Moving past the anger
For the good of the cycling sport we need to put the anger behind.
This past week Lance Armstrong proved that he didn’t really care about helping out the anti-doping cause by not cooperating with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Through a statement by his attorney Tim Herman, Armstrong hopes for “an international tribunal formed to comprehensively address pro cycling, an almost exclusively European sport.”
This was not a huge surprise to many people, but heck, a lot of us didn’t think he’d admit to doping either, so you just don’t know which way the ongoing Armstrong drama may take us - he cooperates and then he doesn’t cooperate.
By snubbing USADA, Armstrong has given up the chance to have his lifetime ban reduced so he eventually would have had the chance to compete again in triathlons, marathons, and any other sport with an anti-doping charter. Well, there’s always disc-golf. Hmm ... actually I’m not sure about that either.
While this revelation was just hitting the news, I was attending the 5-Hour energy/Kenda cycling team camp, a squad directed by Frankie Andreu. I asked him about Armstrong’s decision to not play ball with USADA. Andreu wasn’t surprised and speculated that was the Texan’s plan all along. Remember, initially Armstrong was given an additional two weeks to meet with USADA officials to discuss the nitty-gritty about doping.
The next move for the disgraced rider is to hunker down with his attorneys and figure out how to deal with the mountain of lawsuits coming his way. The Texas company SCA Promotions wants its money back - a bonus they paid Armstrong for winning five Tour editions of the Tour de France. In total a sum of US$12.1 million plus interest.
But the big bomb was the Justice Department is joining Floyd Landis in a Whistle Blower case against Armstrong and co. In doing so it legitimizes the claim by Floyd Landis that the US Postal cycling team was defrauding the American government. If the Feds had declined to join the Whistle Blower suit, Armstrong’s mouth pieces could have used that in the court of public opinion saying that the lawsuit had no merit. Regardless, Landis could and probably would have gone forward with the suit. The Justice Department joining the suit is good news for Landis. However, this case will grind on for years before it reaches a conclusion.
Before the Feds threw their hat into the ring, it was reported that they had been in negotiations with Armstrong to settle, but were tens of millions of dollars apart on how much the settlement should be. Remember, the government doesn’t get mad, it gets even.
Now Armstrong is looking down the barrel of a potential 90-million dollar lawsuit with Landis getting about 30-million. Some people ask me if Landis is crazy. I tell them he’s crazy like a fox.
Now queued up to take Armstrong to court is the Justice Department, SCA Promotions, and a couple of guys in Sacramento, California who want their money back for buying Armstrong’s book “It’s Not About the Bike.” Two out of those three suits are going to be a real pain in