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Mailbag: Readers React To Lance Affair
It’s the biggest response we’ve had in 10 years of PEZ – and the letters continue to pour in from readers on all sides of the Lance affair. Lance has always been a great topic for reader response, but Ed Hood’s Comment certain has readers’ keyboards aclatter with opinion.




But first: Pez got the call early last Friday morning to join Global TV Vancouver for their coverage of the story – here’s how it looked:





Below is an unedited collection of responses we received so far to Ed Hood’s Comment: Lance, UADA, & The Truth

- Thanks to everyone for writing in…
- Richard Pestes, Publisher

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it is a plain and simple witch hunt.

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I find this entire business with the USADA very scary. Whether Armstrong is guilty or not, is to my mind, now secondary to the real issue. Does this whole thing not look all too much like what went on with McCarthy in the post-war years. The guardians of “all that is good and Holy” using any means to protect us all from the evil in our midst. Secret testimony, un-named witnesses who are cut “special deals” for their testimony. Absolute surety of their own righteousness and rectitude, even leading them to issue bans against foreign nationals who do not even fall within their jurisdiction. Yes, Lance could very well be guilty, but if USADA is allowed to continue in this vein, every American cyclist now and into the future should be very, very afraid. Sport SHOULD be clean, but no athlete should have to go through their career worrying about the “Secret Police” examining everything about their life 24-7-365. My personal belief is that the way to deal with doping is to “draw a line in the sand” so to speak. If you doped up till now, all is forgiven( if not forgotten).If you dope from now on, and are caught, your career is over. Forever. As everyone knows and agrees that doping is dangerous, dishonest and unfair there can be no excuse and the punishment does not seem to me to be unreasonable. Radical perhaps, but not unreasonable. It would at the least give a potential cheater real pause to consider before crossing the line.
It might also have the effect of forcing the governing bodies and watchdog agencies to institute truly effective and reliable tests and testing procedures.

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This sounds like The Joy of Omerta textbook. Try this one on, “The Truth Will Set You Free.” Or this one, You can’t promote truth and honesty while protecting lies and
liars at the same time.”

Any respect Pez is gone.

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The only thing that concerns me is those who got immunity who doped (its been reported that the whole Postal team was involved) get off without punishment. So basically, if your going to dope, just go to the Usada and testify against others on your team or in your sport, you get immunity. That’s a great way to clean up sports! Sounds like by going after the “high profile” stars the Usada is trying to “scare” the rest of the sport “clean”. Wonder how that’s working out so far?

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THE BEST, non-technical, analysis of the current Lance Armstrong/USADA situation, that I’ve read in the long time.

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Clearly it wasn’t the 3rd reason, the USADA bent so many of their own rules to get Armstrong that using the word principle with USADA is a tough pill to swallow. I just hope enough public outroar pushes back.

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If it is the last of those three options, and they are men of principle, then why are they allowing Lance’s former teammates, who testified against him, to continue competing (i.e., in the USA Cycling Pro Challenge)? Shouldn’t they be punished in some form? In other words, why are they given immunity? Is there a USADA rule that governs this?

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So…what’s next? exhume the body of Fasto Coppi? do some tests to discover that he was a cheater? Grab Eddy Merckx as he walks out of a bar make him pee in a jar? to discover that he was a cheater? Ask Bernard Hinault to step off the TDF podium in 2013 and donate his DNA? Why stop at Lance? how about stepping outside of cycling. Carl Lewis? gee…he beat Ben Johnson! wonder how clear his pee was? I love Cycling regardless of the questions. I doubt that there is a sport out there at the elite category that does not raise questions about the fairness of it’s athletes. What a grandiose waste of taxpayers money!

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Ed Hood has joined the ranks of all the journalists out there who have nothing useful to add to this topic. I don’t know what Lance did and neither does anyone else because he did not test positive. If the new rule is that someone can make you guilty by saying you are, why was that not applied to all professional sports? Hood should stick to derailleur reviews if he wants to suggest that Lance could have avoided this by buying Landis off with a spot on his team. You folks need to think a little more. By the way, if the “real” controls don’t work which is implicit in the USADA action, we need to believe that all athletes are clean now because they say that they are. That was quite a successfull Olympics for the US and China. Maybe they did not get the same memo that Canada received. Our only gold medal was in women’s trampoline. I am not sure how EPO would have helped with that. Denis from Montreal



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Just very hard to tee on all this… Let’s see what we all think in two months.

