Friday Feature: USADA, UCI, WADA – what’s it all about, Overlord?

So much dirt, so many revelations, so many vials of evidence … who can a girl turn to in order to make some sense out of all this, especially if she hasn’t had the time to keep up with the developments around the USADA reasoned decision and subsequent UCI press conference? Well, this girl turned to @UCI_Overlord, that twilight figure on Twitter who keeps his identity secret but his inside knowledge public. I posed a few choice questions to Overlord around the events of the last few weeks and he came back with some very thought-provoking answers. Just as I knew he would.

Kitty: The USADA report: did anything in the report surprise you?

Overlord: The most surprising thing for me was seeing the Italian investigators release Ferrari information to USADA prior to their criminal investigation concluding. I think it demonstrates just how much cooperation is occurring between organisations that are committed to cleaning up the sport. I was aware of most of the confessions, so those details didn’t surprise me.

Kitty: Did anything about the reaction to the report surprise you?

Overlord: I was surprised by the rapid response of Armstrong’s sponsors in their stampede to the exit doors. I was also surprised the UCI stepped up their timetable from the end of the month to Monday. The public reaction, the peloton reaction, and the media reactions were not that surprising.

Kitty: Sky made a real hash of their opportunity to take the lead on this – in direct contrast to Garmin and how Jonathan Vaughters has been handling this all along. Their ‘sign this piece of paper or be fired’ policy just gets my dander up because a) didn’t they do that when they hired these people – why didn’t they do their due diligence? and b) it’s not helping the problem, it’s just keeping the omerta alive and well. What are your thoughts on Sky’s behaviour over the past few weeks?

Overlord: I think Sky has quite a bit of work to do. I think they come up with great ideas and great concepts behind the scenes, but really struggle in getting out the proper message. That’s been my primary criticism of the team this year. What also bothered me was their reaction to one of my commentaries on, where I actually was defending Wiggins. The only thing they harped on was the plaster, and turned the piece into a doping accusation, which wasn’t the point of it at all.  However, based on my first comment, again, it shows they really struggle in conveying their message effectively.

Team Sky mastermind Dave Brailsford (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

Brailsford has a mantra of the best people to suit his purposes. He’s a cagey businessman in this respect. The trouble is, hiring Geert Leinders and employing staff with dubious connections backfired on him in this climate, and he has completely underestimated the impact of social media in cycling. I firmly believe cycling has the most sophisticated fans on the planet, and they can be credited with much of the pressure Sky is feeling at the moment.

The other trouble is with all the exposure they have achieved with their phenomenal record this year, which has put them under the microscope. Other teams have similar connections and staff, but fail to receive the same amount of scrutiny. This goes back to their poor attempts to manage the message and control the perception, and now we see the results of this in a massive way in light of the Armstrong situation.

Kitty: Omega Pharma-Quick Step have fired Levi Leipheimer – your thoughts on the signals this sends to the rest of the peloton? Should they have kept him on? 

OPQS’ Patrick Lefevre (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

Overlord: I think Patrick Lefevere missed an opportunity to join in the voice for change. I think it was more of an opportunity to shed salary in order to offset the Mark Cavendish expenditure. Again, this is another example of how a team manager has missed an opportunity to shift the message to reflect the current climate. We’ve heard rumours of Hein Verbruggen putting pressure on Lefevere in Beijing during that race, so it leads people to certain conclusions.

He could have followed the example of Bjarne Riis and how he handled the Contador affair, delaying the spotlight until Leipheimer’s ban was up. He could have said he’ll consider bringing Leipheimer back after his ban et cetera. Instead, he stuck to the old pattern of actions. Time will show us just what Lefevere’s intentions truly were. I think it’s too early to judge him completely.

Kitty: Trawling through all the tweets over the past year for the blog, I find it rather astounding at the level of vitriol poured out over Lance Armstrong –  I’m not astounded that people hate him, but that they hate him with a blindness that I think makes them miss the bigger issues around this case. For me, it’s not just about him – although obviously he’s more than just a rider who doped – it’s about the corruption, the fraud from what looks like every corner of cycling. What do you see as the core issue of all of this?  

