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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Lance Armstrong finally admits guilt

Lance Armstrong finally admitted he was a serial drug cheat in an interview with Oprah Winfrey yesterday.  We are yet to see the interview, but it sounds like Oprah was a bit disappointed that Armstrong didn't come completely clean, but we will have to wait and see.

World Anti-Doping Agency Director-General David Howman said that Armstrong must make a full confession under oath if it is to mean anything at all, and dismissed the interview with Oprah as hardly the same as giving evidence to a relevant authority that deals with doping rules.

Lance and ex-wife Kristin

There were so many people involved who were prepared to go along with Armstrong's lies, including his ex-wife Kristin.  According to former team-mate Jonathan Vaughters, he used the code word "butter" to describe the synthetic blood-boosting hormone EPO which he kept in the couple's fridge.  It's also alleged that Kirstin wrapped tablets of cortisone in aluminium foil and handed them out to riders.

Betsy Andreu

But there was one brave woman who refused to co-operate - Frankie Andreu's wife Betsy. In a sworn affidavit, cyclist Frankie Andreu said that in 1996, he and his future wife Betsy went to visit Armstrong in hospital when he was battling cancer.  During that visit, he alleges Armstrong told them he was using EPO, testosterone, growth hormone, cortisone and steroids.

Betsy was shocked and went to the media.  When Armstrong found out, he started an intimidation campaign against her that lasted for years. He sent an email to her husband Frankie that read "Helping to bring me down is not going to help y'alls situation. There is a direct link to all our success here, may I suggest you remind her of that."

In 2008 Betsy received a sinister voicemail that said "I hope somebody breaks a baseball bat over your head, I also hope that one day you have adversity in your life and have some type of tragedy that will definitely make an impact on you."

So now we wait for the interview with Oprah and are left to wonder what his motives are, does he want to get back into competition?  

Howman says a reduced ban is possible, depending on the level of co-operation.  "Is he trying to do something for himself, to have the sanctions changed?" he said.  "Does he want to do something for the benefit of the sport itself?  In both instances, he will need to make a full statement under oath."

The International Cycling Union (ICU) has urged Armstrong to testify before its independent commission on doping to discover whether any ICU officials helped cover up the drug taking in exchange for financial donations from him.  Armstrong is reportedly considering testifying against ICU officials.

Hein Verbruggen

Former ICU president Hein Verbruggen said he wasn't ready to speak about Armstrong's case. "I haven't seen the interview, it's all guessing" he said.  "We have an independent commission which I am very confident will find out the truth of these things."

Verbruggen has always maintained that Armstrong had "never, never, never" used doping.  The 71 year old Dutchman is still honorary president and a member of the UCI's management committee.

Sign in Manly Library, Sydney

Edit January 19, 2013: After seeing the first interview, I think Armstrong was in complete control and intimidated Oprah, she seemed scared of him.   My suspicions were confirmed, he’s an unrepentant, narcissistic, lying psychopath.