Armstrong Responds to Circ Report

lance_armstrongLance Armstrong has responded to the publication of the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (Circ) Report with an official statement:


I am grateful to CIRC for seeking the truth and allowing me to assist in that search. I am deeply sorry for many things I have done. However, it is my hope that revealing the truth will lead to a bright, dope-free future for the sport I love, and will allow all young riders emerging from small towns throughout the world in years to come to chase their dreams without having to face the lose-lose choices that so many of my friends, teammates and opponents faced. I hope that all riders who competed and doped can feel free to come forward and help the tonic of truth heal this great sport.


Armstrong’s attorney, Elliot Peters, continued:


Lance Armstrong cooperated fully with CIRC. He met in person for two full days with CIRC senior investigators, including Peter Nicholson and Ulrich Haas, answered every question they asked without any restrictions, agreed to meet again if they wanted, and provided all documents requested to which he had access. Lance’s sole interest in doing so was to facilitate the emergence of the truth about cycling. While Lance has borne the brunt of anti-doping enforcement efforts and attendant negative publicity (and consequences), the truth is that the sport he encountered in Europe in the 1990s was a cesspool where doctors, coaches and riders participated daily in doping and covering up doping. Young riders on elite teams competing in Europe faced a simple choice: dope and lie about it or accept that you could not compete clean. We applaud CIRC for taking a courageous and unvarnished look at the truth. In the rush to vilify Lance, many of the other equally culpable participants have been allowed to escape scrutiny, much less sanction, and many of the anti-doping ‘enforcers’ have chosen to grandstand at Lance’s expense rather than truly search for the truth.


The report, which heavily criticised the sport’s leadership during the 1990s and 2000s in its 227-pages, specifically highlighted the preferential treatment Armstrong had been afforded when it came to selectively ignoring the problem of doping.


Read the full Circ Report here.


Cycling Independent Reform Commission Report

UCIThe landmark Cycling Independent Reform Commission (Circ) Report has heavily criticised the sport’s leadership during the 1990s and 2000s in its 227-page report. Whilst it broadly cleared the International Cycling Union bosses of ‘outright corruption’ it pulls no punches when it comes to highlighting a damning range of failings including the effective turning of a blind eye to all but the most serious of doping offences. The report, compiled at a cost of over £2m by chairman Dr Dick Marty and two vice-chairs – Professor Ulrich Haas and Peter Nicholson – specifically highlights preferential treatment of Lance Armstrong.


Other findings, the result of interviews with over 170 people including riders and anti-doping experts, included the fact that the use of ‘weight-loss drugs, experimental medicine and powerful painkillers’ is widespread, that doping in amateur cycling remains ‘endemic’ and that other, non-drug related, forms of cheating relating to equipment is still on the rise.


The current UCI president Brian Cookson, who took office in 2013 largely on a clean-sweep and zero-tolerance ticket, responded to the report by saying, ‘It is clear that in the past the UCI suffered severely from a lack of good governance with individuals taking crucial decisions alone. Many (of these decisions) undermined anti-doping efforts; put the UCI in an extraordinary position of proximity to certain riders; and wasted a lot of its time and resources in open conflict with organisations such as the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) and US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada).’


The full Cycling Independent Reform Commission Report can be read here.


Astana Licence Under Threat

astanaAstana, home to Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali, is to have its WorldTour Licence reviewed after a third member of the squad, llya Davidenok, failed a doping test. Davidenok tested positive for anabolic steroids following a test on August 27, whilst brothers Maxim and Valentin Iglinskiy both tested positive for EPO (erythropoietin) earlier in August.


The International Cycling Union’s (UCI) licence commission will review Astana’s anti-doping policies and wider management conduct. In a statement the UCI say the decision to review, ‘follows the serious concerns raised by the fact that two Astana riders Maxim and Valentin Iglinskiy recently tested positive for EPO and the notification this week that llya Davidenok has returned an Adverse Analytical Finding for anabolic androgenic steroids in a sample collected at the Tour de l’Avenir on 28th August 2014… The rider has the right to request the analysis of the B sample and in accordance with UCI Anti-doping Rules has been provisionally suspended until the adjudication of the matter.’


Astana’s Team Manager, Alexander Vinokourov, completed a two-year bad for doping in 2009 before going on to take Gold in the Men’s Road Race at the London 2012 Olympics.


Further information on Astana at


Jonathan Tiernan-Locke Faces Doping Enquiry

Jonathan Tiernan-LockeTeam Sky Rider Jonathan Tiernan-Locke looks set to face disciplinary proceedings after an anti-doping violation was found in his biological passport. The 28-year-old 2012 Tour of Britain winner pulled out of the 2013 World Championships in September when the International Cycling Union (UCI) asked him to explain the anomaly and today Team Sky issued this press statement:


‘Team Sky notes that Jonathan Tiernan-Locke has been charged with a violation of the UCI anti-doping rules. We have been informed that he intends to defend himself against that charge… Jonathan Tiernan-Locke will not ride for Team Sky or take part in any team activities – including training camps and all team duties – until a decision is made in this disciplinary hearing process. We understand that the violation was highlighted by an anomaly in his Biological Passport, in a reading taken before he signed for this team. There are no doubts about his approach or performance in Team Sky.’ The statement added: ‘This is a team that trains, races and wins clean.’


