Tour de France

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Sven Sven's picture
Tour de France

Two questions:

1.  Will Lance Armstrong win his eighth Tour later this month (he's a mere 0.22 seconds behind the race leader after six (of 21) stages)?

2.  When will someone from France next win the country's premier sporting event (there is only one Frenchman in the top 50 racers: Jérôme Pineau, in 34th position)?

 

Sven Sven's picture

Well, with 19 of 21 stages complete, it looks like Armstrong is still in a battle for a podium place.  Contador, barring a freak accident, has the yellow jersey sewn up.  At 25 years old, Contador is likely going to win several more races in coming years.  At 37, Lance did extremely well...though he's definitely past his prime.

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Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

North Shore

I read, yesterday, that Armstrong is forming a new team for next year.  Depending upon how good his support is, I wonder if he might be up for the yellow next year?  There were a few times this year that, it seemed to me, he was holding back, and playing the team game...

Sven Sven's picture

North Shore wrote:

I read, yesterday, that Armstrong is forming a new team for next year.  Depending upon how good his support is, I wonder if he might be up for the yellow next year?  There were a few times this year that, it seemed to me, he was holding back, and playing the team game...

Yeah, I heard the announcement yesterday that his new team will be sponsored by Radio Shack.

As far as Lance holding back -- I just don't think that's in his character.  He wants to win.  I just don't think, at 37 years old, he can compete for the yellow jersey any more.  Frankly, it's amazing that he's even in the running for a podium spot.  When I heard that he was coming out of retirement to race again, I figured he'd be lucky to make to Top 50 in the Tour.  He's surprised me.

_______________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

North Shore

Umm, not sure about that age thing - if you look back, Joop Zoetemelk won in the early '80's when he was 39.  Admittedly, IIRC, some of his best competitors were injured that year...  Doesn't take much for someone to have a bad day in the mts, and the race for GC is all over..

North Shore

Umm, not sure about that age thing - if you look back, Joop Zoetemelk won in the early '80's when he was 39.  Admittedly, IIRC, some of his best competitors were injured that year...  Doesn't take much for someone to have a bad day in the mts, and the race for GC is all over..

Sven Sven's picture

Well, the "old fart" (as he called himself) has a podium position.  Unbelievable.  And Contador?  What a champion.

_______________________________________

Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!

North Shore

Indeed, and he'll be back and better next year, IMHO. I was wondering, idly, if he'd recruit Jens Voigt for his team next year?  I'm kinda pissed at Contador because of dropping Kloden the other day...

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, "Enough is enough." For me, that time is now. I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999. Over the past three years, I have been subjected to a two-year federal criminal investigation followed by Travis Tygart's unconstitutional witch hunt. The toll this has taken on my family, and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today – finished with this nonsense.

Caissa

I frankly don't care much on the issue. Anti-doping is the 21st c version of amateurism. I favour letting them use whatever performing enhancing substances they wish to use. Time to put WADA out of business and let Dick pound sand.

Unionist

Caissa wrote:

I favour letting them use whatever performing enhancing substances they wish to use.

Agreed. Or, in the alternative, ban the use of all substances which confer unfair individual advantage. Like money.

Unionist

[wasn't worth saying twice]

Sineed

If everybody in elite-level cycling was doping, then Lance is still the best athlete, whether he was doping or not. So he should keep his yellow jerseys.

Unionist

"Lance Armstrong" - even his name sounds performance-enhanced.

God, I wish I could care more about this issue. Can we move it to babble banter please?

 

Slumberjack

Down in Texas from where Armstrong hails, this has to be seen as yet another plot by socialists in the White House to disparage American heroism.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

What a surprise. Lance Armstrong cheated after all.

Actually, the bigger surprise is how long people thought he was the one true flame in cycling...turns out not only was he always a cheat, he was a bully and a spiteful, vengeful asshole.

Caissa

I have no objections to athletes using performing enhancing drugs.

Sven Sven's picture

Catchfire wrote:

...turns out not only was he always a cheat, he was a bully and a spiteful, vengeful asshole.

He is a monumental fraud.

Caissa

WADA is a monumental waste of time and money.

Sven Sven's picture

Caissa wrote:

I have no objections to athletes using performing enhancing drugs.

