why is everyone picking on Lance … aka more dirty tales emerge


Retired professional cyclist Roberto Gaggioli has claimed that Lance Armstrong paid him $100,000 for agreeing to throw a race in Philadelphia in 1993 – the money, in dollar bills, contained in the packaging of a cake traditionally eaten by Italians at Christmas.

In this photo provided by PhotoSport International shows Malcolm ELLIOTT, (L)  Lance ARMSTRONG (C) and Roberto GAGGIOLI (R) - 1 week after Armstrong won world title in Oslo.
In this photo provided by PhotoSport International shows Malcolm ELLIOTT, (L) Lance ARMSTRONG (C) and Roberto GAGGIOLI (R) – 1 week after Armstrong
won world title in Oslo.

Gaggioli, now aged 51, told Milan-based newspaper La Corriere della Sera that he was resting in a hotel room in Bergamo, northern Italy, in October 1993 when there was a knock at the door.

“It was a young American fellow rider,” he said. “He gave me a panettone in a gift box wishing me ‘Merry Christmas’ and went on his way. In the box there was $100,000 in small denomination bills. That fellow rider was Lance Armstrong.”

Shortly beforehand, Armstrong, then aged 22, had been crowned world champion in Oslo, but the money Gaggioli claims he paid him related to a race that had taken place across the Atlantic four months earlier.

Pharmacy chain Thrift Drug had put up a prize of $1 million, insured at Lloyd’s of London, for any rider managing to win a trio of races in the United States that year under the name of the Thrift Drug Triple Crown of Cycling.

All three races took place in the space of three weeks and Armstrong won the first two the the Thrift Drug Classic one-day race in Pittsburgh, and the K-Mart West Virginia Classic stage race.

He headed to the third and final event in Philadelphia, which also doubled as the US national championship, intent on winning that seven-figure purse.

But Gaggioli, an Italian who had emigrated to the United States, was the red-hot favourite for a race that he had previously won in 1988.

“So much time has passed, now I can talk about it,” Gaggioni told the Corriere della Sera. “Lance came up to me before the start. He told me that my team, Coors Light, had agreed and spoke to me about my compensation – $100,000. I understood that everything had already been decided.

“Two laps from the end, I got into the decisive break with Lance, Bobby Julich and some Italians from the Mercatone team. On a signal from Lance I turned and pretended not to see him attack. He won by a distance.

Asked why the other Italian riders hadn’t reacted, Gaggioli said: “They had very good reasons not to.”

The Corriere della Sera asked the four Mercatone Uno riders about their recollections of the race.

One, Simone Biasci, said that once the break had formed, Armstrong struck a deal with another Mercatone Uno rider, Angelo Canzonieri. “It went well,” he said. “We earned more in one day than our team mates did in three weeks at the Giro d’Italia.”

Another, Roberto Pelliconi, remembered: “Canzonieri and Lance agreed for ‘fifty’; Angelo was thinking in dollars, Lance in lire. At the Giro di Lombardia, he delivered 50 million lire to us, saving 40 per cent thanks to the favourable exchange rate.”

Canzonieri, however, has no recollection of the episode. He told the newspaper: “Leave Armstrong alone, he’s paid enough. I don’t remember anything.”

Gaggioli and the Mercatone Uno team weren’t the only ones allegedly paid off by Armstrong that year – New Zealand ex-pro Stephen Swart says his team was paid $50,000 to ease off in the stage race in West Virginia – but there would be a sting in the tail for the American.

The prize was only $1 million dollars if anyone winning it agreed to accept the money in 20 annual instalments of $50,000; choosing to take cash, it reduced to $600,000, which would also be subject to 20 per cent tax.

With the alleged backhanders to be paid and money also to be given to his Motorola team mates and staff, the Corriere della Sera says that Armstrong would have been left with just a “pugno di dollari” – the name in Italian of the Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Western, A Fistful of Dollars.

Last year, Armstrong was banned from sport for life and stripped of all results dating back to his return from battling cancer in 1998 – so while that prize money may be long gone, he does get to keep his victories in that trio of races.