Overlord: That’s a very good question. Armstrong was a very polarising character in cycling. Even I had a couple of face-to-face run-ins with him over the years. He is a love-him-or-hate-him type, and Tyler Hamilton’s book gives the general public real insight into his personality.

I think he became the personification of exactly everything that went wrong with the UCI and the sport in the past 20 years. Instead of being about the glory of sport, cycling became about ‘global exposure’ and ‘revenue’. Cycling lost a tremendous amount of innocence, beginning in the late 1980s.

I really don’t buy into the giant conspiracy theory many purport with Hein Verbruggen as the Emperor Palpatine figure, even though it does make for great comedy for our crew at Cyclismas. I think that a confluence of small capitulations by those who occupy power positions has put us so far off the ledger in 2012 it looks like a giant conspiracy with Verbruggen at the centre. This is firmly a result of allowing race organisers and former race organisers to occupy key positions in cycling federations the world over and also at the UCI. Pat McQuaid was one. Verbruggen is a marketing gent from Mars. Turtur runs the Tour Down Under. They have demonstrated their lack of understanding of the big picture and how their decisions have such a massive impact on the sport across the globe. Not only this, but they have steadfastly refused to conduct business in a collaborative manner with all stakeholders who are impacted by their decisions.

Armstrong became a metaphor for all this pent-up anger.

Kitty: Cleaning the sport from top to bottom with so many directeur sportifs and team management being former cyclists from the past 20 years, how can cycling clean itself up without losing valid knowledge of tactics and racing – or should it be a phased period?

Overlord: I think if the UCI follow the federation model and set up an independent body for anti-doping testing and investigations, it would mitigate some of these issues. How about turning it over to WADA completely?

A new way of thinking: Giro director Michele Acquarone

The focus needs to be on education and support at the national federation level. I also think professional cycling needs to be handled by a body outside of the UCI that can communicate effectively between the race organisers, the team owners and the riders. I’ve proposed on many occasions the AIGCP could fit this role.

If riders had a voice, they could say, “Look if we’re racing for six hours in the saddle, we’re going to dope. Why not just race four?” These sorts of conversations aren’t really occurring. They should be. Michele Acquarone, the Giro director, was the first one to acknowledge transfers for the riders should be limited in order to give them the most rest they can get between stages.

Kitty: There’s a lot of consternation among the Twitterati at the lack of current riders speaking out about what was in the report or stating their opinions regarding Armstrong. Why do you think so many riders are still silent – is it still a fear of retribution from team management, UCI et cetera?

Overlord: I think we’ll see more and more over the next few months. Many of the old guard are still in shock Armstrong was taken down. Many of the young riders really were never part of the Armstrong paradigm, so it doesn’t mean much to them.

This sort of action is really unprecedented in the sport. The professionals who are good at speaking to the public and are comfortable doing so have done a very good job. Remember some of these lads aren’t the most sophisticated people and are afraid of looking stupid in their comments. I can cite Alex Dowsett as an example who came across poorly in a preliminary interview, and had to follow up to clarify.

There is still fear of retribution, so this can’t be discounted. The stories Armstrong told in the peloton have become bogeyman folklore, backed up by Hamilton’s book. Whether it’s true or not that the UCI were colluding with Armstrong remains to be seen. McQuaid was vehemently denying it during the press conference, but then comes out to say he took a phone call from Armstrong on Friday. It wouldn’t make me feel that confident.

And team management? They’re waiting for their licenses from the UCI. Once those licences are granted, watch for a secondary avalanche of comments from those folks. Batten down the hatches.

Kitty: And on that same note, I think that a lot of the Twitterati are being unnecessarily rude to a lot of riders – e.g. Jens Voigt – for not saying what they want to hear. What do you think about this pressure from fans for riders to speak up? For me, I feel like they’re now put in an almost impossible position from fear of UCI retribution if they do speak up to getting flamed on Twitter from fans if they don’t.