As a matter of principle, I don't care if performance-enhancing drugs are permitted or not. But I do care if I am lied to and, given the mountain of evidence against him, I think it's clear that Armstrong is a liar.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Yes, but there's also the fact that these drugs are harmful. We need only look at the basketful of twentysomethings who died of heart attacks in the 1990s to realize they're dangerous, and that those with the ability to properly inform consent are either a) without all the facts, or b) dishonest lying liars.

Sven Sven's picture

Catchfire wrote:
Yes, but there's also the fact that these drugs are harmful. We need only look at the basketful of twentysomethings who died of heart attacks in the 1990s to realize they're dangerous, and that those with the ability to properly inform consent are either a) without all the facts, or b) dishonest lying liars.

A lot of illegal drugs are dangerous...hell, alcohol and tobacco are dangerous and those can be used legally...but I'm still in favor of letting individuals make those decisions for themselves.

There are a lot of things that have risk in life...eating too much fat, downhill skiing, motorcycle riding, not exercising, riding a bicycyle without a helmet (even riding with a helmet has dangers), base-jumping, etc., not to mention a long list of Darwin Award "winners"...and I'm inclined to let individuals make those decision for themselves.

Sven Sven's picture

With the ICU's decision today regarding Lance Armstrong and his seven Tour de France "victories," his collapse is nearly complete.

Slumberjack

Well, he's made a lot of money over the years, probably invested enough of it to live a comfortable life.  Barring the additional publicity of criminal charges, he can opt to recede into obscurity if his narcissism will allow it.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

The Tour de France is still deciding whether they are going to force him to return the prize money he won.  His team won in the neighbourhood of $4,000,000.  Something like that might just wipe out his pension fund.

Bacchus

As well as possible lawsuits by sponsors and the government. He could lose everything, hopefully.

 

Down to the last testicle

Unionist

What about his fundraising efforts? Anyone check to see whether that's a scam too?

Are [url=http://www.livestrong.org/Who-We-Are/Our-Strength/Our-Donors/Named-Endow... endowment funds[/url] legit?

What about this:

Quote:
LIVESTRONG utilizes a sound investment strategy to manage its endowment which is overseen by a seasoned corps of leading investment professionals. This strategy has both optimized the growth of the endowment while also providing a stable source of income to support current operations. In order to meet today's needs while protecting tomorrow's resources, the LIVESTRONG Revenue Development Committee maintains an investment policy using the "prudent person" standard to make both investment and spending decisions.

Just wondering.

 

Caissa

Strripping winners of their titles does not change the fact that they won.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I presume that was the reasoning behind not awarding the first place title to the second place rider but instead just saying he cheated and thus his win is irrelevant.  If I caught someone sneaking an ace out of their sleeve while playing poker I would not think of them as the best poker player only a cheat who got caught. There might even be a better cheater at the table I didn't catch but that doesn't change the fact that the person would be returning all the night's winnings not just the one hand. The part I find ironic is who knows how many of the other riders in that race were doing the same thing as the UPS team but didn't get caught.  Maybe they should just asterisk the whole era.

Michelle

I agree with Sineed.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

The big thing in his statement is if everyone was cheating.  I have no trouble believing that many if not most were cheating but I have a hard time with the concept that every single athlete from every single country was cheating.  I think it just gives guys like him a free pass.  Your a Mom so tell me do you accept that excuse from kids as well.  "But Mom everyone is doing it."  I know I didn't have much time for that excuse with my kids and I still don't buy it from my Grandchildren.

Doping is a serious health concern for young athletes and they need to know that if you get caught you lose not its okay because everyone else is doing it. I know with my son who played sports I would not have had a talk about things like steroids that went; "go ahead take those drugs I don't want Grandchildren anyways so don't worry about sterility or any of the other potential side effect just go out and win."

Michelle

Well, that's true too, kropotkin, and I was thinking that right after I posted it.  Maybe all the front-runners were cheating, but that doesn't mean everyone, especially the people who placed way far back in the race, were.

Catchfire, you posted a Guardian article where they talked about how Armstrong was "a bully".  Their anecdote to illustrate this was something I didn't understand in the least.  Can you explain to me what this means in ordinary-people-speak?

