Resolution

Lemond3 Armstg4 @Ph-Sptsm

With the release of the book “Wheelmen” by Reed Albergotti and Vanessa O’Connell of the Wall Street Journal, Lance Armstrong, the US Postal Service, EPO and Greg LeMond are all back in the news. While I’m enjoying the book so far—Albergotti and O’Connell are fine writers and I’m hoping to pick up a few new details in their narrative—what cycling needs going into the off season isn’t more play on Armstrong. Rather, we would do well to focus on the way forward and what the new president of the UCI, Brian Cookson, is working on.

The trouble is, neither LeMond nor Armstrong are willing call it a day and just move forward. Armstrong is still holding out hope that he can sit down with WADA and weave a tale of doping that will rehabilitate his standing with them such that he’ll be able to compete before President Obama leaves office. Supposing for a second that he’s actually able to get his ban reduced to time served, that misses the larger point. The spell has been broken. No one wants to see Armstrong compete. No one.

I respect that Lance’s plan is get the ban cut, then go to Nike, et al, and secure new sponsorship. Maybe not at the rate he used to get, but get a positive cash flow going. What he doesn’t seem to fathom is that right now he is a guaranteed PR black eye. For anyone, but especially Nike.

It’s fair to wonder why Armstrong won’t just curl up in a corner to lick his wounds. Maybe that speaks to why he won the Tour seven times. And for those who are talking to the screen right now, screaming that he didn’t win the Tour, he did. Maybe not fair—or square—but the top of those fields was dirty. One doper beat all the other dopers. That was the game for those years.

The release of “Wheelmen” has served as the perfect opportunity to quote Greg LeMond on all things Lance. In a recent interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN LeMond opined that Armstrong would barely have cracked the top 30 as a clean rider. I’m not sure that anyone is in a position to make such a sweeping statement about him or the riders from that era. Armstrong dropped a lot of weight ahead of his fourth place at the ’98 Vuelta—and we have every reason to believe he was on EPO before the cancer. He only got better after the ’98 Vuelta, so what changed? Dutch estimates hold that 80 percent of the peloton was on EPO. Honestly, no one can say that had the entire peloton been clean that Armstrong wouldn’t have finished in the top ten.

LeMond went on to volunteer that he thought Armstrong ought to be in jail. There’s no doubt that Big Tex wronged a great many people. What he did to Emma O’Reilly and the Andreus has not ceased to trouble me. Losing a job for sticking with the truth under oath (as Frankie Andreu did) must qualify you as a martyr. But of Armstrong’s many sins none currently seem to hold the potential for sending him on an all-expense-paid trip to the big house. So why offer the opinion that he ought to be in jail? Certainly that’s not analysis, not the way his assertion that Armstrong wasn’t capable of winning the Tour clean was.

From the earliest days of the LeMond/Armstrong conflict there has been an unseemly, jealous and petty sense to LeMond’s dislike of Arrmstrong. What has always bugged me about LeMond’s ire for Armstrong was the same thing that disturbed me about David Walsh’s pursuit of him, that it seemed personal, blind to the other dopers. Walsh’s book “Seven Deadly Sins” traces his path and demonstrates the circumstances why Walsh was so focused on Armstrong. Without putting words in his mouth, I think it’s fair to summarize Walsh’s Armstrong quest as synecdoche, wherein one small part serves to stand for the whole—referring to your car as your wheels. For Walsh, Armstrong seems to have been (rightly) the tip of the iceberg.

It’s harder for LeMond to claim that he had an overarching concern for doping unless he’s more naive than anyone else who ever raced the Tour. We know that Miguel Indurain, Gianni Bugno, Claudio Chiappucci would never have taken the podium at the ’91 Tour without the aid of EPO. Why has he never called them out?

It’s interesting that when LeMond retired three years later that he didn’t reveal that he understand what had hit him. The reason he gave for his retirement was a pathology, mitochondrial myopathy, which he related to his brother-in-law mistaking him for a turkey. At the time, blaming his inability to kick Miguel Indurain’s ass on lead in his chest seemed the most graceful explanation. It was, however, wrong. The real explanation was simpler. LeMond was getting beat because there were dozens of guys on EPO. He was being forced to race well into the red zone for far longer than he had in previous tours. So why didn’t he say anything then?

