I’ve expressed my views about Lance Armstrong and drugs a number of times and I won’t repeat them. A big problem he faced in the grand-jury proceedings in California was that people who knew him would be testifying under oath. And so they have.

On Thursday “Sixty Minutes” previewed part of an interview with Tyler Hamilton in which he says he say Armstrong take drugs. On Friday, word leaked that Armstrong’s right-hand man for many years, George Hincapie, testified about Armstrong’s use of drugs in his grand-jury testimony.

Velonews had a piece today about Scott Mercier, a former U.S. Postal rider who said he left the team when he realized that the price to pay to ride in Europe was drugs (he says nothing about Armstrong). And here’s a piece concerning Frankie Andreu.
All of that is by way of background. The following is from LetsRun. I can’t say it’s true, but it rings that way to my amateur eyes (I added the links):

“I am a former professional cyclist. I competed briefly in Europe for a pro-continental team. I wasn’t very good but I did see a lot of clean athletes trying to break through and I just want to put to rest this idea that lance doped in a culture of doping so it was a level playing field.

“YES it was a culture of doping and YES if all his TDF results were nullified his successor would almost certainly also be doped.

“1) However, there are hundreds of clean pro cyclists who, skipped college to pursue a dream, also biked 4-6 hours day, and earned 15-25k a year for a relatively short period.

“I have friends who train like mad men and are unemployed or drawing a meager wage because doped riders jump past them and suck up money.

“If lance et al. had not doped there would have been CLEAN athletes who would have extended their careers and increased their wages. They wouldnt have won the tour de France but they would have been more competitive in races. Velonews has a report on a rider right now who quit postal because he decided he did not want to do drugs and felt he had no other choice.

“2) Dopers suck money out of the sport. Teams fold and clean cyclists, team managers, mechanics, and soigneurs lose their jobs when these scandals come out. For every doping scandal there is a financial fall out that hurts people that are just trying to make a decent living working in a sport they are passionate about. When Floyd Landis’s scandal broke, I was actively seeking a pro contract, and saw first hand how the scandal had a ripple effect that went all the way down to the grass roots of the sport. MOney that would have been there for young developing cyclists disappeared.

“3) Lance has not just denied doping he has vindictively destroyed careers, smeared people in the name of extending lies. He does not deserve a break in any way. He seems to have a Godfather morality where anyone who breaks away from the “family” deserves to be destroyed.

“Take the example of Simeoni, when Lance chased down that breakaway. I cannot even begin to express how crucial those early breaks are in the TDF for a riders career. Getting in the early break, something that is never shown on TV, is incredibly difficult on so many levels. When a rider gets in a break, on a TDF stage where the GC teams are trying to let a break go, that is their BIG shot. Their Eminem lose yourself moment. When Lance chased down Simeoni he was essentially destroying a man’s once a year opportunity and directly harming his ability to put food on his kids table all because he decided to start telling the truth. He also directly affected everyone else in that breakaway who wasn’t even involved. When Simeoni dropped out of the breakaway so Telekom would stop chasing it was an incredibly honorable thing to do where he sacrificed this career changing opportunity so that his breakaway companions could have a shot at a life changing TDF stage win.

“He has dragged Betsy Andreu‘s name through the mud all because she decided not to be a wife who accepts immorality. She decided not to silently accept a culture of doping. She’s not even a cyclist but Lance has publicly trashed her name and drug her through the mud because she told the truth.

“He has trashed journalists, former employees, newspapers et al. who have only told the truth.

“He lied in order to get a multi million dollar bonus from a company that had insured his bonus for winning the the TDF. He cost that company millions of dollars in legal fees and the pay out and don’t think that didn’t cost honest people jobs.

“Lance Armstrong is an amazing athlete, yes. But the man has done things that are reprehensible to continue lying. Lets not make excuses for him because he’s a great athlete.”

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