Quote:

It was on the road to Lons-le-Saunier in central France on Friday 23 July 2004 that Lance Armstrong's darker side was put on full public view early on the antepenultimate stage of the Tour de France. The Italian Filippo Simeoni, a good rider who was a key witness in the trial against Armstrong's trainer, Michele Ferrari, went on the attack and forced a place in what was set to be the day's winning escape. Out of the peloton came Armstrong, bridging the gap to the group alone.

For a maillot jaune to do such a thing was unprecedented, to do so a couple of days before sealing victory was bizarre, but so was what followed: the sight of Armstrong publicly telling Simeoni that he had no option but to slip out of the escape and back to the bunch. If he didn't, Armstrong told him he would remain with the lead group, forcing the peloton to chase and wrecking its chances. Simeoni was given two options: capitulate or betray his fellows. Bitterly unhappy, he capitulated.

I don't understand what happened there.

Sineed

I tried researching that, and it was taking too much time, but anyway, a peloton is a group of cyclists that ride together, achieving aerodynamic advantages as a group.

There's a publication called, "Cycling News" that describes it a bit differently, though no less cryptic:

Quote:
Earlier in the day, a strange incident that will certainly go down in the annals of Tour de France history enlivened Stage 18, when Domina Vacanze rider Filippo Simeoni bridged across to the day's winning break on the first climb of the day after 32km. Suddenly, surprisingly, maillot jaune Lance Armstrong went in pursuit of Simeoni and soon both riders had bridged across to the break together. The other riders in the break were dumbfounded to see the maillot jaune there among them, taking his pulls and participating in the escape. But they soon realized that if Armstrong remained up front, their breakaway was doomed. Cente Garcia asked Armstrong to drop back after the gap reached 2'00 on the chasing peloton, led by a heaving mass of magenta T-Mobile jerseys. Armstrong told Garcia Acosta that he would drop off, but only if Simeoni would do so as well. Reluctantly the Italian agreed to do so and both he and Armstrong spoke after the stage today.

Sineed

dp

onlinediscountanvils

As I understand it, a small lead group broke away from the main pack in an attempt to win that day's stage. No one in the breakaway group was in serious contention to win the overall Tour, but winning a stage would have been a nice achievement for one of those riders. Armstrong didn't need to win that day's stage. But once he caught the breakaway, it all but guaranteed that his main competitors, the T-Mobile team, would also catch up, lessening the chances of anyone involved in the original breakaway.

USADA wrote:
On July 23 in the 18th Stage at the 2004 Tour de France, Simeoni joined a breakaway. However, Armstrong rode him down and threatened if Simeoni did not return to the peloton Lance Armstrong would stay with the break and doom it to failure. As a consequence, Simeoni retreated to the peloton. There was no potential sport or cycling advantage for Armstrong's maneuver. In fact, it was dangerous and impetuous, as Armstrong rode away from his supporting teammates to catch Simeoni, wasting valuable energy and unnecessarily incurring greater risk of a mishap while riding without assistance.

As Simeoni and Armstrong fell back to the peloton, Armstrong verbally berated Simeoni for testifying in the Ferrari case, saying, 'You made a mistake when you testified against Ferrari and you made a mistake when you sued me. I have a lot of time and money and I can destroy you.' Armstrong was captured on video making a 'zip the lips' gesture which underscored what Armstrong had just said to Simeoni about how Simeoni should not have testified against Dr. Ferrari. A copy of a video of this sad moment in the history of cycling is provided as part of Appendix B. Thus, Filippo Simeoni has provided to USADA corroborated testimony of an act of attempted witness intimidation by Armstrong, which is in and of itself an anti-doping rule violation pursuant to Article 2.8 of the Code and is also potentially relevant both to impeach Armstrong's claim not to have participated in doping with Dr. Ferrari and in consideration of whether Armstrong should not be deprived of reliance upon the statute of limitations due to wrongful and egregious acts in which he engaged to attempt to suppress the truth about his doping and that of others associated with his team.

http://d3epuodzu3wuis.cloudfront.net/ReasonedDecision.pdf

 

Around 0:16 you can see Armstrong making a 'zip the lips' gesture, apparently directed at Simeoni.  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taWGQNKUgQQ

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

oda has it right. Lance basically made Simeoni drop back or else be responsible for eliminating the chance of the other racers in the original peloton to win the stage (which is prestigious, naturally).