Overlord: Very true. In fact, Brad Wiggins dropped off Twitter and I’m sure this had something to do with it.

Koen de Kort – one of the riders who spoke out with intelligence this week (image courtesy of Argos-Shimano)

Look, the teams and riders ask the fans to buy their products, wear the team kits, and sing their praises. When you put yourself in that situation, you have opened yourself up to the reaction the fans are giving. It’s understandable for the fans to be a little perturbed if Jens Voigt posts a photo of him having a cup of coffee at Mellow Johnny’s. Why even bother posting the photo, or feel the need to share holiday plans via Twitter?

I think riders like Marcel Kittel, Koen de Kort, Taylor Phinney and Chris Froome are a few of the good examples in the peloton. They understand and appreciate the responsibility that being a professional cyclist carries these days. Those four riders haven’t received any UCI retribution at all.

Kitty: There’s been talk about an amnesty for riders or a truth and reconciliation approach (even though the UCI voted that down this summer). Do you think that would work, as far as getting the riders to name names of doctors et cetera, who helped them dope? If there was to be an amnesty in return for information, who should they give the information to: WADA, as the UCI has shown itself to be completely untrustworthy? And if there was an amnesty, do you think the riders’ names should be made public?

Overlord: Amnesty is a tricky one, as there is no language for this in the current WADA code. It becomes a very difficult issue to manage. Based upon the current level of mistrust between all parties, I doubt it could be handled appropriately.

I think the anti-doping agencies at the national level and WADA need to proactively reach out to the riders named. Klaus Mueller, the president of Cycling Australia, stated his national anti-doping agency needed to focus more on investigations and less on results management. This is definitely the direction cycling needs to go.

USADA took the lead in this by their reasoned decision, using the riders to expose the network at US Postal and getting to the support staff who pressured or enabled the riders to dope. They have now set the benchmark for all to follow.

As far as naming publicly, again, it depends on the investigation. Imagine what would have happened if Jonathan Vaughters was publicly named in 2004 after coming forward to WADA and cooperating with them. Much of what we’re seeing today wouldn’t have happened.

Kitty: What was the most astonishing part of the UCI’s statement/press conference for you and why?

Overlord: How completely unprepared the UCI was for the questions, and how poorly they handled the press conference.

Kitty: What do you think is the most important statement that came out of the press conference on Monday and why? 

Overlord: The UCI wasn’t going to fight the Armstrong decision, and the fact they were convening a UCI Management Committee meeting [today]. Does this signal a change in their behaviour? Or is it a smokescreen for ‘business as usual’? We’ll see in the coming weeks.

Kitty: Pat McQuaid’s statement and his answers at the press conference just made my heart sink. Not that I expected him to own up to being, at best, completely incompetent, but there was nothing in what he said that means anything will change with how the UCI goes about its business. And that means the doping culture can continue almost unabated if it so wished. How to answer a question like the UCI? It feels like we almost need to take matters into our own hands – how do we (fans) make sure the UCI is challenged or forced into doing the right thing? Or do we just burn the mother down?

Overlord: I put out a call on Monday with email addresses for cycling fans to contact. I was impressed by the response. Doubly impressive was a statement released on Tuesday by Brian Cookson, president of GB Cycling, acknowledging the receipt of the concerns, and that he would take them to the management committee meeting.

This indicates to me that there are those who will change when their feet are held to the fire. It’s our job to continue to dialogue with our national federation representatives to say change is needed at the UCI. If we don’t act in this manner, how can change happen? When politicians fail to receive feedback from their constituents, they will act in their own interest in the void of opinion. This is exactly what has happened at the UCI in the past 20 years. Riders haven’t coordinated a single voice, team owners have squabbled, race organisers failed to pay attention to anything outside their own pockets.

Now this is changing. We can thank social media for this. It can’t happen overnight. It takes time to undo what has happened since 1992.

