Much has been said already about the latest action against Lance Armstrong, this time by USADA. My 10 thoughts are split in two parts, the second part follows Monday:
- USADA is aiming very high with statements about data “fully consistent with EPO and/or blood doping”. I think data is rarely that clear-cut.
- Lance’s people are aiming quite high too, going for the “same liars telling the same lies” defense when it is clear there must be new people and new stories to the USADA approach – assuming there are indeed ten witness statements.
- I would think any case against Lance will be difficult. Having ten witness statements of the type that “Lance told me …” or “I saw Lance and doctor X do …” isn’t really that strong, without corroborating evidence.
- On top of that, Lance could bankrupt any agency that takes him on. That’s the irony of modern pro sports, the top athletes are a lot wealthier than the organizations policing them. Think about it, WADA’s excess of income over expenses, cummulative, is about 22M USD. Some athletes make that in a year.
- On the other side, any statements by the anti-doping laboratory that they were pressured to suppress a positive test by Lance in the Tour de Suisse would potentially be a lot more damaging – this person would have been directly involved in the exchanges. But of course right now it’s only hearsay that such statements even exist.