Sineed wrote:
If everybody in elite-level cycling was doping, then Lance is still the best athlete, whether he was doping or not. So he should keep his yellow jerseys.

This isn't an accurate representation of events. After the Festina Doping Scandal in 1998, many riders competed in 1999 believing that the drug culture had been blown wide open and that the doping holiday was over. Guess who won his first tour in 1999? Basically, Armstrong used another drug crisis to get way out in front of the doping curve, which he subsequently used to solidify his grip (with the help of very smart doctors).

The guy is a crook and he deserves no credit, ever, for his stolen jerseys.

Sineed

I'm modifying my opinion. As more information comes forth, we are becoming increasingly aware that Lance was not just another doper, but a ringleader whose arrogance and determination to be first at all costs ultimately destroyed him. And given his drive and obvious talent, he could have been a brilliant clean cyclist. 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I didn't mean to target you in particular, Sineed. It was an older post, after all. I just quoted it because a few more babblers were either referencing it or agreeing with the principle.

Sineed

Nah, it's all good. I really am modifying my opinion, because my original comment was made before all the information we now know came forth. I thought he was just one doper amongst many, not king of the dopers.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

But, at this point, I snapped, rose from my barstool, and began to screech. “Everyone may lie,” I said. “But here is what everyone doesn’t do.”

Everyone doesn’t earn thirty million dollars a year, nearly all of it from endorsements based not just on athletic prowess but on the golden aura of a man so pure, so dedicated, that he would bear any burden and endure any pain to win the world’s most gruelling athletic contest again and again and again.

Everyone doesn’t react repeatedly with outrage and vitriol when accused of violating the rules even though he knows he’s guilty, and then denounce and sue journalists who imply that he might have applied makeup to conceal needle marks on his arm. (Everyone doesn’t accept settlements from such publications, either.)

Everyone doesn’t make a commercial for Nike in which he ridicules any suggestion that he was ever “on” anything other than his bicycle, “busting my ass six hours a day.”

Everyone doesn’t raise hundreds of millions of dollars for their vanity cancer foundation, a foundation that—no matter how much good it has done, though there is some debate about that—was created and sustained by the image of a survivor who defeated his nearly fatal disease with a grace and dignity that he would never relinquish.

Everyone doesn’t get paid tens of millions of dollars by the United States government while representing that government (and its people) by leading a cycling team that was sponsored in large part by (and named for) the United States Postal Service.

Lance Armstrong was not a man, he was an idea; an American myth like Honest Abe and Johnny Appleseed. He was the little engine, brutalized by illness and then savaged by opponents, who could anyway, somebody who shrugged off hate and always took the high road.

Oh Lance, you card!

Sven Sven's picture

Lance is merely a "myth like Honest Abe"? To put those two individuals in the same sentence as being equivalent is to display gross ignorance of Lincoln's character.

Lance's essential sin is that he lied...endlessly for years. It's hard to find a character of equivalent depravity in recent times, although he was certainly eclipsed by Madoff.

Sven Sven's picture

I watched his interview and I can confidently opine that he is sincerely sorry...that he got caught. His contrition for the harm he caused to others isn't nearly as believable. His motives for doing the interview? It's hard to say. But to do it to compete in nickel-dime triathlons?

voice of the damned

Sven wrote:
Lance is merely a "myth like Honest Abe"? To put those two individuals in the same sentence as being equivalent is to display gross ignorance of Lincoln's character. Lance's essential sin is that he lied...endlessly for years. It's hard to find a character of equivalent depravity in recent times, although he was certainly eclipsed by Madoff.

Well, "Honest Abe" represents Lincoln's idealized persona, as opposed to the likely more realistic idea that he was in many ways just another politician, given to the same compromises and back-room dealings as the rest of them.

But yeah. For the writer's purposes, "George Washington's cherry tree" would have worked better, that being an actual myth in the sense of something that didn't happen.

As for Johnny Appleseed, he was a real guy, though more of a businessman than the popular image of a dude wandering aimlessly about tossing apple seeds everywhere. According to an ESL lesson I taught last year, most of his apples were used for the production of alcohol.

