Lance Armstrong, aka “The Boss” has issued a statement denouncing the recent New York Times story on two US Postal riders admission to doping during the 1999 season. Pat McQuaid, in a rare moment of clarity has already said that he is not sure why guys who never tested positive and who are retired came clean. He also said that doping is an individual decision.
Lance decried the intentions of the story saying the NYT insinuated that he was involved and they “buried” the part of his non-involvement.
The New York Times issued a strong rebuttal where they pointed out that the mention of Lance’s non-involvement came in the eigth paragraph with a mention of Lance never testing positive in the ninth paragraph.
Way to go guys. You really proved Lance wrong on that one! Below is the statement:
Today’s article in the New York Times was a blatant attempt to associate me and implicate me with a former teammate’s admission that he took banned substances during his career. The recycled suggestion that former teammates took EPO with my knowledge or at my request is categorically false and distorted sensationalism. My cycling victories are untainted; I didn’t take performance enhancing drugs, I didn’t ask anyone else to take them and I didn’t condone or encourage anyone else to take them. I won clean.
Despite the fact I am the most tested athlete in the history of sport, despite my numerous court victories and undefeated court record, and despite the fact that I raced and won clean and fair, my accomplishments and name attract attention and remain frequent targets of distortion and sensationalism. Today is a prime example.
The allegations re-run today are not new and I defeated them in court. The implication that drug use was common knowledge on the Postal team is untrue. In a recent arbitration in Dallas, I proved I never used, asked or encouraged anyone to take drugs. I had over 600 team-related colleagues during my cycling career; of those, only 2 testified for the accusers and none of those involved any proof that I used, or requested others to use, performance enhancing drugs or that drug use was a part of the team.
The two teammates mentioned by name in the article today, Frankie Andreu and Stephen Swart, both gave testimony under oath. The article implies that I asked or encouraged Andreu to take drugs. Andreu’s sworn testimony, however, shows that this is categorically untrue; Andreu testified that a) he had no knowledge that I ever took any performance enhancing substance; b) had no reason to believe I had ever done so; c) had never been told by any reliable source that I had done so; d) that I never mentioned, much less suggested, adopting a doping regimen; and e) that the only observation of drugs (among the hundreds of races in which Andreu had participated with me as both a teammate and roommate on the road) (Andreu was a teammate from approximately 1993 to 2000, while Swart rode for only one year, 1995) was a single occasion taking caffeine.
Q. Did he (Armstrong) indicate to you that he was going to use EPO or consider using EPO?
Q. Was there any discussion between you and Mr. Armstrong regarding EPO or the use of EPO during that time period?
Q. ’94, ’95 time period?
Q. Did anyone on the team tell you that they knew Mr. Armstrong was using EPO during that time period?
Q. Did you ever have a discussion with Mr. Armstrong about whether or not you should use EPO?
A. Did I ever have a discussion with Lance about whether or not I should use EPO?
Q. Did he ever recommend or say you should do EPO?
Q. Did he ever ask for your input about whether or not he should use EPO?
Andreu also refuted the claim by Swart that there was some sort of doping program on the team:
Q. First, tell us who Mr. Swart is.
A. He was a member on the Motorola cycling team for — I don’t know how many years, but I was on the same team with him for a while.
Q. In the book, he says that it was agreed or discussed in the 1995 — early 1995 time period that himself, Mr. Armstrong, and possibly others decided that they would have a medical or doping program, and that each would obtain his own doping products to try to improve their performance. Do you have any information regarding the truth of those statements?
A. I don’t remember ever having a meeting like that, no.
The article also quoted Andreu’s wife falsely asserting that Andreu took drugs for me. That never happened, and even Frankie Andreu himself issued a statement after the article ran where he refuted his own wife, saying “I took drugs to help myself, not to help anyone else.”
The article attempts to describe Betsy Andreu as testifying involuntarily and under subpoena; the truth, however, is that: a) she voluntarily and without subpoena traveled to Dallas from Michigan to testify against me; b) she carried a note saying she hated me; c) she contacted the insurance company defendant 15 times within the space of a month; d) she contacted Greg Lemond and his wife over 100 times in less than a year attempting to bring me down; and e) she described the hospital incident without emotion, then sobbed while re-telling the story less than an hour later, when her testimony was being filmed. Now she attempts to bring me down by somehow attributing her husband’s conduct to me. It’s just not true.
With success comes skeptics, detractors, and attacks of guilt by association, particularly in today’s climate. I raced and won clean. I know it and have fought and proved it. I want the millions of cancer patients and survivors with whom I battle cancer to know these allegations are still untrue and to be assured that my victories were untainted and that they, too, have reason to hope for a full, healthy and productive future.