Field Theory by Hadyn Green

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Field Theory: Yellow wristband, White flag

22 Responses

  • Hadyn Green,

    Because I have been asked: I don't like Lance Armstrong, but have no proof that he was or was not cheating. I just thought this was an incredibly convenient way to bow out of the argument for him.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report

  • Paul Williams,

    His latest decision certainly seems inconsistent with his constructed persona, that's entirely clear. I did think his point that he's been cleared in, I think he said, hundreds of tests is a valid point. I don't have a view either way having not been much of a fan of cycling until recently.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report

  • JackElder,

    This is an interesting one. I’ve been vaguely following the case for a while – I got into professional cycling by watching Lance in the 2003 Tour. It looks to me like he’s making a leap for the moral high ground – this way he can criticise the process itself rather than any unfortunate results. Certainly, it’s been sounding like a very large number of former team-mates have been helping the investigation with its enquiries. There were rumours at this year’s tour that various riders were only allowed to ride because they’d co-operated with the USADA investigation into Armstrong. So something’s been a long time coming here.

    Do I think Lance doped? Yes, actually, There’s no hard evidence – as pointed out, he’s passed every test he’s ever taken – but there’s a lot of circumstantial evidence. And the late 90s was a big time for EPO – the Festina affair was in 1998, the year before Lance’s first victory – and that scandal involved a team actually pooling their riders’ money, buying dope in bulk, then administering it to the athletes under a doctor’s eye. The justification being that the athletes would do it anyway, and this way it was safer with the doctor monitoring the dosing. Lance’s control of US Postal was legendary, and entirely consistent with a rigid control of a doping program.

    Anyway, as we all know, all Lance really had to do was grow his sideburns and start swearing at cameramen, and he'd have won no problems.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 709 posts Report

  • Angus Robertson,

    I like Lance Armstrong, always will.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report

  • JackElder,

    I liked Tyler Hamilton. He broke his collarbone on the first stage of the 2003 Tour de France, and kept riding the race - even winning on of the later stages. Of course, the next year it turned out that he'd been blood doping, but regardless of that, it takes a shitload of guts to ride that far, that hard, and in that much pain.


    One thing that's been annoying me has been everyone talking about this as though it's a sure thing that Lance is about to be stripped of his victories. This is by no means sure. Yes, the US Anti-Doping Agency is conducting an investigation, but they don't run the Tour de France. The UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) are the relevant governing body, and they seem quite annoyed about the USADA poncing about like they own the place. The UCI are many things, chief among which is Swiss: they can be very, very pedantic about rules, regulations and jurisdictions. So Lance may yet be able to pull the moral high ground about a "rogue prosecution" and hang onto his titles. At this point, it's all about plausible doubt.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 709 posts Report

  • FletcherB,

    Another possible reason you might "give up the fight" is when the other side finally has the incontrovertible proof they need to prove their case beyond tissue-thin plausible deniability?

    Just one possibility is all I'm sayin'

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 893 posts Report

  • RaggedJoe,

    I don't like or dislike Lance, I've never met him. But I do respect his strength and achievments. Did he dope? I'm not sure . But on the balance of probabilities yes, because probably they all were. At the very least, transfusing their own blood back in. Probably adding a chemical or two at the same time.

    The sad thing is that it seems one cannot win the TdF without cheating. Awful choice, cheat or never attain excellence in your field.

    When comparing the climbing speeds now with the 90's it seems perhaps doping is less (they are going slower) so perhaps Bradley is clean (er?)

    Like Jack, I don't expect the UCI will be bullied by USADA, possibly Lance is counting on that. All in all it is a further indictment on professional cycling. I'm still going to enjoy my rides in the weekend though!

    City of Sales • Since Sep 2008 • 72 posts Report

  • Samuel Scott,

    NYT reporting that he will lose all his titles and have to repay prize money.

    South Wellington • Since Feb 2008 • 315 posts Report

  • Samuel Scott,

    ...but Guardian saying that is UCI who never approved of the investigation. Hmm

    South Wellington • Since Feb 2008 • 315 posts Report

  • Yamis,

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report

  • Ross Mason,

    One could be real cruel and suggest that he hasn't got the balls to face USADA.......

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report

  • WH,

    no amount of yellow bracelets and fundraising will shake the idea that you weren’t the all-American hero.

    Whatever Trevor. Even if it turns out that his finest performance was in Dodgeball, Lance Armstrong is a champion.