Armstrong’s problem with LeMond was that he needed to believe LeMond doped in order to think that he was no worse. Armstrong may never let go of his belief that LeMond doped. There’s still a certain amount of derisive snorting about LeMond’s B12 miracle shot, administered near the end of the ’89 Giro. The stupid thing here is that the obvious doping alternative would be anabolic steroids, which were very easy to catch in the 1980s.

The value to the book Albergotti and O’Connell have written is that it is likely to serve as the functional narrative for the EPO era. Because there are people who dismiss everything Tyler Hamilton says, because he previously lied, and because the USADA Reasoned Decision isn’t packaged as a single story, “Wheelmen” may prove to be the definitive version of this story.

The upshot to this is that any further attempt by Armstrong to confess as a means to rehabilitate his image, which will really only be a pretext to getting back to competition, will have to meet a very high bar of revelation. Not only will he need to reveal the juiciest of details behind everything everyone else has documented, but the days of him denying eyewitness accounts are over. Sure, he can deny all he wants, but the problem he faces is that the days of giving him the benefit of the doubt are over. In a he said/she said, we used to award him the point. What he doesn’t seem to follow is that we no longer give his word any weight. This is a point that can’t be exaggerated. If Charles Manson said he watched Armstrong eat babies, no matter what Armstrong said, any reasonable person would send his toothbrush to the lab.

The problem isn’t that Armstrong doesn’t know what the truth is, it’s that he doesn’t understand that he doesn’t have the ability to shape the story anymore. Until he understands that, there’s no reason for him to speak. Until he really understands what “the full truth” means, he’s useless to cycling.

But what of LeMond? He has all of American cycling at his feet. Oakley and Giro have apologized to him. Who knows how many others have quietly made amends. He’s won three Tours, beaten Bernard Hinault into submission, had a bike line developed, distributed and sold by Trek. He is now working with Time to produce his bikes, while he has taken on the distributorship of Time here in the U.S.

By any measure, it’s a charmed existence. Yet, the feature most common to all his dealings is conflict, most often exemplified by lawsuits.

Game, set, match. They are all his. When will he find peace, happiness?

 

[Ed. note: We reached out to LeMond with a request for an interview but got no response.]

Image: John Pierce, Photosport International

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38 comments

  1. Shawn

    I think it is perfectly acceptable for Lemond’s problems with Lance to be motivated by personal animosity. The negative pole of your Lance ambivilence is similarly motivated: “What he did to Emma O’Reilly and the Andreus has not ceased to trouble me.” I suspect Lemond’s disdain is motivated by more than harms suffered by others. Plus, Lance made disliking him easy to personalize by his brazen lies and general douchbaggery.

  2. David

    A few days ago, you were discussing why TRC is so important. Now you are saying we need to move on and TRC will be a vehicle for LA’s redemption. Which is it? Personally, I agree with the later. If I want to know what happened, I’ll read Kimmage’s book. It’s all there. Little has changed in the last 20 or maybe 100 years.

    Had LeMond spit in the soup back in ’94, he would have been ostracized even more than Kimmage. The same accusations that were made against Greg in ’00 would have been made in ’94. This was before Festina so the belief bar would have been that much higher.

    Could you add a reference to the Giro and Oakley apologies? Were they made public? Thanks


    1. Author
      Padraig

      David: I’m not saying we need to move on, I’m saying they need to move on—from each other.

      We need a TRC, full stop. And right now, I don’t think either of them have anything to offer it. So let’s get them out of the way and get down to the brass tacks, as it were.

  3. Clark

    Maybe I’m missing something, but why is everyone so sure Lemond didn’t dope? Sure, EPO just started to spin up as he left the sport, but that wasn’t the first banned substance riders abused–not by a long shot.