Kitty: As the UCI doesn’t accept the USADA’s findings with regards to Armstrong’s biological passport shenanigans from 2009-10, what does that actually mean? Is this something that WADA needs to take up or what?

Overlord: It says the UCI isn’t willing to admit its shortcomings, and doesn’t give me a positive feeling that the UCI management committee meeting [today] will produce anything other than the same old typical answers.

I think WADA will speak to this in their response to the decision. I doubt it will cast the UCI in a favourable light. Fahey’s comments in the press give us a little foreshadowing in this respect.

Kitty: After wading through all this muck, does cycling still excite you? You said to me during the Tour to the effect that, no matter the scandal, once a person makes cycling their own, they’re hooked. What, for you, is the most exciting thing about the sport?

Overlord: Cycling is an incredible sport. Speed, intrigue, strategy and scenery combine into this wonderfully sporting ballet. The most exciting thing about cycling for me is its unpredictability. You never know what may happen on any given day. Will a rider crack? Will the break stay away? And the best part? We can all ride the same roads they do, any time we desire.

Kitty: Thanks very much, Overlord. I appreciate you talking to us at perhaps the busiest time of your professional life! Vive le Revolution.

Follow UCI_Overlord on Twitter and visit

Friday Feature: What next for cycling?

Image courtesy of RadioShack

Over the past two days an inordinate number of column inches, broadcast minutes and online chats have been dissecting the US Anti-Doping Agency’s (USADA) statement and 202-page summary report into the doping conspiracy centred on Lance Armstrong and the US Postal team. Is the evidence conclusive? What was the UCI’s role in all this? Why have other admitted dopers got off so lightly? Why was the federal investigation dropped? How will this affect Lance – a minor PR inconvenience or utter ruination? Why the hell did Sky News interview F1 driver Jenson Button about the affair? Soundbites from Bradley Wiggins, Samuel Sanchez, Alex Dowsett and other riders have been picked apart and scrutinised in detail.

Here at VeloVoices we’ve done our fair bit of navel-gazing and reviewing of history. We have shared our views about how we felt about Armstrong’s decision not to contest USADA’s charges, and we have shared your views via Tweets of the Week specials on USADA’s decision to proceed against Armstrong and his decision not to request a hearing.

To be honest, we’ve had enough of the past. We fully respect, support and recognise the importance of USADA’s persistence and thoroughness. It is an immensely important moment for cycling. But what we believe is equally important – arguably more important – is what happens next. The past is history, while the future is yet to be written. It’s time to move on and find solutions.

Kitty will post up a special Tweets of the Week over the weekend, but for this week’s Friday Feature we have been contemplating one question: what next? It’s a simple question, but one without an obvious, easy to implement answer.

Unfortunately Panache is currently away from the Peloton Pentagon in Washington ‘on business’ – rumours that he is facilitating meetings to set up a breakaway UCI are completely unfounded – but the rest of us have been busy trying to fathom what the implications of USADA’s ‘reasoned decision’ are for the medium-term future of the sport.


Let’s be clear about this. The USADA report is a landmark document in the anti-doping movement for all sports, not just cycling. The collated testimony is as exhaustive as it is unambiguous. To all but the most one-eyed of Lance acolytes, the weight of evidence is overwhelming.

But the job is only half done. Naming and shaming Armstrong is the ‘easy’ part of the battle. Indeed he is not even the main issue – the key is the extent to which the web of deceit and complicity, of which he sat at its centre, extended through an entire team, an entire peloton, an entire sport.

There has been a lot of hand-wringing over which rider punishments and how other national authorities should also take a long, hard look at themselves. (In particular, I would start with Spain.) All that is good and it is necessary. But, to draw an analogy with Armstrong’s charity work, you don’t cure cancer by treating the symptoms – you have to address the root cause. The key to a 100% clean sport is to first have a 100% clean governing body which is beyond reproach. The UCI – or to be more precise the men at the top who treat it as their personal fiefdom – is a long way from that right now. Without fundamental changes in the way they operate, the cancer will spread again and the sport will be destined to repeat the sins of the past.

