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    The Lance of Truth

    Lance Armstrong has decided against subjecting himself to an independent drug-testing programme because of cost and logistical problems.

    The Texan, 37, competed for the first time in more than three years at last month's Tour Down Under, the first step in a comeback to raise awareness and funding for his global cancer foundation.

    He had initially planned to hire anti-doping expert Don Catlin to supervise a transparent biological monitoring, over and above cycling's usual testing regime, as part of his return to the saddle.

    However, Armstrong said on Wednesday through his lawyer he would instead use Ramsus Damsgaard, who runs his Astana team's internal testing programme.

    "After a thorough review . . . the decision has been made to transfer the comprehensive programme we had planned to do with Don Catlin to Ramsus Damsgaard," Bill Stapleton, Armstrong's long-time agent and lawyer, said in a statement.

    #2
    The Lance of Truth

    Hmmmmm...

    Are Astana (still) going to be in this year's Tour de France?

    (Btw - is this year's Tour also going to be a 'rogue' event, the same as last?)

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      #3
      The Lance of Truth

      That's a poorly reported story - he,s not not doing the tests, he's doing them with someone else. Ramsus Damsgaard is very well, er, regaarded in the field.

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        #4
        The Lance of Truth

        The story said Armstrong had decided not to do an independent programme, and was instead doing them with some guy from his own team, which does not qualify as "independent".

        Surely we can all agree that Astana's reputation when it comes to drugs is pretty bad.

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          #5
          The Lance of Truth

          Yep, which is why they engaged the services of independent contractor Damsgaard, who does this for a few teams, at least a year before they rehired Armstrong.

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            #6
            The Lance of Truth

            Erm, if this guy is now on Astana's payroll, then he's not independent any more.

            I don't know why Armstrong is even bothering, most sane people know by this stage that he's bent.

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              #7
              The Lance of Truth

              By the same token, if Armstrong was paying someone then he wouldn't be independent anymore.

              What would constitute an "independent" programme? Someone doing it for charity?

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                #8
                The Lance of Truth

                Apologies if this has popped up anywhere else but Armstrong v Kimmage.

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                  #9
                  The Lance of Truth

                  Wow, that's a great clip. Any idea what Kimmage was saying at the end there?

                  That does seem like a spectacularly crass and tasteless thing for him to have written, it must be said.

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                    #10
                    The Lance of Truth

                    I thought that clip had the best sound quality of all those available on youtube and actually had Kimmage in shot. He is saying he too has lost people to cancer and has fought to expose doping all his life only to see the problem "dissapear" when Armstrong returns.

                    The original article/comment from Kimmage (I can't find out what context it originally appeared in and it would be good to know) is below;

                    "My reaction...the enthusiasm that I had built up about the sport in the last couple of years has been all but completely wiped out in the last couple of hours.

                    Letís turn the clock back to Armstrongís last apparition in the sport. The Tour de France 2005. Heís standing on the podium. And he makes this big impassioned speech. Which is basically saying ĎThe last thing Iíll say to the people who donít believe in cycling, the cynics, the skeptics: Iím sorry for you. Iím sorry you canít dream big. Iím sorry you donít believe in miracles.í That was 2005, his last ride in the the Tour de France. And the people flanking him on that podium were Ivan Basso and Jan Ullrich. And a month after that race ended the French newspaper LíEquipe reported that in his first winning Tour de France, in 1999, Armstrong had tested positive for EPO. Six separate samples taken during that race revealed positive tests for EPO.

                    This return, he wants us to believe that itís all about saving the world from cancer. Thatís complete bullshit. Itís about revenge Itís about ego. Itís about Lance Armstrong. I think heís trying to rewrite his exit from the sport. Heís sat back and heís watched the last two years and he cannot stand the idea that there are clean cyclists now that will overtake his legacy and buy (I presume this should be "bury") the memory of all the crap that he put the sport through.