 

Armstrong – the video to watch (wait for it)


The Armstrong Lie Official HD Trailer

In 2008, Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney began making “a feel-good movie” on what he believed could be one of the great sporting comebacks as Lance Armstrong sought an eighth Tour de France title; five years on, his finished work, The Armstrong Lie, instead charts the downfall of a legend.

The film, made by Sony and due for release next month, received its international premiere at the Venice Film Festival in Italy in September, and a trailer has been released.

Gibney and his crew received unprecedented access to Armstrong both ahead of and during his 2009 comeback, when he finished third in the Tour de France, and following his confession to Oprah Winfrey earlier this year.

Speaking about his film, which had the provisional title The Road Backwhen shooting began, Gibney says: “In 2008, I set out to make a film about a comeback. Lance Armstrong, a man who had cheated death, the 7-time-winner of the Tour de France and an inspirational figure who had raised over $300 million dollars to support those afflicted with cancer, had decided to return to cycling.

“Though he had been dogged by accusations of doping, he was going to return to the sport, at the ancient age of 38, to prove to everyone that he would race clean and still beat the field.

“I almost finished that film. Then, in 2011, I sat with my jaw open as I watched Tyler Hamilton on 60 Minutes reveal, in detail, how Lance had doped,” he went on.

“I was there in Austin, Texas, when Lance shot his interview with Oprah. I interviewed him briefly a few hours later and saw, for the first and only time, a slump in his shoulders that showed some kind of vulnerability.

“Then, a few months later, I interviewed him again. The subject of our talk, and my new movie, was not about the bike. It was about the lie. The Armstrong Lie.”

Gibney and his crew received unprecedented access to Armstrong both ahead of and during his 2009 comeback, when he finished third in the Tour de France, and following his confession to Oprah Winfrey earlier this year.

The movie also includes interviews with several people who formed part of Armstrong’s inner circle including the banned doctor, Michele Ferrari, and former US Postal, Astana and RadioShack team manager, Johan Bruyneel.

Others appearing include witnesses to the United States Anti Doping Agency’s investigation such as Frankie and Betsey Andreu and Jonathan Vaughters, and journalists including David Walsh of The Sunday Times.

The video below is of a press conference about the film at the Toronto International Film Festival last month in which Gibney, the film’s producer Frank Marshall, Betsy Andreu, journalist Bill Strickland and Jonathan Vaughters talk about the documentary and Armstrong’s career.

Skip forward to 12 minutes into the video for the press conference.

Will armstrong come clean on Oprah – and will he cry?


Lance Armstrong should reveal all if he admits to doping on the Oprah Winfrey show later this week, says British Cycling president Brian Cookson.

The American was stripped of his seven Tour de France wins following a report by the US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada).

Armstrong, 41, who has always denied doping, has remained silent since the report was published in October, but newspaper reports say he may confess.

“Let’s have facts, names, places and times,” Cookson told BBC Sport.

 

MAD-Magazine-Lance-Armstrong-Untrue-Blood

 

Cookson, speaking to the BBC’s Sportsweek programme, continued: “If the allegations are true in Tyler Hamilton’s book and the Usada report then there are substantial numbers of people involved.

“The real thing that has to come out is who were these other people involved, who were the people supplying and helping him, the doctors that helped him, the companies that supplied him. Let’s have that information.

“The sort of thing Armstrong was doing, according to the Usada report, was not just popping a few pills behind the changing rooms, it was sophisticated conspiracies, cheating over a long period of time on a large scale.”

In his book, Hamilton, who was a team-mate of Armstrong during his Tour de France victories in 1999, 2000 and 2001, alleged that both riders doped.

Armstrong ended his fight against the charges against him in August 2012. In October, Usada released a 1,000-page report saying the American had been at the heart of “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme” ever seen in sport.

As a result he was banned from competing in cycling and all sport sanctioned by the World Anti-Doping Authority or Usada, but the New York Times reported that if he admits to doping he could then try to return to racing in marathons and triathlons.

“I think this is the only way out for him,” added Cookson.

