I didn’t think I would ever write a blog with this title, but here we go:
Newspaper De Telegraaf printed these statements it said it received from Verbruggen:
“Armstrong has never tested positive, there is no trace of evidence.”
“There are many, many stories and insinuations, but anyone who knows the control knows that there is nothing to regulate.”
“Mrs. LeMond’s story is so absurd that it is not worth an official statement.”
In the article, these statements were presented as addressing the question of whether or not the USADA report was damning to Lance. And so the whole twittersphere (including myself) was in an uproar, and even more so when Verbruggen protested against the article.
It seemed this was now a simple matter; does the newspaper have proof of those statements having been made. It did, in the form of SMS messages, and it published them. Easy work, case closed.
But not so fast, while there is little doubt the statements were made, it is not entirely clear what question was asked and that matters. De Telegraaf has now removed the SMS messages from its site.
If, as Verbruggen claims, the question asked was not “Is Lance guilty” but instead “Is Mrs. LeMond’s story true that a positive test was covered up by paying you 500,000 dollars”, then the answers make more sense. I’m not saying they are true, far from it, but in the context of that question, there are at this point many stories but hard evidence is still scarce.
It would be good for De Telegraaf to publish the entire SMS stream, including all questions and answers. That’s fair for themselves and for Mr. Verbruggen, and no matter what we may think of him, he deserves that.
Of course, I’m sure that a “story” by Mrs. Lemond isn’t just a “story”, I have no reason to believe she’s ever lied about anything. The same cannot be said for some other people.
But that’s something for another blog (to make sure you don’t miss it, you can subscribe here).