Guess What? Lance Armstrong is Still a Sociopath

I was all set to post a tiny link to a recent interview on pezcyclingnews with former US pro, Mike McCarthy. McCarthy was an interesting track-to-road “cross-over” (a designation he rightly rejects in the interview, by the way) in the mid-80s to early-90s, often gracing the pages of Winning magazine. And, the track-to-road path is going to be discussed quite a bit this next month, with Brad Wiggins now a bona fide Tour threat. My little tidbit of note was that, like a number of former American pros and cycling big-wigs from that era and just beyond (e.g. Jim Ochowicz, Darren Baker, ??), McCarthy apparently ended up with a job in finance through, you guessed it, Thom Weisel. I know the whole omerta/mob thing with cycling, doping and US Cycling gets tiring…but, shit, if it isn’t true that Weisel’s money and power weren’t/aren’t the tentacles running through the sport for the last 25-30 years!

However, what comes along but the US Anti-Doping Agency’s much anticipated case against Armstrong and, as it turns out, Bruyneel, Ferrari and a number of other doctors and trainers (first came out in Washington Post, so here’s the original).

The usual “let it alone/it serves no purpose/why just Lance?” talk is of course bubbling up (articulated, for instance, and in typically overblown and just-a-little-too-wordy fashion, at Red Kite Prayer). But, I’m having none of it. Sure it drags on; that’s Armstrong’s fault, largely. Everyone else confessed and ate their big bowl of shit, it’s Armstrong who keeps pushing it back away from his place setting.

The thing I get most irritated by – and this brings us back my whole “Armstrong is a sociopath” meme (ok, it was like two blog posts) – is the endless sanctimonious duplicity from him. It was only a month or two ago that we got (in the aftermath of the federal inquiry being mysteriously dropped) the “I’m not fighting it any more” line – classic “I’m bigger than this and walking away” talk from Armstrong. But, of course, Armstrong had an immediate and aggressive response to yesterday’s announcement. We will see, though, if this is actually followed up with any true resistance to the USADA proceedings and hearings.

The most interesting bit from the USADA material is that they directly allege blood manipulation from his comeback period as well. You know, the comeback that was intended to “prove to his children” (a rough quote, but that was basically what he said) that he was a clean winner, dispel all the doubts, etc., etc. The irony – and the indicator for a sociopathic disregard for risk and the reality of how others might actually perceive you – is that the comeback was what actually set the Landis confession in motion and kept the inquiry relevant and alive. On top of that, and despite the massive attention devoted to the comeback, Armstrong still had the confidence to think he could play the “preparation” game and it would never get out. With everyone else having confessed, and now Bruyneel pulled in on this inquiry (and the speculation about him stepping out of Radio Shack/Trek/Whatever It’s Called already beginning), I’m not sure what options Armstrong has left. I figured that last interview, with the “no more fighting” talk, indicated a strategic non-resistance strategy, leaving Armstrong open to the option of saying “I’ve got this black mark from USADA…but I didn’t even contest that, so it’s a technical rather than substantive smudge on the record”. So, we’ll see what the real strategy is, rather than just the rhetoric, as the process drags on.

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Armstrong Inquiry: Ferrari’s Shadow World

Been a while since any of the global inquiry into the Armstrong/USPS/Doping stuff has bubbled up. But now, we see that Italian newspaper reports Armstrong linked to Ferrari through cash payments. Nothing too crazy there, just your run-of-the-mill offshore shadow corporation designed to keep clients at a safe arms-length from the biz. And, while they are at it, shelter income and transactions from taxes and government oversight.

Compare this to the shoddy idiocy of the Operation Puerto run by Dr. Fuentes in Spain and the difference is stunning. Fuentes was faxing full (albeit slightly disguised with a cereal-box code level of secrecy) drug and training regimens directly to riders like Hamilton (using his wife’s full, but maiden, name as the recipient), at their own apartment buildings and homes! At least Ferrari had/has the sense (safe to assume he is probably still doing this shit, given Armstrong was still consulting with him in 2010) to build in a few rings of security between “No. 1” and the clients.

Gotta wonder how long it is until these indictments from the federal inquiry finally drop – I would assume we are in the range of just a few months at this point.

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Sociopaths We Have Known: Armstrong, Part Deux

OK, this Landis interview with Kimmage is fantastic – the most useful and important thing on pro cycling to have come out since, well…probably Kimmage’s “Rough Ride” book.