    1. Author
      Padraig

      Clark: Prior to EPO, basically all the drugs that were in use were pretty easy to catch. There were probably a few performances that escaped detection due to masking agents (such as Pedro Delgado’s ’88 Tour win), but it was EPO that introduced uncertainty into testing. Human growth hormone was hard to catch, but so far as I’ve learned, it only began to circulate about the time EPO did. That leaves us with a question: What could LeMond have used that would have escaped detection? The answer is virtually nothing. On top of that is the fact that most of the drugs in use at that time really didn’t give you a distinct edge in grand tours, not the way that oxygen-vector doping does.

      Finally, there’s the Boy Scout aspect to the Americans who went to Europe in the ’70s and ’80s. Most of them spoke out against doping (Hampsten was pretty vocal and told the press he thought Delgado should lose his Tour win). That simply wasn’t being done back then. No one spoke out against the omertà and yet it’s easy to find quotes from LeMond and Hampsten as well as others speaking out against doping in the ’80s and ’90s. If they were a part of that system, I don’t think they’d have been speaking out. A corollary to La Vie Claire being clear of systematic doping is the fact that Hampsten would later be dumped from Banesto for his lack of “professionalism.” He refused to get on the program while he was there. If he’d been doping at La Vie Claire, why would he have refused to do EPO at Banesto?

      Finally, I think LeMond and Hampsten both deserve to be free of mudslinging. And I think accusing either one of them of doping without any credible evidence is just that, mudslinging. No one has offered the sort of evidence against either LeMond or Hampsten that we saw in David Walsh’s reporting. There’s not a shred of evidence that either of them ever worked with any of the doctors credited with advancing oxygen-vector doping, and it’s terribly important to observe that from ’91 to ’96, nearly everyone who was winning at that time could be linked to Conconi or one of proteges (the Vuelta was a bit different).

  4. Patrick24

    Good article. Not that I am attempting to excuse anything Armstrong has done, but I am glad to see you say there is an element of seeming jealousy to what LeMond has said and does, and I think it is helpful to have a neutral person such as Padraig point this out in a reasoned way (not trying to suck up either, I just think PadRaig e did a good job). Having LeMond coming across as a ranting old man does nothing to facilitate the Truth or the Reconciliation in a TRC process.

  5. Clark

    Padraig,

    Thanks for the details. It’s certainly tough to find a balance between presuming innocence and the general lack of surprise when another ryder is outed for his past transgressions. I’ve read a few other articles post-Oprah that refer to Lemond’s likely dope-free career, but none of them presented the forum to follow up with the author as to the basis for his credibility. Having picked up cycling (both spectating and participating) only in the last ten years, the background is much appreciated.

    -Clark

  6. Rp

    Your article should have stopped at your views on Armstrong.
    Your views on Lemond, Andreus, O’Reilly and Walsh are unnecessary These individuals have had their personal lives and livelihoods destroyed, and I feel they are justified in their attempts to make some form of restitution.
    I agree with Lemond, that Armstrong should go to jail and I agree that Armstrong does not have the physiology to be in the top 30 of the Tour – Lemond bases his opinion on sound principles.
    David Walsh was looking for the truth, as were others.
    Why is that a sourse of derision?

  7. BJ

    I agree that Lemond has come off as rather jealous of Armstrong, and it hasn’t helped him over the years, but, after years of watching Law & Order ;-), I’m not so sure that Lance didn’t do some things that could have sent him to jail.

    Do any of the doping agents fall under controlled substance laws? Could threatening someone’s livelihood if they don’t keep quiet be construed as extortion? It would seem an enterprising prosecutor could find something that would have put an ordinary person in jail, though somebody with Lance’s resources would be a different sort of case.


    1. Author
      Padraig

      Rp: The only way anyone could conclude that I was critical of the Andreus, O’Reilly and Walsh is by not actually reading what I wrote. I derided none of them.

      BJ: It’s not that Lance didn’t break laws that could get him tossed in the clink, it’s that the statute of limitations has run out on virtually everything he could be prosecuted for.

  8. SusanJane

    Not everyone forgives and forgets. Maybe they should but I can see why no one is in a hurry to forgive Lance.

    It must be close to Halloween. I get the hee-bee jee-bees thinking about the Lance PR machine going back to making millions. But then again I remember McQ getting booed on stage… wonder what would be flying if Lance… nawh let’s not go there.