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#3.

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Dear Ed,

A perhaps better question (that you are in a position to answer) is: “why should USADA not pursue credible evidence that Lance Armstrong engaged in systemic doping throughout his career?” USADA has answered why it is doing it, it is its mandate. It exists for this exact purpose. The choice that you feel is their’s (to cease the case against Lance) may well not be. You imply that because Lance has inspired, has made contributions beyond cycling and has the resources to aggressively challenge (and thereby drive up the financial costs to all) the charges in this case that he should somehow be given a pass, left to carry on without the stain of doping that you, yourself believe to be true (though you do not seem to have the courage to say this directly). I too want to see the evidence against Lance. I would love to have it vindicate him. I imagine the only people who do not want to see what USADA has are Lance and those who are invested in perpetuating an increasingly incredible storyline that he raced clean. Lance is an amazing athlete, an important leader in the fight against cancer and a savvy businessman. It also appears that he knowingly cheated, a lot — an encouraged others to take this dubious path. I would count this as the “root of his current woes.” The next mistake was not being man enough to admit it, take his medicine and work credibly to reduce drugs in sport. And one final thought: what do you calculate the cost of not pursuing credible charges of high profile cheating and other forms of deceit in the sport you love? The way forward for me is for Lance to tell the truth, and for people to accept this reality. It would not be the end of the world, or cycling, or cycling “journalism” or efforts to assist those with cancer and their loved ones. Why don’t you simply counsel honesty (and perhaps forgiveness) instead of looking for escapes and excuses?

Humbly submitted.

john.

P.S. I don’t love or hate Lance.

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So now we award the overall yellow to the “second doper”, Jan Ulrich? Bjarne Riis keeps his yellow and so does Anquetil. Bah just put an asterisk by Armstrong’s name and leave him on top.


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p.s. Oh yeah, and up next, the exclusive admission from Armstrong that he took drugs to beat cancer.

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Yeah, so Lance cheated in an era when they all did. So what! At this point, nothing good can come of this. The cost is great, and the benefits are non-existent. I believed in Tyler, believed in Floyd, got burned twice. And I agree the “smoke cloud” is huge. But I just don’t see that it really matters. When you look at all the good Lance has done and can continue to do, who is going to benefit from bringing him down? To quote Dave Z from this years tour, It’s just a bike race!


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This is the way my simple mind works. Where are the positive doping test results, I only know of over 500 negative test results. Anyone who knows anything about bike racing knows that many of his wins were due to superior tactics. If you read the book, the reason for the comeback was to prove once and for all that since testing was so much more accurate that a proven clean old man could win or do well in the tour. You do not have to be a fanatic to be a believer in Lance. If I had won a couple tours, and knowing that everybody and his uncle was out gunning for me, would I risk it all by indulging in dope, year after year. If Lance really is a doper, then Fabian Cancellara really did have an electric motor in his bike.


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Unlike many other greedy athletes… Lance actually has done and continues to do good. The fact he is being treated worse than convicted murders by an agency this revokes fundamental rights is in it self a joke. The really sad part of this is USADA has stripped credibility from Lance and it self making the grid irrelvent. What a waste.

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Here are some more of my simple minded observations. If the US justice Department after two years and millions of bucks spent, couldn’t find justification to file charges, there can’t be much there. Since the USADA thinks they have the authority to strip Lance of world titles and tour titles, and assign new winners and second and third etc. they obviously are a bunch of wackos. The haters of Lance all think they are experts in bike racing, and will say anything to justify their hatred of him and others like, they are all dopers.

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Lance Armstrong has nothing to complain about, nor his supporters. He signed a valid agreement with USADA. To quote Lance, “Pain is temporary. Quitting is forever.”
He quit.

The guy with all the grit, drive, and sticktoitiveness gave up.