“I think there will be all these layers of emotion and obfuscation of the real issue, which is that he cheated, along with a lot of other people in and around his team.

 

Analysis

Tim Franks – BBC News

Tyler Hamilton, Armstrong’s former team and room-mate, himself an ex-doper, told me last year he hoped Armstrong would confess all, for his own sake. “He’ll feel so much better the morning after,” he said.For Armstrong, though, the path from confession to catharsis to closure would have particular problems.

 

“If [being allowed to compete in triathlons is] part of his motivation I kind of understand that but frankly we don’t want him back in cycling.

“[He has] undermined the credibility of our sport to such an extent that people, who I am now confident are competing clean, are still getting smeared and slurred.

“We have had massive investment in anti-doping procedures and a real change in culture over the last five years and I’m pretty confident that the sport is much cleaner than it was but we’ve still got the reputational damage that was done by Armstrong, so I don’t want him back in our sport.

“I hope he doesn’t get a reduction in his sentence from Usada that would allow him to take part in any other sport.”

The Sunday Times, which in December announced plans to sue Armstrong as a result of losing a libel action to him over doping allegations made in 2006, has taken out an advertisement in the Chicago Tribune with a list of 10 questions it wants Winfrey to ask the disgraced cyclist.

The questions include whether Armstrong, who recovered from testicular cancer, accepts “lying to the cancer community was the greatest deception of all” and if he intends to return the prize money he has won.

Armstrong was stripped of his titles by the International Cycling Union (UCI) shortly after the Usada report was released and he was given a lifetime ban from the sport.

He also resigned as chairman of the Livestrong foundation – the cancer charity he created – after the cycling body’s decision.

 

Pharmstrong – the end of an era as the last culprits face their judgement ….


The Lance Armstrong scandal claimed another high-profile scalp yesterday as Johan Bruyneel was relieved of his position as directeur sportif at RadioShack Nissan Trek following his implication in the web of blood-doping and deceit that developed around Armstrong following the American’s comeback from cancer in 1998. Bruyneel was lead directeur sportif at US Postal Service from 1999 to 2004, and had won a total of nine Tours in the
past 14 years with Armstrong – although the Texan is likely to be stripped of those titles ~ and Alberto Contador.
But it was the news that Phil ligget is still a big supporter that came as a shock but not as much as this article today in The Independent ….. Frightening how the flag wavers refuse still to belief how they were duped ….

The canonisation of Lance Armstrong will commence on Thursday, when he will be lauded for “15 years, of serving and empowering” 2.5 million cancer survivors. The following day Hollywood will pay its respects, in the form of a gala featuring Sean Penn, Ben Stiller and Robin Williams.

On Saturday, more than 100,000 American Football fans, and millions of TV viewers on ABC, will laud the cyclist, and his eponymous foundation, at the start of the second quarter of the College game between Baylor and the University of Texas. The entire student section, which seats 17,000, will simultaneously don specially designed Nike shirts, promoting Armstrong’s Livestrong brand.

On Sunday 4,000 cyclists will pay $50 to participate in a challenge event in Armstrong’s home town of Austin, Texas. His foundation’s sponsors will underwrite performances by local drama groups, musical acts, and sporting activities ranging from tennis to yoga.

Livestrong speaks of “taking control of the global conversation” in relation to cancer. A similar strategy is being employed, as Armstrong seeks to counter his depiction as an amoral, manipulative bully in the most damning report into a prominent athlete in the modern era.

Armstrong’s status, in his constituency of the United States, is largely unchallenged, although by yesterday morning his official Twitter feed was finally infiltrated by critics, who made obscene comparisons between him and fraudster Bernie Madoff.

Donald Trump, whose populist instincts are impeccable, spoke for the vast majority of his countrymen by branding the United States Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) report “brutal”. He observed: “I guess they have Lance Armstrong cold. A waste of taxpayer money to take down an American hero.”

Sponsors are circling the wagons. Nike, who pay Livestrong a minimum $7.5 million a year from its merchandise profits, are particularly exposed. Their marketing strategy promotes the myth of Armstrong as a warrior king, plucked from an oncology ward. Promotional videos feature him on his bike, against intermittent images of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, confronting mortality and conquering fear.