  9. Mike Anderson

    Paddy,

    You have presented such a simplistic, overly-sterile, and frankly, moronic assessment of the problems that jackass Lance Armstrong brought upon himself, that I cannot help but think you have either been drinking heavily or have a bad case if worms in your brain.

    Kind regards,
    Mike Anderson


    1. Author
      Padraig

      Mike: Forgetting for a moment the possibility that you might have missed a good deal of what I’ve written about “that jackass,” I grant that you’ve seen far more than I have. Care to do an interview?

  10. Evan

    The creation of negative views of Lemond Andreaus oReilly and and Walsh were BIG LIES designed by Armstrong to denigrate destroy and manipulate us. You are falling prey to the Armstrong lie machine Padraig. Review the facts. Lemond tried to help Armstrong.

    Do people who are victims of a cruel criminal need to be viewed as equivalent to the perpetrator in the idea of both should let the past go?

  11. Patrick O'Brien

    Another nice piece of writing and analysis Padraig. Thanks.

    I too was puzzled by the animosity, maybe even hatred, that LeMond has for Armstrong. It sells though, which could explain the coverage. Nothing like a feud to sell advertising.

    This jail thing puzzles me too. For what crimes?

  12. Andrew

    I seem to remember something about one of Armstrong’s people phoning LeMond and saying something (truly awful) related to LeMond’s boyhood sexual abuse. If only for that I think LeMond has a perfect right not to forgive.


    1. Author
      Padraig

      Evan: You wrote “LeMond tried to help Armstrong” and then asked me to review the facts. As that’s not a fact I’m familiar with, please do us all a favor and post a link to a piece that demonstrates how LeMond tried to help Armstrong. I’d love to see it.

      Andrew: As Clark pointed out, the exchange about LeMond’s sexual abuse had nothing to do with Armstrong. It occurred in a phone call from Will Geoghegan, a friend of Floyd Landis’, after LeMond told Landis of his abuse. Fortunately, cycling hasn’t heard from Geoghegan since.

  13. Shawn

    LeMond was one of a small hand full of people (along with Kimmage, Walsh, Bassons, the Andreus, etc.) who spoke out against doping during the EPO era. And for all his efforts he saw his reputation smeared, was pressured by industry figures and threatened with lawsuits including by the head of the UCI, and had his bike business and livelihood destroyed with Trek.

    I wish this canard about LeMond being petty and jealous would finally go away. It’s getting kind of old.

  14. Shawn

    Re: Lemond riding clean.

    I believe Lemond was clean. I also think _some_ of the reasons Padraig listed in response to Clark, above, provide circumstantial evidence of Lemond’s cleanness. However, to think doping wasn’t rampant in Lemond’s day is revisionist. Amphetamines were killing riders. Steroids were making my path to the end zone easier in the early 80s, and apparently they do something for cyclists too — I suppose you could ask Floyd about that. HGH was being sold illicitly in my gym by ’87. And let’s not forget about blood packing, which gave a boost (and Olympic Gold Medals) even before it was made more efficient by EPO, and long, long before Texans were doing it in buses in the Alps.

  15. Fred Taylor

    Lance did what every other pro cyclist did, excepting a few. The individuals who Lance hurt, I am sorry. Lance was the most dynamic and exciting cyclist/entertainer, in the EURO centric circus, called pro cycling. I cannot, ever hate on him, he was simply fabulous.
    As for Greg, great guy, natural talent, cheated out of many TdF wins. Sorry Greg, get over it, USADA vindicated you, now do something to help our sport, move on. We who raced with you, did not know you ever to be bitter, why let a petty bully ruin your life?

  16. Sophrosune

    Padraig, I have had to read this piece a couple of times to figure out why it bothers me so much. I think I have an inkling of it now. You seem to take LeMond’s understandable exaggerations in an interview and conflate them with the years of lying, lawsuits and vindictive intimidation that Armstrong engaged in.

    Here’s how you start on this path. You start by ameliorating Armstrong’s crime by giving him begrudged respect for his most recent manipulations: “I respect that Lance’s plan is get the ban cut, then go to Nike, et al, and secure new sponsorship. Maybe not at the rate he used to get, but get a positive cash flow going.” I can understand this effort of Armstrong’s too (just further evidence of his sociopathic tendencies), but why does it deserve your respect?