I think he, USA Cycling, and UCI have an inkling of the evidence. That’s why the two latter, basically, had no comment…then, they were ready to go to the mat for Lance (re: lawsuit, statements, etc..). Man, Landis and Tyler fought harder & they were sneered at continually, especially by Armstrong. He should’ve just admitted it & asked for forgiveness. It couldn’t hurt cycling anymore than the current events. People love redemption! He looks weak and anything he says should be considered lightly. We continually hear, “this is going to kill cycling!” on various scandals since (and including) Festina. Yet, it thrives. It will continue to thrive. Lance Armstrong wasn’t the beginning of cycling, he wont be the end. Unfortunately, he will be filed under the footnote of the doping era. That isn’t USADA’s fault. He did enough on his own to deliver the damage.


John Regions
Springfield, Mo


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How is it that USADA is willing to let 10 dopers (witness) go unpunished for the chance to punish one cyclist.

Does that look like fair play to anybody? Are they against doping or against Mr. Armstrong?

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Too big to fail?

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Ed, Lance may not be a saint but the USADA’s actions seem to be motivated by your first two reason’s. Unfortunately politics is always the ugliest of arenas and of course dirtier than our sport has ever been.

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Wait, so you’re telling me the ideal thing to do here is *not* punish dopers?

I find it worrying Pez Cycling News is advocating the “let’s just forget it happened and move on” approach here. Lance Armstrong has had the highst profile in cycling in the past 15 years and he predicated much of that on being a paragon of good. Except we can safely assume he wasn’t, because given how many lesser riders have been caught doping, it is hard to believe he could have won seven Tours de France without it.

To say it is too costly for the sport to go and clear out the attic is to cause even greater harm, for it would be tantamount to sweeping a serious issue under the rug. The best course of action here is to come down hard on those who have doped and not to shy away just because someone is famous and a few years have passed.

If cycling truly wants to move forward, the icons like Armstrong have to fall. Otherwise the champions of tomorrow who feel even slightly tempted to cheat might believe there is a chance they might get away with it.

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What about USAC? This article only mentions UCI. Let’s go back and look at people like Lisa Voight of USAC that kept positive drug tests quiet and under wraps. I can think of one right off the top of my head. Marty Nothstein tested positive but Lisa did a good job of keeping it quiet. An interviewer hints about it and Marty has an interesting answer in this article http://autobus.cyclingnews.com/interviews/nothstein012.shtml
Imagine how many other positive drug tests USAC kept under wraps.
USAC and UCI also need to be responsible. It appears like they were in on the action. Marty used to get tipped off about upcoming drug tests. How many others were tipped off. Lisa Voight was married to one of the national team coaches Craig Griffin so let’s not forget the role of USAC in this cover up.

Thom, Lance’s buddy infiltrated USAC and put in the people he wanted. Currently Steve is a Thom puppet. Of course USAC will not put in much effort to support USADA. USAC has too much to lose. Long ago Thom and Lance orchestrated the takeover of USAC to control the world of cycling. There needs to be an investigation of USAC as well. It has Lance and Thom written all over it and there is a lot to uncover.

What if UCI and USAC came out and supported USADA. Would the world opinion differ? As long as USAC and UCI have things to hide we may not know.

Would like to see some people dig through the cover ups at USAC.


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I’m a bit disappointed that you ascribe to the “where there’s smoke there must be fire” form of “proof”. I still haven’t seen any fact to go along with all the allegations. Serious consequences require serious proof. Allegations by others without factual evidence is just heresay. USADA has proven nothing so far. I’d sure like to see some actual factual evidence.

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2. There’s a political motivation.

Though rumour-mill, there have been several comments about Lance running for Governor for Texas – a move not everyone is comfortable with!

I must admit, from a European point of view it looks like the a US mandate that the rest of the world has to follow! Team America!

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Lance Armstrong a cheat or not it was history, It is a tragic waste of money!! Far better to have spent the money on technology to catch future cheats….there are hungry people in this world that could have used that money…it really burns me how can foolishly spend money that could do soo much good…Far worse than a witch hunt. Somebody should be accountable for wasting tax payers money.

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