    Cheating is endemic in sport, as it is in life. People should save their piety for deployment on actual scandals, such as preventable disease and global warming. I look forward to your column about how the three fastest people in the world just happen to come from Jamaica.

    Since Nov 2006 • 797 posts Report

  • Shane Telfer, in reply to JackElder,

    It's a myth created by repetition that Lance never failed a drug test. On the TDF in 1999 he tested positive for cortisone, which he dodged with a retrospective prescription for cortisone. Most of the implicit subsequent allegations centre on EPO, which is very difficult to detect. When the USADA release their evidence it may well be rather telling. There are some persistent rumors of cover-ups of failed tests, for example in the Tour de Suisse, that were assisted by the UCI. As for Livestrong, this is stunning:

    NZ • Since Jul 2012 • 3 posts Report

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Because I have been asked: I don't like Lance Armstrong, but have no proof that he was or was not cheating. I just thought this was an incredibly convenient way to bow out of the argument for him.

    That was my first thought. I've heard better excuses in the playground.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report

  • Richard Llewellyn,

    The amount of smoke billowing out from under the doors of Team Armstrong is certainly enough to convince many of the doubters around the world ......... and the need for cycling to take drastic measures to regain its credibility after decades of doping suspicion and doping fact is undeniable .............. and yet .... and yet I find myself feeling strangely sorry about the way USADA and the many other critics of Lance Armstrong have singled him out of a widely and historically tainted sport (indeed 'encouraged' his loyal soldiers to turn on him to save themselves) for a coordinated and ferocious assault on his professional reputation and cycling legacy, using every method known to mankind and then some. There is a lot of deep symbolism about cutting off the head of the snake, that for some reason reminds me very much of how law enforcement often tackles organised crime and cartels. Sport as war. Given the huge amount of work that Armstrong has done outside of his cycling to benefit others, there is something very sad about all of this. Will the ends justify the means?. Probably, but still ........

    Mt Albert • Since Nov 2006 • 399 posts Report

  • headasunder,

    so a champion doper beat the other dopes ...
    if they are all carrying an extra litre or so of blood.. things are even, poor argument I know, but if everyone is doing it you still have to turn the pedals to win.

    christchurch • Since Apr 2012 • 10 posts Report

  • Yamis,

    Armstrong may well have been the best cyclist of all time, and was most likely the best cyclist of the past couple of decades.

    BUT he ruined any chance of being called that now.

    Because the doping was so widespread all his team mates and nearest rivals appear to have been doping as well but that doesn't make it right of course.

    I thought it was pretty awful reading about the cyclist who WAS clean but was being vilified by the other tour riders for daring to call out all the dopers and give the sport a bad name.

    One thing for sure though, next year there will be millions lining the streets of France once again...

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report

  • Keir Leslie,

    Armstrong was never even arguably the greatest of all time

    In cycling, there is only one greatest, and that is Merckx.

    (Merckx: 5 Tours de France --- including 69 when he wins the General, the Points, and the Mountains, 5 Giros, 1 Vuelta, more classics than anyone remembers, the hour record, world champion (amateur and professional) and so-on. He is almost as absurdly dominant as Bradman was.)

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report

  • Richard Llewellyn, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    Without doubt Keir, The Cannibal was the greatest and most dominant cyclist of all time. Interestingly enough, he also experienced a degree of 'persecution' for various things; not being Belgian enough, not being French, and winning just way too often for other riders and the general public to stomach. He also tested positive for banned substances more than once ( granted in an era where doping was more difficult to control and arguably more rife). Maybe USADA should retroactively strip Mercxx and the likes of Big Mig of their titles.

    Mt Albert • Since Nov 2006 • 399 posts Report

  • Ross Mason,

    Hey Richard: Which god is back??? He is...and He is an Aussie!!

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report

  • Phil fryer,

    Frankly, I don't don't care what professional entertainers do, to compete, I just wanna see the BEST compete,
    Sport is for the under 15 kids, no payments for them.
    All those competing in London, are professional athletes -entertainers,
    same for rugby, league, cricket, boxing , rowing, all of them are well paid entertainers,
    not that very different from Rock stars,politicians, or clergy,jounalists its a JOB,
    in my opinion, there is just too much hipocracy, & dishonsty, in the way
    most of the above, go about - their WORK, & the way they present !

    Laingholm • Since Mar 2011 • 34 posts Report

  • Tim Robinson,


    Had to add this...

    Since Jul 2010 • 5 posts Report

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