    Then you indirectly accuse LeMond of being complicit in the doping of professional cycling (and by extension, Armstrong’s doping) by complaining that he didn’t speak out early on against doping more publicly. Of course, we got a very clear explanation of why he didn’t do it more publicly earlier because when he did it later, Armstrong and his connections tried to destroy him.

    Do you really believe that his silence early on in the introduction of EPO (at least public silence) precludes him from talking about Armstrong? BTW He left PDM because of organized doping and joined the Italian team ADR-Agrigel-Bottechia for no pay to win the TdF in 1989. That’s what’s called letting your actions actions speak for themselves.

    Then you complain about what appears to you to be a preoccupation with Armstrong’s doping while neglecting to mention doping among other riders. Here’s the Occam’s Razor explanation for that: He talks about Armstrong so much because he has always been asked about Armstrong so much.

    LeMond’s failing is that he is not the polished public speaker that Armstrong is. Now that he is allowed to give interviews after being banned from speaking about Armstrong and doping for over a decade, you can see that he has been thinking about the issue of doping in his own career and for the sport in general, but is not well practiced. His lack of practice results in stumbles where he doesn’t finish points that he starts to make. Maybe he could have said in the Cooper interview that the kind of activities Armstrong engaged in, such as perjury, financial intimidation and vindictive lawsuits, amounted to a criminal enterprise…but we’re past the statute of limitations so no criminal charges can be filed. He’s not a lawyer, and thank god for that.

    As far as LeMond contending that Armstrong at best would be top 30 rider, it seems that every reason you provide as a counter argument to that contention is purely speculative. The only fact we have about how Armstrong would finish in a TdF is that his best finish is now 36th place after having been stripped of his wins. Based on that, LeMond’s assessment of Armstrong’s true capabilities seems fairly reasonable without speculating how his weight loss would have changed that.

    Finally, you say you don’t know of any evidence of LeMond supporting Armstrong. I remember vividly in an interview during the TdF (I believe with Garrick Utley) in which Armstrong finished 36th, LeMond came on and praised Armstrong and hoped that he would not become discouraged by his poor TdF showing.

    But no need to trust my memory, here is a very recent interview with LeMond (http://www.nantucketproject.com/a-conversation-with-greg-lemond) about his early relationship with Armstrong. If you go to about the 8-minute mark, you can see where he starts talking about his early relationship with Armstrong. It was Armstrong, according to LeMond, who started the icy relations between the two men.

    I got into cycling because of Greg LeMond, so, yes, I am a bit of an apologist for him. I wish he was more polished in presenting his vast knowledge of cycling and doping in cycling. But taking him to task for some perceived jealousy and resentment he may have for someone who tried to ruin him and his reputation seems to be the same kind manipulations that Armstrong would engage in. Be careful of who you decide to respect.

  17. Walter Nash

    As far as saying that Armstrong never did anything worthy of getting some jail time one need look no further than committing perjury in civil case depositions/arbitrations. Granted, the statute has run on all that (absent an arcane theory that claims staying quiet tolls the statute…something I have never bought into). Still…he did what he did and others have seen the Bastille for doing the same thing.

    Your piece seems to take LeMond to task for suing some folks in the past. I have heard others do the same thing and I am baffled why folks take this stance. ADR refused to pay him bonuses per the terms of their written contract and he sued them. A Wyoming developer embezzled millions from him and others and he joined in a suit to recover money they invested. Trek treated him badly and they traded lawsuits. Trek paid out money, LeMond did not. I see nothing that is wrong with standing up for one’s contractual rights in the face of a clear breach by another.

    Curiously, Armstrong’s abusive filing of now-admittedly baseless lawsuits (O’Reilly, SCA, London Times, etc.) based on perjury somehow gets a pass…?

  18. Hennie Kuiper

    Your continued smearing of LeMond is frankly disturbing. We get it, if Lance had ran a professional PR campaign designed to ruin your image, destroyed your business, offered money to former teammates to get them to say you doped, etc. you would have laid down and took it. Luckily Greg has more backbone.