                    When I heard it being mooted first that he was coming back, I thought well thatís fine, because the first thing ASO are going to say is Ďsorry Lance, weíve seen your results from the 1999 tests , youíre not coming back.í I expected a similar statement from Pat McQuaid. Whatís happened instead is that Christian Prudhomme has said Ďyes, you can come back, no problem.í And Pat McQiad has said ĎI really admire this man, heís a tremendous ambassador for cycling.í What weíre getting here is the corporate dollars and the money thatís going to accompany this guy back into the game. The money thatís going to bring for Nike, one of the big sponsors of the Tour. And for the UCI, who have been experiencing some serious problems in the last couple of years.

                    Much as you want to say the sport has changed, as quickly as they can change their own opinions Ė McQuaid, who says one thing in private and quite the opposite in public, and Prudhomme Ė if they can change so quickly then Iím sorry, itís really very, very difficult to have any optimism with regard to Armstrong and the way the sport was moving forward. For me, if he comes back next year, the sport takes two steps back.

                    I spent the whole Tour this year with Slipstream, the Garmin team. That wasnít by accident. I chose that team deliberately, because of what they were saying about the sport and the message they were putting out. But also the fact that so many of that team had raced with Armstrong during his best years and knew exactly what he got up to. And the stuff that I learnt on that Tour about him and what he was really like was absolutely shocking, really shocking.

                    Whatís going to happen now is he comes back and everybodyís going to wave their hands in the air and give him a big clap. And all the guys who really know what heís about are going to feel so utterly and totally depressed. And Iím talking about Jonathan Vuaghthers, who raced with Armstrong that first winning Tour and who doped. And if you look at that Tour, Armstrongís first win, there were seven Americans on that team. Frankie Andreu has said he used EPO. Tyler Hamilton has been done for [blood doping]. George Hincapie was exposed as a doper by Emma OíReilly, the team soigneur. Christian Vand Velde and Jonathan Vaughters Ö both are members of Slipstream and would promote the notion that this was not a clean team by any means. When you look at that and what Armstrongís done and how heís seemingly got away with it, it just makes his come back very hard to stomach.

                    Astanaís the absolute perfect team for him. Heíd be renewing his old acquaintance with Bruyneel, who wanted to hire Basso last year. Will he be renewing his old acquaintance with Ferrari, the famous doctor? Will Bruyneel be taking pictures of the questioning journalists and pinning them on the side of his bus?

                    When Armstrong talks about transparency, this is the greatest laugh. When he talks about embracing this new transparency Ö Iím really looking forward to that. Iím really looking forward to my first interview request with him and seeing how that comes back. Because that would really make it interesting.

                    This guy, any other way but his bullying and intimidation wrapped up in this great cloak, the great cancer martyr Ö this is what he hides behind all the time. The great man who conquered cancer. Well he is the cancer in this sport. And for two years this sport has been in remission. And now the cancerís back."

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                      #11
                      The Lance of Truth

                      What a fuckwad Armstrong is. And Kimmage can be a little preening and sanctimonious, but he's usually absolutely spot on.

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                        #12
                        The Lance of Truth

                        Kimmage is supposed to be a bit odd. A few of my mates have had dealings with him in the past.

                        He's well within his rights to use the cancer thing though. A vast part of the reason why Armstrong is so wealthy is because of his cancer-survivor heroism schtick, this image he has of the guy who cheated death and then suddenly began beating the shit out of every other cyclist in the world. It's arguably the prime reason why he sold all those books and why Nike gave him such a huge deal.

                        So if, as now seems increasingly certain, Armstrong got to the top and amassed all that money by breaking the law, then Kimmage has every right to throw the cancer thing back in his face.

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                          #13
                          The Lance of Truth

                          I'm intruiged as to where Kimmage's piece comes from though. It reads like a blog or an impassioned post to a message board as opposed to a piece of trad journalism.

                          The cancer metaphor is valid but seems designed to deliberately wind up Armstrong and demonstrate his hatred of him/what he stands for. I'd also imagine that Kimmage would realise using it plays exactly in to Armstrong's hands, giving the rider a perfect excuse to ignore the interview requests and his supporters a smokescreen to cloud the real issues.