It’s easy to say Pat McQuaid (and Hein Verbruggen) need to be ushered out of the door, but will the 42 members of the UCI Congress ever bite the hand that feeds them? And who could replace them and bring a credible vision to drive real change to clean up the sport? These are the real hard questions that need to be answered. Personally, I would bring in someone from outside who can bring fresh ideas, fresh credibility and a fresh start. Someone who can be both an honourable figurehead and a political operator who can make things happen: Lord Sebastian Coe, for instance. That is probably no more than a pipe dream. But something must be done. Cycling can go one of two ways – and backwards is not an option.

As for what should be done about Lance’s seven Tour titles, I say ASO should declare them as races without a winner. Let that stand as a beacon to the sport’s dirty past – and a warning reminder to its future.


As Marcellus says in Hamlet: “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” There was a very good reason why he said ‘state of’ and not just Denmark. Frankly we could substitute Denmark with the word ‘cycling’ or ‘sport’.

Last time we discussed this topic on VeloVoices, I said I was ambivalent. I was in two minds because for there to be any real benefit from the unmasking of Lance Armstrong there needs to be wholesale changes in the way cycling is run and organised. When reading the USADA documents, the word that immediately sprang to my mind was ‘collusion’. From the top (which Tim has addressed) to the very bottom. No one escapes approbation, not even sponsors. Yes, cycling’s seedy underbelly has been fully exposed and it’s not a pleasant sight. But what are we going to do about it?

It’s easy to be swayed by the ‘everyone was doing it, it was a level playing field’ argument, but it wasn’t. Some people never have – I’m thinking David Moncoutie here – and they’ve been cheated of glory and monetary rewards. This can never be put right. I commend those who have ‘fessed up – whatever your motivation – but you owe it to those clean riders with whom you rode to put back something into the sport for the current generation. After all, you don’t want them to go through what you did, now do you?


I agree with both Tim and Sheree – it’s the change in the UCI that has to be made for anything to be lasting. And in particular any official body that is in charge of promoting the sport (and making money out of it and for it) must be absolutely and completely divorced from policing that sport. Because, let’s face it, they’re not going to kill a cash cow, are they? The right hand cannot know what the left is doing in doping cases – testing, the biological passports, disciplinary hearings and bans have to be administered by a completely objective and independent body who makes their findings known simultaneously to WADA and the UCI so that the UCI can never sweep things under the rug.

As for what happens now to riders who have confessed to doping in the past and so on. I like the truth and reconciliation idea – everyone comes clean, goes into great detail as to how they were able to dope, where they got advice, supplies, etc, and the facilitators begin to get weeded out. Then it’s a case of if you get caught doping after that, you’re out. Done. Adios. But even that kind of thing can’t happen until the UCI is cleaned up from top to bottom, so that riders don’t fear retribution (as it seems they do now). There has to be a drastic change in all areas of the sport – otherwise, we’re just going to be going through this again in a few years, only with some name changes. And that would be depressing.


I completely agree with Sheree that the ‘everyone was at it’ excuse just does not wash. There are undoubtedly riders like Moncoutie not just cheated out of wins, but cheated out of rides and ultimately careers because of this issue, with some of the witnesses’ affidavits saying as much.

I think that those who helped expose the full horror of the events – even those involved in committing such crimes – such as Tyler Hamilton, Michael Barry and Dave Zabriskie must be commended for their testimonies. I think that now the crimes of Armstrong and his teammates have been laid bare for all to see, it sets a precedent for the future: doping will not be tolerated.

As we have seen through the advent of teams such as Garmin-Sharp and Sky, and thanks to Dave Brailsford, Jonathan Vaughters, David Millar and others, the culture within cycling has begun to change. I think – I hope – I’m not being overly naïve when I say that unveiling the full extent of Armstrong’s cheating will help cycling’s recovery from these dark days.

In light of the revelations things may look terrible, but in reflecting so badly on those at the top it can’t help but be a catalyst for change. I completely agree that the UCI needs to be completely cleaned up, so that the dodgy transactions and supposed cover-ups will never occur again.

