Delayed justice for Lance Armstrong

It’s been over 13 years since Lance Armstrong tested positive for corticosteroids in the ’99 TdF. It’s been over 7 years since L’Equipe revealed that a WADA accredited lab in ’04 had found EPO in 6 samples taken from Armstrong in the ’99 tour. It’s been over 6 years since David Walsh and Pierre Ballester published “L.A. Confidentiel” which included eye-witness testimony that Lance doped, and that his back-dated doctor’s note for the ’99 corticosteroid positive had been a sham. It’s been more than 2 years since Floyd Landis came out with detailed allegations of Land Armstrong doping, including a revelation that UCI made a ’01 EPO positive result go away – a result which the head of the lab concerned, Dr Martial Saugy, has since described as a “suspicious” result which he notified the UCI of, and an allegation corroborated by at least Tyler Hamilton. etc., etc., etc..

There’s more than a decades worth of allegations against Armstrong. None of these allegations had been properly investigated before by a body with sanctioning power. The governing body UCI instead had ignored, even dismissed allegations out of hand or, worst of all, attacked and even sued those making allegations, anti-doping crusading journalists and officials. It’s possible that this investigation came about only because Floyd Landis emailed USADA. The testimony about jurisdiction in the Federal lawsuit suggests that that email may have been key in ensuring that the allegations against Lance Armstrong could finally be investigated by a body with authority to sanction Armstrong but not run by officials cosy with him. USADA reportedly have further analytical results against Armstrong showing evidence of blood manipulation, from his ’08-’11 come-back years.

Regardless of the result of an investigation, it is right that allegations be properly investigated. Indeed, it is crucial for the integrity of the sport. USADA ultimately found against Lance Armstrong, but had he been innocent, it would have been just as important to investigate, so as to clear him. It is important to note that, as a result of Armstrong’s attempt to block USADA, we have the word of a Texan judge to believe USADAs’ processes are fair, and sufficiently robust to satisfy the requirements of due process.

Yet, according to some, the greatest injustice in all this is that USADA is taking 2 months to write up the report on this? A report on one of the longest running doping cases in sport? A case where USADA were sued by Armstrong immediately before giving a finding, then receiving nastygrammes from McQuaid effectively backing up Armstrong, in his attempts to block USADA from issuing its finding. Which likely means the report requires an extra level of legal argument added to it, and double and triple-checking, so as to ensure its reasoning is water-tight against UCIs’ jurisdiction claims. Note that should USADA deliver the report mid-October – the current ETA – then it’ll have taken just 1½ months (not quite “months”), as their finding was issued August 24th.

It is not USADA which has delayed this investigation, or delayed the results.

It is the UCI which has delayed justice. The UCI are corrupt.

Further sources:

Cyclingnews.com partial index of Lance Armstrong doping allegation stories.

Edits: Re-arrangement of structure of text, to better flow.

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