The Devon-born rider strenuously denies any wrong-doing, but Cyclo can’t help but think he may now regret his team profile page response to the question: ‘Childhood Hero?’ –  ‘I looked up to Lance Armstrong when I was a kid.’



Lance Armstrong Accuses Hein Verbruggen

lance_armstrongLance Armstrong has told the Daily Mail newspaper that former UCI (International Cycling Union) president Hein Verbruggen not only knew about his doping but helped to cover his tracks. The Texan – who was stripped of his numerous titles including seven Tour de France wins after finally confessing to a lifetime of cheating – told the newspaper’s Sportsmail section that Verbruggen aided him in avoiding a ban back in 1999 by agreeing to lay the blame for a positive test on a prescription for a steroid cream to treat saddle sores which was then backdated.


Armstrong’s latest salvo naturally contradicts Verbruggen’s version of events who continues to deny any wrongdoing – in a letter to the UCI earlier this month which marked the end of his tenure as ‘honorary president’ he wrote: ‘I have never acted inappropriately and my conscience is absolutely clean… With the benefit of hindsight, however, I admit that I could have done some things differently, but I do not accept that my integrity is in doubt.’


Armstrong, of course, is trying to fight his way out of a corner and clearly holds no elegance to the former heads of the sport’s governing body despite the prospect of being part of a ‘truth and reconciliation’ process initiated by incoming president Brian Cookson – cooperation holds the potential of his lifetime ban being reduced to as little as eight years. But speaking to Sportsmail he said emphatically, ‘I’m not going to lie to protect these guys. I hate them. They threw me under the bus. I’m done with them.’



Lance Armstrong wants to be ‘Honest’

Lance Armstrong Speaking to the BBC’s Tim Franks on World Service radio Lance Armstrong has said that he wishes to be ‘100% transparency and honesty’ in any future inquiry into cycling’s doping scandals. The expressed desire is likely to be music to the ears of new UCI president Brian Cookson who was elected largely on his platform for anti-doping reform and who is seeking to meet with the disgraced Texan who was stripped of his seven Tour de France wins after he finally confessed to chat show host Oprah Winfrey to years of cheating.


But Armstrong – who is facing financial ruin amidst a growing number of legal actions associated with his lies – also told Franks that there should be consistent treatment for those who flouted the rules. ‘If everyone gets the death penalty, then I’ll take the death penalty,’ he said during the 20-minute interview, adding, ‘If everyone gets a free pass, I’m happy to take a free pass. If everyone gets six months, then I’ll take my six months…’


Tim Franks’ interview with Lance Armstrong can be heard on the BBC World Service’s Newshour today (Monday, November 11) at 1.06pm and 2.06pm GMT and on catch-up services thereafter.



Chris Horner Misses Drugs Test

Chris Horner Misses Drugs TestChris Horner, who became the oldest Grand Tour race winner on Sunday with victory at the Vuelta a Espana has become embroiled in a row with anti-doping testers after apparently switching hotels to stay with his wife and missing a routine test.


In a strongly worded statement to the press Horner’s Team, RadioShack Leopard Trek, asked that: ‘the media to report correctly on this matter and will seek compensation for this matter with the responsible anti-doping agencies…’ RadioShack went as far as releasing an email from Horner to the officials, which, they say, substantiates his claims that he updated everyone on his whereabouts.


In their statement RadioShack said: ‘Chris Horner updated his whereabouts with USADA before the start of the final stage, giving the agency the name of his hotel for the night, phone number and room number for his one hour window between 6 and 7 AM. This is all according to the rules and Chris Horner received a confirmation email… The anti-doping inspectors from the Spanish Anti-doping Agency that were asked to do the test by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) showed up at the wrong hotel in Madrid, where the team was staying but Horner was obviously not to be found.’


They concluded their missive: ‘The team believes the communication between the Spanish Anti-doping Agency and the media is a violation of the privacy of Chris Horner, especially since it comes down to a clear mistake by the tester.’


Neither Horner nor the USADA (or their Spanish counterparts) have, so far, added any further comment or response.



Lance Armstrong Settles with Sunday Times

sunday_timesIt has been announced that Lance Armstrong, the seven-times-not-winner of the Tour de France, has agreed a financial settlement with the Sunday Times after the paper sued the disgraced Texan for £1m. The legal action came about after the Sunday Times were forced to pay Armstrong £300,000 to settle a libel case in 2004 when they accused him of cheating, something that even he now admits is entirely accurate. The paper’s chief sports writer, David Walsh, was one of the first journalists to (publically) raise the question of Armstrong’s credibly after his 1999 Tour de France win.


After Armstrong’s public – and highly staged-managed – confession on the Oprah Winfrey Show last year, the Sunday Times wrote to Armstrong’s lawyers, calling the original proceedings ‘baseless and fraudulent’ – The Sunday Times now say it has reached a ‘mutually acceptable final resolution’.


See the Cyclo feature Lance Armstrong: In Other Words here.