Armstrong’s principal product is himself as a symbol of hope. That is a force sufficiently pure and powerful to lure such celebrated acolytes as former president George W Bush and Bono, the ultimate good cause junkie.

To reinforce the point, the front page of Armstrong’s website carries a freshly-posted paean of praise from Sarah O’Leary, who is described as a “marketing expert, public speaker, licensed minister and issues-focused independent”.

She writes: “The gun that should be smoking isn’t, and wouldn’t have any real effect on the brand Livestrong if it were. Lance stopped being a mere professional cyclist while he was still on his bike, and the accusations against him have had their 15 minutes of fame. Unlike mere mortal performers, Lance lives in rarefied air that only a scant few professional athletes reach. He is substantially bigger than his sport.”

That hoary old cliché misses the point. Armstrong behaved, and continues to behave, as if he is the sport which enriched him. Cycling around the world is being hit by a tsunami of guilt and retribution as a result of his exposure as a man with the morals of a gang boss.

In Australia last night, Matthew White, a former team-mate of Armstrong, admitted to doping and stood down from key roles in both professional cycling and the Australian Olympic squad.

His status, as a leading proponent of so-called clean teams made his downfall doubly significant and served to underline the ambivalence of the debate about appropriate punishments for a doomed generation of chemically-driven athletes.

The previous evening, Johan Bruyneel, Armstrong’s former team manager, was forced out of the Luxemburg-based Radioshack team. The Belgian Cycling Federation alerted their prosecutor and did little to dampen speculation they will recommend a lifetime ban.

Should that occur, few tears will be shed for a man accused of being pivotal figure in what Usada described as “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen”.

In Italy, recently-retired cyclist Leonardo Bertagnolli was summoned to a hearing involving the Italian Olympic Committee’s anti-doping prosecutor after revealing details of drug use supervised by the infamous Michele Ferrari, Armstrong’s former doctor.

In Chicago, Christian Vande Velde, another member of Armstrong’s tainted team, was dealing with his mother’s shame after revealing his guilt to her. He admits he has yet to summon the courage to explain himself to his father John, a former Olympic track cyclist.

In Beijing, Matthew Dowsett, a British rider for Team Sky, recanted his belief in Armstrong as a “legend” in what bore all the hallmarks of a humiliating piece of PR-inspired penitence. Also in China, Pat McQuaid, the president of the UCI, cycling’s global governing body, was under pressure, together with “honorary president” Hein Verbruggen, the IOC member whose denial that he said Armstrong “never, never, never” doped was torpedoed by the publishing, in Holland, of the transcript of his original interview.

His claims that the UCI “could have done nothing and did not hide anything” in an era of sophisticated doping merely confirmed the wisdom of David Millar’s conviction that he has no part to play in a rehabilitated, recalibrated sport.

McQuaid’s abject leadership skills were highlighted on Friday by his resistance to calls for cycling to set up a “truth and reconciliation” process. He suggested something similar at the London Olympics, retracted the idea at last month’s World Championships, and now says an amnesty for the cheats is against the World Anti-Doping Agency code.

The enormity of the fraud needs to be exposed, and acknowledged, by its perpetrators, as the first stage in a process of renewal. Anecdotal evidence suggests the code of omerta, which allowed Armstrong to spread his poison, is being sustained by the fear that anyone re-opening Pandora’s box would suffer reprisals.

The manifest failings of the UCI must be addressed. In return, athletes must accept that suspicion will be the neutral observer’s default position until change is tangible.

As for Armstrong, he is in a netherworld of victimhood, and false heroism. The threat of legal action is potent, but his exposure as a common cheat carries little personal penalty, because he is conditioned to living a lie.

The real victims are those cancer sufferers, who invested in the mirage of his magnificence. Perhaps, instead of concentrating on the Livestrong celebrations, they should listen to the authentic voice of Lance Armstrong, as expressed the Usada report: “I can destroy you… We are going to fucking tear you apart… I am going to make your life a living fucking hell.”

Saint Lance? Draw your own conclusions.