    Climbing, TT, and recovery are critical to succeeding at the Tour. Lance showed no ability to do any of this at a Tour winning level prior to taking EPO. He never even finished the Tour prior to taking EPO, he dropped out twice. Please spare us the “Weight loss” Nonsense. Lance often got super skinny on Motorola
    http://oi43.tinypic.com/8z06l1.jpg

    Armstrong’s VO2max was measured several times 70.5, 76.1, 81.2, 66.6, 71.5 all at 700 ft. Good for an average person but for a Pro Cyclist? Average, very average. LeMond is being generous when he says top 30

    Greg has been vocally anti-doping for decades. Long before Armstrong ever won the Tour Greg spoke up.

    PDM pushed him to dope. He broke his contract instead of getting on the program. He did not stay silent, he went public in 1989 about PDM pushing him to dope
    http://articles.latimes.com/1989-07-25/sports/sp-95_1_greg-lemond

    Prior to Armstrong winning the Tour Greg spoke about how Italian doping doctors were ruining the sport. Here is an interview from early 1998

    http://www.roble.net/marquis/coaching/lemond98.html

    “the Italians have changed the sport in a really bad way. It has become much more medical….. I do know in the early ’90s there was a huge movement in Italy. Riders that had been racing for six or seven years were suddenly riding really well. To me, that looks a little suspicious. The drug issue is something I often thought about during my career. Toward the end, I always wondered, ‘Is everyone taking drugs, while I stay clean, causing me to perform so poorly?’ ………One thing I do know is that a teammate of mine went to an Italian team and he died of a heart attack a year later”

    Does Lance belong in jail? Are witness intimidation, perjury, obstruction of justice, and wire fraud still against the law? Does lance get a free pass for his illegal activity because you do not like LeMond?


    1. Author
      Padraig

      First up: Hennie Kuiper, you need to pick another name next time you choose to comment, as that isn’t your name and really isn’t an appropriate handle; it could give some people less knowledgeable the idea that you are one of cycling’s greats, and that’s not accurate.

      Next, after this post, it’s hard to claim I’m smearing LeMond: http://redkiteprayer.com/2013/10/tying-off-the-past/ Also, I like LeMond a lot; I just don’t agree with everything he does. I don’t agree with everything my mom does, but I haven’t loved her any less for it.

      I’m not going to go into a point-by-point rebuttal of everything that’s been written here, but I’ll make a few general responses. Regarding my statements on Armstrong’s weight, they were meant to show that speculation can be rebutted with speculation. It doesn’t get us anywhere.

      The interview referenced above is from Bicyclist Magazine (formerly Bicycle Guide) and while it was conducted by a coworker of mine, I helped formulate those questions and helped edit the interview (for clarity). I had plenty of problems with it at the time because while LeMond made the sweeping statement of “the Italians” he didn’t name names. My memory might be faulty, but I don’t recall him calling out another rider from the EPO era by name for doping. That’s not me disliking LeMond; that’s just troubling.

      Let me cast LeMond’s statements, or non-statements about doping in the barest possible light: Why didn’t he ever call out Indurain?

      While I’d heard that LeMond had been pressured to dope while at PDM, I’ve yet to see a public statement by him about it. The quotes from his attorney in the LA Times article are the closest thing to a public statement I’ve ever seen; I hadn’t seen that article before. The article does, however, point out that the primary reason for him breaking his contract was money, not doping.

      The real issue here is Armstrong and his (voluminous) misdeeds. The question people seem most concerned with goes to LeMond’s assertion that Armstrong “belongs” in prison. In my last email exchange with Pelkey, the best he and I could come up with was a possible RICO indictment; we both forgot about the witness tampering with Tyler Hamilton. On the points of perjury, obstruction of justice (from the Postal days) and wire fraud he does not belong in jail simply because the statute of limitations has run out. Of course, if we’re talking the rule of emotion, rather than the rule of law, he should have been drawn and quartered by now. A RICO indictment seems unlikely, but the witness tampering with Hamilton may yet bite Armstrong. And if it does, so be it. It’s fair to wonder why there hasn’t already been an indictment. The people who would chase that aren’t otherwise occupied with him and his activities.