Here he is being questioned about his story of arriving in Austin for USPS bonding/training camp, piling into Armstrong’s SUV and watching as Armstrong speeds through town, running red lights, to get to a strip club. His earlier comments on this had been that he could see the discrepancy between Armstrong’s public persona and private personality, but that this wasn’t inherently problematic for him. This is what he refers to in the first few lines below. However, what is so interesting (to me) is that Landis is pretty much arguing exactly what I said a while back as evidence for Armstrong being a kind of sociopath: the brazen disregard for what regular people would consider to be completely reckless behavior, particularly for those trying to get away with things that are socially unacceptable. As Landis points out, here is a guy (Armstrong) with so much to lose, who doesn’t know Landis from a guy on the street, and he immediately brings him into the fold.

You were seeing it first hand?

Yeah, there was more to it than there appears to be and that’s fine, if that’s the way it has to be. I never had any experience with the press at all, so I didn’t know how hard it is to actually do what he was doing; to live one thing and manipulate it into another; to maintain a story like that, that was nearly 100% fabricated; to live such an obnoxious life and not even try to hide it. I mean, I’m a guy that he has never really even met; he didn’t give me any sort of period to prove that I was trustworthy; he just threw me in the car and went to the strip club. So this was a guy that wasn’t even trying to hide it and yet somehow the story stayed the same; this guy is going around acting like an asshole and we got another story over here and it’s a good story – he’s motivating people and giving them hope. I live my life the way I want to and I’m not going to judge him for what he wants to do but I know one thing – these stories don’t add up.

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via NY Velocity.

**Update: as noted in the comments below, I had previously posted on Armstrong as sociopath a while back here on BliggityBlog**

Michael Creed: Why I Never Doped

Of course there was temptation and huge temptation. I had a lot personally because I don’t see doping as a moral thing. I don’t see taking drugs as a moral flaw.“That sounds weird but I’ve seen guys who have really good morals do some bad stuff in cycling. And guys that don’t dope do some really bad things in life. So for me it wasn’t a moral thing. If I did it I wasn’t going to be a bad person.

Interesting interview with Creed over on CN. Only wish it were longer! This is pretty much my stance, and, I believe, the only way out of the “moral” morass of doping in cycling.

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via Cyclingnews.com.

Doping: Vaughters and Garmin Edition

We cannot change what happened in the past. But we believe it is time for transparency.
We expect anyone in our organization who is contacted by any cycling, anti-doping, or government authority will be open and honest with that authority. In that context, we expect nothing short of 100% truthfulness – whatever that truth is – to the questions they are asked. As long as they express the truth about the past to the appropriate parties, they will continue to have a place in our organization and we will support them for living up to the promise we gave the world when we founded Slipstream Sports.

It’s been pretty cycling/doping/Landis/Armstrong-heavy here on BB, but I really do believe this is a pivotal, potentially watershed, moment for pro cycling.

I feel bad for Vaughters and Garmin/Slipstream in this case. Vaughters has not tried to really hide his own doping during one part of his career, but now he has to walk this fine line between taking a hard line against doping now and not sounding like a liar/hypocrite. Yet, the only way he, thus far, could hope to keep Garmin doing is by not directly addressing his own guilt with respect to doping.

I would hope that the Landis Affair might open up the space needed for guys like Vaughters to come clean but in a serious, non-moralistic or non-absolutist way. Of course a bunch of American douchebag fans will still yell that anyone who ever doped should never be let back in….but what do these morons expect? It is only those who have actually confronted the reality of pro cycling and ALL of its cultural practices who can be expected to come up with realistic solutions to the sport’s problems (if we think of doping as a “problem” – and I’m not necessarily convinced we need to do that).

VeloNews.com

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D-Bags We Know: McQuaid & UCI Edition

These guys coming out now with things like this from the past is only damaging the sport,” [UCI Head, Pat] McQuaid told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Thursday. “If they’ve any love for the sport they wouldn’t do it.

This is the kind of shit that makes me apoplectic about the state of pro cycling. I’m with Adam Meyerson on this one, let the whole fucking establishment burn to the ground if this is the attitude. Who has more “love for the sport” – a guy willing to risk his life racing and doping or some cunt at UCI headquarters hoping to squeeze another few years out of the Armstrong effect?!

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Floyd Landis admits to using PEDs most of his career – ESPN