 

Slumberjack

Armstrong is being demonized, not unfairly, for exhibiting many of the same characterisitics as the country he represents.  It's like, 'ok everybody, two minutes of rage against lying, cheating and bullying,' as a new distraction from far worse examples in everyday life, starting with the political and economic system.

Serviam6

Sven wrote:
I watched his interview and I can confidently opine that he is sincerely sorry...that he got caught. His contrition for the harm he caused to others isn't nearly as believable. His motives for doing the interview? It's hard to say. But to do it to compete in nickel-dime triathlons?

 

I really like Lance Armstrong.  I believed in him as an honest athlete and I didn't believe the accusations that he was doping. I see it as a classic example of someone getting caught up lying and instead of coming clean from the onset, live the lie. I can't imagine having to live a lie for that long.

What really got me was when he said his children were defending him. And the sick children and parents of children with cancer who believed in him and drew strength from him. I had tears in my eyes at that part of the interview with oprah.

I want to believe the message of hope he started will continue to shine. He still beat cancer and went on to live a healthy active lifestyle and that in itself is something important for children with cancer.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Lance is the epitome of a US hero.  On the international stage he lied about cheating while being the biggest cheat.  He then viciously attacked anyone who disagreed with his propaganda and worked to ruin their careers in either the sport or in journalism.  He was an unrepentant self righteous bully.  Truly an American hero.

Serviam6

He was/is also a hero to a lot of children (and adults) with cancer.

6079_Smith_W

Serviam6 wrote:

He was/is also a hero to a lot of children (and adults) with cancer.

Sure, but I don't think the truth should be held hostage, and I don't think breaking little kids' hearts is really on the table here. And what is that based on? What makes him any more of an idol than anyone else who has faced down that disease? Seems to me it was all manufactured with him and an lie at the centre of it.

Wait 10 years, and let's see how much of an idol he still is.

 

Serviam6

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Serviam6 wrote:

He was/is also a hero to a lot of children (and adults) with cancer.

Sure, but I don't think the truth should be held hostage, and I don't think breaking little kids' hearts is really on the table here. And what is that based on? What makes him any more of an idol than anyone else who has faced down that disease? Seems to me it was all manufactured with him and an lie at the centre of it.

Wait 10 years, and let's see how much of an idol he still is.

 

 

You're right I guess I just feel horrible for all the kids who looked up to him.

What makes him an idol more than anyone else? I'm not sure. What makes Britany Spears an idol?  I'm guessing it's exposure and a certain persona being built up about someone? Why is Chief Spence an idol anymore than a struggling family from Attawapiskat? I can't answer that for certain but i think exposure and media play a part in it.

The horrible part of armstrong IS that you're right again it's all built around a lie.  I try my best not to be judgemental or critical of others but listening to his interview it was hard not to pick out spots where it sounded like he was trying to be a victim or set himself up for an i fucked up but learned my lesson come back.

I can't imagine the kind of bullshit, bullying and trash talk that his children will grow up with now.

6079_Smith_W

@ Serviam6

I hear you. And as I said, I don't think it is necessary, or even a good thing to break kids' hearts over this. But by the same token, I don't want him hiding behind that prospect.

The cat's out of the bag, and hopefully he won't be playing this game any longer; let's just let time take it's course.

I didn't listen to the interview, nor am I that interested. I'm basing my position on the simple fact that he has confessed to this, and that there is a record of him bullying others over it.

NorthReport

We enabled Lance

His success fit a pernicious cancer narrative: that he "beat" it as if it were a test of character, not a disease

I was fortunate enough to have a very successful outcome, but I have no illusions about the effect of “character” on it. My result had a lot more to do with the my primary care physician flagging my rising PSA score very early on; with having expansive medical-insurance coverage paid in large part by my employer; with having the skein of personal connections that got me into a leading prostate surgeon. Since my diagnosis six years ago, I have come to know plenty of other prostate-cancer patients, some of whom who ended up wholly or largely impotent or caught by a recurrence of the disease. Whatever separated my experience from theirs, I am quite sure it was not character.

Lance Armstrong survived

 

 

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