      Let me write this once again just to be ultra-clear for everyone who didn’t read closely: I don’t believe that Armstrong didn’t break the law. The issue is that the statute of limitations has run out. I’m not giving him a pass; the rule of law is giving him a pass.

      The reason I wrote this post, and what still troubles me is that right now cycling faces a huge problem in restoring its credibility. Cooler heads need to prevail. Mouthing off about who should be in jail isn’t serving us. I don’t see that LeMond has anything useful to contribute right now, and for that, I’d like him to drop the war of words. Similarly, I don’t believe Armstrong is going to contribute anything useful (even though he knows much and could educate us a great deal), so for similar reasons, I’d like him to just duck out of the way. There’s a lot of work to be done, and those who want to fight old battles aren’t helping us any. That goes for both of them.

  19. Larry T.

    +1 for what Sophrosune posted. Having spoken with LeMond a few times over the years, I think his “problem” is that there is no filter between brain/heart and his mouth. The man can not help but say what he thinks and feels. In this day and age that is amazingly refreshing…and all too rare. To me it always was part of his charm, along with just being a nice guy. He’s the complete and total opposite of BigTex, perhaps that’s why the two never seemed to get along?

  20. Hennie Kuiper

    You continue to push the idea that Greg has spent years “Calling out” Lance. This is not the case. For most of Lance’s 7 year run Greg was virtually silent on Lance. In their lawsuit Trek was only able to come up with two tepid quotes from Greg, one one of those quotes came after Lance had launched a serious effort to crush Greg and his business. The fact is Greg has been against doping for decades. He has been pointing it out for decades. If was only after this comment that people took notice:

    “When Lance won the prologue to the 1999 Tour, I was close to tears….

    “But when I heard he was working with Michele Ferrari, I was devastated. One American journalist wrote that the only reason you visit Ferrari is to tell him to get the hell out of your sport. I agree with that. In the light of Lance’s relationship with Ferrari, I just don’t want to comment on this year’s Tour, he continued. “In a general sense, if Lance is clean, it is the greatest comeback in the history of sport. If he isn’t, it would be the greatest fraud.”

    This comment came shortly after it was exposed that Lance was working with Ferrari. Most who had followed the sport felt the same way Greg did. For saying what most in the sport felt Greg was painted as a bitter, obsessed, has been. Really?

    Perhaps the reason you have the perception that Greg spent a decade ranting about Lance to the media is that Armstrong hired a PR firm to actively smear Greg? They painted him as an obsessed has been and tried to get former friends and teammates to invent stories about him. The fact is Greg withdrew from the sport. Armstrong’s harassment forced him into silence, when the sport needed him to speak up

    You are confused about the statue of limitations on Armstrong’s criminal activity. Lance, and his associates, actively obstructed a Federal criminal investigation. They harassed witnesses and obstructed the investigation. This all happened in the last 3 years and is well within the statue of limitations. There is an active criminal investigation into these activities

    http://www.mainjustice.com/2013/02/06/report-lance-armstrong-may-face-federal-prosecution-after-all/

    “high level source told ABC News, “Birotte does not speak for the federal government as a whole.” According to the source, who agreed to speak on the condition that his name and position were not used because of the sensitivity of the matter, “Agents are actively investigating Armstrong for obstruction, witness tampering and intimidation.”

    Should ABC news not mention this? Do they have to keep their mouth’s shut on Armstrong’s criminal activities or does this just apply to Greg?

    The sport needs more Greg LeMond, not less.

  21. Sophrosune

    Padraig, I am distressed by your response here in the comments perhaps more than by your original piece.

    First, if you want to hear LeMond call out PDM for forcing him to dope, you can see this recent interview. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLVOCV5Nlms

    I don’t believe you dislike LeMond, nor did I suggest that you do. I am concerned that you want to silence someone who has been forced contractually to remain silent by co-conspirators (Armstrong & Trek) and then taking him to task for not qualifying his “criminal enterprise” comment with the statute of limitations, but at once have respect for Armstrong in his attempt to chisel out some more fortune from his crimes.

    I am shaking my head, trying to figure what is going on.


