessed that he was oxygen-doping during several Tour de France wins.
I guess that just goes to show ... once an A-hole, always an A-hole.
I remember seeing Armstrong on TV after winning a stage in the Tour de France.
He was in the team bus after the stage win.
He stood at the front of the bus and said to his team mates "Do you love me now?".
His team mates sat there in stony silence.
In looking back now, they probably knew all the doping going on and were not feeling so proud.
He had a reputation of being insufferable back in his teens and early twenties.
I guess even a near death experience with cancer could not knock his less appealing qualities out of him.
I still think that it is an amazing thing that he could have won so many consecutive Tours of France.
As I mentioned above, even with doping, most people could not have done that.
Furthermore, he was competing against many riders who were doping.
He was so intent on winning, I guess he felt compelled to do the doping --- and then lie to cover it up.
Since he was so intent on winning, it seems likely that he was urging some of his team-mates to do the same --- so that they would be better able to support his attempts to keep the yellow jersey.
It must be a bitter end to careers of some of those riders, such as George Hincapie, who helped him win those titles.
I do not see this mentioned much in the news, but ... his coaches must have known --- the main team coach, Johan Bruyneel ... and even Armstrong's other coaches, such as Chris Carmichael, who helped him in his initial training in Boone, NC, when Armstong started preparing for his first post-cancer attempt at winning the tour (although Carmichael says he never saw Armstong using banned substances).
2019 UPDATE :
I am not alone in my opinions on this subject.
The comedian, Bill Burr, has pointed out, in one of his comedy routines, that many other cyclists from other nations were doping and "our roided-up guy beat your roided-up guy".
After Armstrong admitted to doping in an interview with Oprah Winfrey in January 2013, the U.S. Postal Service (which sponsored the Lance Armstrong team for many years) sued Armstrong to get some of their money back.
(In April 2018, Armstrong settled for $5 million with the U.S. Government.)
Armstrong must feel some measure of satisfaction that "a 2017 study showed that the effects of EPO administered to amateur cyclists was not distinguishable from a placebo."
(Perhaps performance enhancement due to some kinds of doping are more rumor than fact.
For example, in the early days of the Tour de France, cyclists thought smoking enhanced their performance.
That proved to be rumor, not fact.)
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Page was posted 2007 Jan 05.