What do you think needs to be done to ensure cycling cleans up its act in the future? Let us know in the comments below.

Friday Feature special: Lance Armstrong

Image courtesy of RadioShack

Unsurprisingly, the key topic of discussion – okay, the only topic of discussion – at VeloVoices Towers today has been a 40-something former cyclist and his not-quite-admission of guilt. Yes, we’ve frittered away our Friday by breaking into the VeloVoices drinks trolley early and talking about Lance Armstrong.

Unfortunately Jack is away on holiday this week, but Tim, Kitty and Sheree Skyped Panache in our Washington DC office – the Peloton Pentagon – to bring you a Friday Feature special of our thoughts and reflections on the day the cycling history books were rewritten. Want to know what we thought? Then read on …

The facts

The chess match is now all but played out as we finally arrive at the endgame. Last night Lance Armstrong announced that he would not contest the charges levelled against him by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). As a result, USADA have issued a lifetime ban and stripped him of all results dating back to 1998, including the seven Tours de France he won between 1999 and 2005. USADA’s announcement cited the following doping violations:

1. Use and/or attempted use of prohibited substances and/or methods including EPO, blood transfusions, testosterone, corticosteroids and masking agents.

2. Possession of prohibited substances and/or methods including EPO, blood transfusions and related equipment (such as needles, blood bags, storage containers and other transfusion equipment and blood parameters measuring devices), testosterone, corticosteroids and masking agents.

3. Trafficking of EPO, testosterone, and corticosteroids.

4. Administration and/or attempted administration to others of EPO, testosterone, and cortisone.

5. Assisting, encouraging, aiding, abetting, covering up and other complicity involving one or more anti-doping rule violations and/or attempted anti-doping rule violations.

Armstrong’s statement was typically forthright. He attacked USADA CEO Travis Tygart‘s “unconstitutional witch hunt” and his “outlandish and heinous claims”. He talked about his refusal “to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair” against an organisation which “at every turn … has played the role of a bully” – a comment which will have raised an eyebrow among those who have been on the receiving end of Armstrong’s strong-arm – and frequently litigious – actions in the past.

Nowhere in the statement is there anything approaching an admission of guilt, nor is there ever likely to be. We can only infer and speculate as to why this most combative and competitive of individuals has chosen to step away from the fight at this point. We do not know the facts. But we can certainly draw our own conclusions.

What happens next?

We have arrived at the endgame, but in reality it may be some time before we reach check-mate. USADA may pursue further sanctions against other riders and staff involved in the alleged conspiracy – bans have already been issued in a number of cases. Cycling’s governing body, the UCI, had earlier challenged USADA’s jurisdiction, and may yet take the matter to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) is maintaining a watching brief.

ASO, the organisers of the Tour de France, have issued a holding statement saying they will take no action until the situation between USADA and the UCI has been resolved. They might choose to promote the runners-up in the seven Tours Armstrong won. That would be uncomfortable to say the least: Jan Ullrich and Ivan Basso have both been convicted of doping. Alex Zulle admitted taking EPO while with Festina. Andreas Kloden and Joseba Beloki have both been the subject of (unproven) doping allegations  in the past. Alternatively, ASO may choose to declare that those races had no winner – an embarrassing reminder for all time for the history books.

As for Armstrong, the story does not end here either. With his reputation severely damaged, he is likely to face multiple lawsuits from sponsors, business associates and individuals which will, at the very least, keep him busy for the foreseeable future, and could result in financial ruin.

All this, however, is idle speculation. Here’s how the VeloVoices reacted to the news today.


Armstrong’s statement is a masterpiece of obfuscation, but really this was just the full-stop at the end of a sentence which has been written over a period of years. The true believers will still believe. The armchair prosecutors will bemoan the lack of an admission of guilt. ‘Twas ever thus.

In that respect, nothing has changed. In many others, though, everything has: history will record Lance Armstrong as a no-time Tour de France winner. The all-American hero has been unmasked as the devil.

