Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Fall of the House of Armstrong Pt. II...

Now that the 60 Minutes report has aired, we know a bit more than we knew before. Here is the most damning piece of evidence revealed-

"The Swiss lab director has since given a sworn statement to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). "60 Minutes" has learned that the lab director testified that a representative of the UCI wanted the matter of the suspicious test to go no further. The lab director also testified that the meeting between himself, Bruyneel and Armstrong was arranged by the UCI."

So, in response to a positive dope test in the 2001 Tour de Suisse, which automatically would have kept Armstrong out of the 2001 and 2002 Tours de France, Bruyneel and Armstrong have a face-to-face meeting with the lab director, something that is unheard of. A member of the UCI interfered with lab protocol and made it clear this situation was to be remedied in Armstrong's favor by having the whole matter simply disappear.

This is what we have so far-

1) Institutionalized corruption that favored Armstrong and his teammates within not only cycling's governing body, the UCI, but also with the labs that carry out the anti-doping tests.

2) An exclusive non-compete contract during the Tour de France with the most infamous doping doctor of modern times, Italian Michele Ferrari, with money exchanging hands until as recently as 2010. Armstrong has stated publicly he cut ties with this doctor back in 2004.

3) Four ex-teammates giving evidence that they saw Armstrong dope with their own eyes and also partook in doping alongside him, either through procurement or ingesting.

4) Armstrong played a role in the trafficking of PEDs when he sent Hamilton a package containing EPO through the mail.

Aside from all the residual drama and posturing, this is what we know for sure. We do not know who else has testified or what they said. We do not know how the Italian authorities are dealing with Dr. Ferrari, who has had some of his bank accounts frozen and is currently under investigation. Ferrari has taken, at least in public, a pro-active approach by seeking the authorities so he can clear up any misunderstandings. The twisted guru to the the most successful cyclists of our times seemingly has nothing to hide, but he is the linchpin to the whole case.

He has managed to elude Italian authorities up to now. He was convicted of doping crimes a few years ago yet served no jail time and his license to practice as a doctor was never suspended. He still counsels cyclists as the pre-eminent quack of the cycling world though he has been told not to. He just does it discreetly in another country where apparently the Italians have no authority to chase him. His clientele protect him like a fugitive Nazi war criminal. But with Interpol now involved, this may be the beginning of the end for his career as a "cycling coach".

If the Italian and North American authorities can manage to get this vile slug to flip, then the whole house of cards will come tumbling down. He is the man who has the keys to it all-the doping calendars for Armstrong and the other riders on the team he worked with, the procurement of PEDs, and the amount of money that exchanged hands for his services. Then you have other quacks that worked with US Postal/Discovery/Astana such as Spanish doctor del Moral, who now runs an athletic clinic in Valencia, Spain.

There is much more to this tale but I'm keeping it short due to the speculation that has run rampant on the internet. Everyone has their "take", but until we know what the Feds are charging people with, there is no point in going further. All we can do now is wait. Any more commentary on this matter is nothing but an exercise in conjecture until more concrete details become public. But in part three of this series, the fanboys will be addressed.

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