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                            #14
                            The Lance of Truth

                            I think it was something he said in a radio interview somewhere. The informal phrasing and syntax of what I take to be the transcript above would support that, as would the impolitic aspects you point out regarding the cancer metaphor.

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                              #15
                              The Lance of Truth

                              This is possibly of limited relevance and you've all probably seen it anyway, but...

                              Greg Lemond confronts Armstrong & Catlin over their methods.

                              And here's a video of it. (Bad sound quality - you'll need to turn it right up.)

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                                #16
                                The Lance of Truth

                                In not-unrelated news, Stefan Schumacher has got a two year ban. The cunt.

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                                  #17
                                  The Lance of Truth

                                  The Armstrong/Kimmage confrontation happened before the Tour of California, which Armstrong is currently in 4th in. Astana is the top team (Leipheimer is in 1st). The guy I always root for, David Zabriskie, is in 3rd.

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                                    #18
                                    The Lance of Truth

                                    kimmage was speaking in an interview with the radio show i work on, i remember it was the day of the montenegro-ireland match.

                                    we talked to him again during the week - here's the piece for those who are interested - it includes a scene-setting bit at the start incorporating some of the original kimmage tirade and the press conference confrontation.

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                                      #19
                                      The Lance of Truth

                                      Kimmage has certainly softened on his stance with regards to Millar. A couple of years ago when asked if Millar should be given a second chance he said the immortal words, "...he does in his bollocks." Now he's hanging out with slipstreaam and seems to have been won over by the contrite Millar.
                                      I like Kimmage, despite the undoubted preening. He is fearless and although I'm not sure I'd like him much as a bloke his polemical outbursts are great to read and listen to.
                                      As alluded to earlier cycling is going to welcome LA back because he's big box office and people are afraid of him. LA is smart and he has a lot of money and a lot of fans, which makes the likes of Walsh, Kimmage, LeMond and Simoni all the greater. One day I hope they'll bring him down, but I can't see how.

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                                        #20
                                        The Lance of Truth

                                        Garcia,

                                        Thanks for the background and copy of the radio piece, it's excellent.

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                                          #21
                                          The Lance of Truth

                                          I just get fed up of the whole reporting of world cycling being shaped around what Lance did today/yesterday. It's even true of Cycling Weekly's news pages.

                                          the last couple of Tours were genuinely exciting without him, and it's depressing to think the English-speaking cycling media will just orientate all their stuff around him again this year.

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                                            #22
                                            The Lance of Truth

                                            What should be exciting about this tour is the very real possibility of Lance being beaten.
                                            It would be crushing if he wins. If Contador works for LA that would be a sickener. It's quite likely to happen. It would show AC to be another lickspittle in the mould of Basso, and we'd be stuck with him for another decade.

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                                              #23
                                              The Lance of Truth

                                              Felicity, I guess so wrote:
                                              I just get fed up of the whole reporting of world cycling being shaped around what Lance did today/yesterday. It's even true of Cycling Weekly's news pages.

                                              the last couple of Tours were genuinely exciting without him, and it's depressing to think the English-speaking cycling media will just orientate all their stuff around him again this year.
                                              I agree, but I'd hope the English-speaking media, or at least the British media, would have enough to chew over what with Cavendish's genuine green jersey challenge as well as Wiggins' attempt to win time trial stages as well as Froome, Thomas and Cummings with Barloworld

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                                                #24
                                                The Lance of Truth

                                                Oh and can I also add to Harri's thanks Garcia - top stuff

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                                                  #25
                                                  The Lance of Truth

                                                  Yeah I have to say that Kimmage link is great. Cheers Garcia.
                                                  The thing is, regardless of how well Cavendish is doing, even if he was to win every stage, LA and doping is always going to trump everything else. Personally I love it. Yes, it's wrecking the credibility of cycling, but it's also fascinating and intriguing. Love him or loathe him, you can't deny he is a fascinating character.

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