So while this is closure with neither conclusion or conviction – and I doubt the story will truly end here – it’s still a pivotal day. Some fans are sad, some are still mad and others are grave-dancing. A few will always believe, no matter what. Like many, I’m somewhere in between.

To me, he is still the greatest cyclist of his generation. He is also a cheat. I’m conflicted. Sue me. (Please don’t.)

It’s time to move on. We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that Lance was just the public tip of a large pharmacological iceberg, but let’s learn the lessons and march forward without constantly looking back. I hope ASO will declare ‘no winner’ for the 1999-2005 Tours as a reminder to future generations. I suspect that won’t happen, and Messrs Zulle, Ullrich, Beloki, Kloden and Basso will inherit those titles without turning a pedal. That might just be the greatest crime of all.


I’ve had a couple of hours to digest the news but am still feeling somewhat ambivalent. Lance has thrown in the towel to avoid a long, costly and damaging court case. But it doesn’t change my opinion of him, or of his achievements. He’ll always be a seven-time Tour de France winner. I do however believe that he – and many other prominent riders – cheated and were never caught. The really sad thing is that if no one had cheated the outcome of the races might not have been too dissimilar.

If he is stripped of his titles, unravelling the financial implications is going to be a complicated exercise. As an accountant, I await the financial fall-out with interest. Let’s not forget that a number of US companies profited from Lance’s wins. Will they get off scot-free? I am, of course, referring mainly to Nike, Oakley and Trek.

And what of the UCI’s role in all of this? Maybe the best outcome would be a thorough look at the roles and responsibilities of the various bodies – USADA, WADA and UCI – leading to greater clarity of their respective responsibilities plus better segregation of duties. You just know that this is going to continue to rumble on.


My biggest concern is this: will the evidence that the US Anti-Doping Agency has compiled ever come to light? Surely everyone who has been involved in this systematic doping should be held up to the light. If not, what good is this doing? If the doctors, the directeurs sportif, the personal trainers, other riders and everyone around them who are facilitating doping aren’t sanctioned just as harshly, this type of thing will go on and on and on and on.

As for Lance himself, I’ve never had this hatred of him that half the world has, nor do I have blind faith in him like the other half of the world seems to have. He was the reason I started watching cycling but not the reason I continued to watch it – I found the whole sport fascinating, not just an individual rider. And looking back at footage of his wins – do I have to asterix them? – they’re not any less exciting for what we know now, at least not for me. It was the race on the day.

I want cycling to be clean but I’m worried that this chance to really clean house will just pass the sport by – again. Ding dong, the witch is dead – but the witch didn’t work alone.


In order for cycling to flourish it needs to be planted and nourished in healthy ground. Lance Armstrong polluted the soil of cycling with his cheating, lying, manipulating and bullying for too long. There is plenty of evidence/data and eyewitness testimony to show this.

I applaud Travis Tygart and USADA for being relentless in the pursuit of clean competition despite overwhelming political and financial pressure.  After all, that is their job.  The UCI would be wise to follow USADA’s recommendations for disciplining Armstrong.  The fact the sport’s greatest fraud of all time happened under their watch should be a signal that the UCI needs drastic changes, especially in leadership.

One cannot deny that Lance is an inspirational hero to millions who are fighting cancer. I feel for these people. I do not revel in seeing their disappointment. That said, I rejoice for Frank and Betsy Andreu, Greg Lemond and many others who have been destroyed by Armstrong for telling the truth.  These people ooze panache for sticking to their principles.

I cannot deny that I enjoyed watching Armstrong race. He is a supremely gifted endurance athlete and competitor. I believe he trained and worked very hard to achieve his results. But I also believe that he – like most of the cyclists of his era – used performance-enhancing drugs and blood doping too. He cheated. He should face the consequences.

I say the seven yellow jerseys should go to the lanterne rouge from each year – because those are the only riders who might have been riding clean at the time.

How do you feel about Lance Armstrong after today’s developments? Let us know in the comments below.