USADA and Armstrong have questions to answer
Lance Armstrong has both energised and tarnished US Cycling - can it continue to grow? (AP Photo/Franck Prevel, File)
When I first saw Lance Armstrong gave up his fight on drugs charges, there was only one sentence I could think: gee, this is dodgy on both sides.
I still to this day do not believe that Armstrong is a drug cheat and that his seven Tour De France titles were the result of a hard work ethic and not the result of illicit substances.
However, you have to wonder what Armstrong was thinking in giving up his fight with the USADA?
Surely if he is that clean and that sure of his innocence, he would fight this tooth or nail to keep his reputation untainted.
Even Floyd Landis, the drug cheat who has been the most vocal in accusing Armstrong of doping, fought harder to preserve his soiled reputation.
While Armstrong’s decision to stop the fight will not automatically destroy his legacy, it leaves huge questions over it.
But the USADA’s handling of this has been abysmal and leaves room for questions over its motives in targeting Armstrong.
Of the witnesses who have come forward claiming to have “seen” Armstrong doping, most of them are convicted drug cheats who for years tried to fight the charges against themselves.
How can these types of people be trusted to provide credible and valid evidence when they have proven to unreliable witnesses in the past?
No reasonable court in the western world would convict Armstrong based on the “hearsay” of proven liars.
Even the US District Court, while supporting the USADA’s ability to conduct an investigation, raised concerns about the motives.
Judge Sam Sparks in his judgment wrote: “USADA’s conduct raises serious questions about whether its real interest in charging Armstrong is to combat doping, or if it is acting according to less noble motives.”
For supposedly trying to clear the air, this has been a trial that has had no openness or transparency.
And who at the USADA thinks they have the power to strip Armstrong of his cycling titles?
I cannot remember the last time doping police had the ability to do strip people of titles.
While Travis Tygart may think he can police any sport he feels like, this egomaniac administrator does not have that authority.
Only the UCI can strip the titles of Armstrong and they are in no rush to investigate because the USADA will not cooperate with cycling’s governing body.
God only knows where Tygart was when the BALCO scandal was around?
Knowing the way he works, Melinda Gainsford-Taylor would have been subjected to a humiliating investigation while Marion Jones managed to avoid sanction.
This McCarthy-like witch-hunt will go on and opinions between people will remain ferociously divided.
But I would like to remind you of why Armstrong should be given the benefit of the doubt.
Between the USADA’s Gestapo investigation, the UCI, French authorities (a country which was desperate to catch Armstrong), the US Government and WADA, not one positive sample has been recovered.
Even with the advancements of drug detection combined with the eight-year rule, there are still no positive tests to be found.
That should be the ultimate yardstick when investigating any form of doping.