    1. Author
      Padraig

      Sophrosune: I don’t believe you’ve twisted my prose into a suggestion I dislike LeMond; my comment on that score was to others who plainly think I’ve got a grudge against him. Moving on, I think most of what LeMond and Armstrong have to say at this point isn’t germane to the task at hand. It’s a distraction. I don’t have a problem that LeMond called Postal a “criminal enterprise,” but I do have a problem saying Armstrong “ought” to be in jail. It’s simply not his place. As to seeing Armstrong continue his career in some fashion, I want nothing of the sort and have written nothing that would suggest that. I’ve reached out to LeMond to see if he would grant a short interview but got no response and even tried reaching out through his bike company and even with the aid of his marketing director, got not response. If cycling is going to be the stuff of national/international news, we need to make an effort to show what’s being done to clean it up, not wallowing in the Armstrong debacle. There’s more to cleaning up cycling than Postal, than Lance, and running around talking about what ought to be done to Lance, irrespective of the law, isn’t helping.

  22. Sophrosune

    Thanks, Padraig. I think if you watch the panel LeMond participated in at the University of Texas (the video I linked to in my last comment), you will see that LeMond has a lot insights and ideas about the direction for the sport. Some are quite radical and I think would be extremely effective at turning the sport around.

    But the reason he gets to do these panels now is because they want to ask him about Armstrong. I think LeMond has exercised great restraint about Armstrong in these discussions (I don’t even think the jail comment is quite as bad as you make out) and taken great pains to move the conversation from Armstrong to ways that we can improve the sport today. I would like to see you, or one of your columnists, take up some of these ideas in one of your pieces.

    I hope you do get your interview withe LeMond. I think he can be a great beacon for this sport in these stormy times. Let’s not cast him aside for a comment that was borderline at worst, and perfectly understandable considering what he and his family went through.


    1. Author
      Padraig

      Sophrosune: I completely agree that he has great insights about how to govern the sport. If he could contain his comments to his views about how to analyze power data and things of that nature, I probably wouldn’t be able to hear enough of him. But every time the conversation veers to Armstrong his participation in the discussion goes side-show. I think he could be very helpful to the UCI in analyzing athlete data; unfortunately, no one calls him for that.

  23. Sophrosune

    Padraig, These conversations don’t veer to Armstrong. They are set up to be precisely about Armstrong. Anderson Cooper didn’t invite him on his show to discuss what should be done about the UCI and the structure of the sport. He wants to discuss Armstrong, and to people who don’t follow the sport this is still a very fresh story.

    The fact that LeMond can discuss these other issues at all is a testament to his restraint and dignity. If you don’t like LeMond discussing Armstrong, then your piece should talk about the sensationalist journalism that is typically practiced that only wants to polish the surface of subjects and not condemn LeMond for trying to enlighten an uninformed audience about details of the Armstrong case, doping and general and–when he can–the best direction of the sport in the wake of all these scandals.

  24. Maremma Mark

    What a lot of noise this is! I would have expected the level of dialogue at RKP to be a bit higher brow. Only Americans were able to suspend belief and accept that LA was riding clean all those years. Every one else knew better, it was a fairy tale and who believes in fairy tales? But from a country that believed George Bush and his father before him, we couldn’t expect much different.

    But really, LA and Greg? Can we move on already? Padraig is right, neither of those guys has much to offer at this point. LA is a certified liar, bully and thief. Only a religious conversion might change that. I don’t have an opinion on LeMond, as someone said earlier, he has a right to rant after what he’s been through. The question that begs answering is, why are you people paying so much attention to it?

    There is important business to attend to in pro cycling. Let’s go work on that, which if nothing else, is far more interesting than endlessly talking about LA and the cast of thousands.

  25. Alex TC

    “By any measure, it’s a charmed existence. Yet, the feature most common to all his dealings is conflict, most often exemplified by lawsuits.
    Game, set, match. They are all his. When will he find peace, happiness?”

    He may never. Remember this is a guy who has been abused, harassed and bullyied since his youth. Granted, most “normal” ppl also has/had to deal with all this at some point in life. But LeMondAnd still he has an iron character, and maybe it´s too much to ask for peace and happiness above some level (which, incidentally, he may well be anyway…).

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