Regarding Lance, Tyler & that 60 minutes piece-

Near the top of the Aubisque, July 19, 2005. Right to left Ivan Basso, Lance Armstrong, Jan Ullrich and Floyd Landis. At first thought Basso was Tyler, but thanks to John Murphy for correcting me. Doh! Oh well, what's swapping one doper for another these days? The only one in this group still in question is Lance.

(This is copied over from our “racing” blog) So Sunday we got to watch Tyler Hamilton in Act II of the supposedly-repentent cycling sinner’s club, telling us that he, like Floyd, now sees the light and wants to set the story straight, and part of that story is to tell the world that Lance Armstrong cheated his way to his Tour de France victories.

This would all be so much more believable if Tyler and Floyd weren’t circling the drain, after years of professing their innocence despite failing doping controls (in Tyler’s case, twice, although he did admit to the latter event). This would all be so much more believable if there wasn’t lots of $$$ involved… the huge number of $$$ each of these former athletes lost when they were caught and spiraled downward, the huge number of $$$ to potentially gain from book contracts and media access fees.

In the Tyler Hamilton 60 minutes interview, you couldn’t escape a feeling that he was making some of it up as he went along, with long pauses and lots of blinking. To be fair, he was that way with easy questions too, but it causes me to wonder if the guy cannot distinguish between the fantasy world he lived in for years and the real world.

If there’s a real bombshell that’s going to harm Lance’s legacy, it’s the Tour de Suisse angle, the supposedly-failed EPO test that was covered up by the UCI. That would be huge, if there’s credible evidence it happened. But there were issues with that as well, as we were shown evidence of a “suspicious” test result, not failed. And the money trail, the $125,000 donation to encourage the UCI to cover things up? You’ve got to be kidding; that might be a down payment but certainly doesn’t come close to what it would (or should?) take to buy off something like that.

And finally, there was the “white lunchbag” story. Tyler telling us how he lost his virginity to EPO via one of those “white lunchbags” the team doctors and trainers assigned to their best athletes, with EPO and/or HGH inside. This was a big thing for Tyler, a recognition that he’d arrived. And then later in the broadcast he talks about “reaching out” to Lance for… EPO. In a way that made it sound like Lance really helped him out; as if if hadn’t already gotten onto the EPO train previously. But he had. The “white lunchbag”, remember?

Personally, I don’t think it’s possible to compete at the highest levels in cycling, against people who are doping, without assistance. That’s the polite way of saying it. Assistance. We all need help from time to time, right? So we’ll make doping no more evil than someone down on their luck taking food stamps or a tax credit. But at some level it’s not. What is that level? Back in the day, we had a clear distinction between the supposed purity of college sports vs the evil commercialism of the professional world. I think I bought into that; I never assumed that all was clean & nice on the professional side, and maybe that’s why doping in cycling hasn’t bothered me as much as it should. But that’s not an argument with legs to stand on, because with the professionals in football, baseball, soccer, cycling etc leading the way, the amateurs have been encouraged to step up their game. Doping is clearly rampant in amateur sports, even at the high school level.

If there had been a distinction between professional and amateur sports and any sort of purity or honest competition, I think it was lost when the Olympics allowed professionals to compete. That, for me, was probably the “Dave Stoller” moment. “Everybody cheats. I just didn’t know.” –Mike–

6 thoughts on “Regarding Lance, Tyler & that 60 minutes piece-

  1. Thanks for a great, adult post.

    It’s fashionable to bash LA now – even those who made careers off of him. And of course there are the “Branch Davidian” Lance haters. Accusing him of doping and getting on a high horse about it is akin to accusing 70’s rockers of doping to compose their music.

    Thanks again.

  2. Mike,
    As a loyal CR customer I am truly sorry to see you jump to defend Lance Armstrong et. al. I thought Tyler Hamilton came across as genuine, and doubt he stands to gain “huge $$$” from doing so. He was subpoenaed by the feds, after all.

    I can buy the argument that they were all doping during that period. What I can’t abide is the character assassination by the LA team on anyone who steps forward. Meanwhile using the good work of Livestrong to try to shield LA from inquiries.

    1. Matt: I am not defending Lance Armstrong; rather, I have issues with the “facts” that people are using to support allegations against him. I know first-hand that Floyd has continued to manufacture stories after his “conversion” or whatever you wish to call it, and yes, it annoys me that I was gullible enough to be sucked in by his lies early on. Tyler now claims, or appears to claim, that it was Lance’s era with US Postal that introduced him to doping, but Frankie Andreu and others now say that it went on before Lance came to the team, and so are we to believe that Tyler, who rode with the team for, what, two years before Lance came to it, was clean (at a time that Andreu and others were not)?

      There’s also the bizarre scenario in which we have a lot of people who each say they are witnesses to something, but so far, near as I can tell, no two people witnesses to the same event. And finally, phones have featured cameras since 2002, but nobody has photos of anything? Nobody ever took a picture of Lance’s ‘fridge?

      It will be intersting to see what George Hincapie actually told the Grand Jury. I don’t think anyone would question George’s motivations, and if he throws Lance under the bus, then it’s game over. But depending upon either Floyd or Tyler for an accurate replay of what went on is not a good idea. I think both of them are having a difficult time separating the world they created from reality. Or rather, they’re still working on creating the world they desire, rather than deal with the world that actually exists. That’s my own opinion, and I certainly respect others. But please do not think that I am in any way doing this out of a desire to protect Lance. I don’t have a horse in this race, other than wanting to know the real truth about what went on.

  3. Tyler Hamilton has lied and cheated before for his career. Why are you falling for him again? Clearly he is lying to once again further his career and set up a pension for the long life he has ahead. The guy is a cheat!

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