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Lance Armstrong reportedly tried paying off USADA in 2004

lance armstrongLance Armstrong has many supporters, but even his staunchest defenders will have a difficult time defending him against the mounting evidence he’s facing.

On Friday, The New York Times reported that Armstrong was considering admitting he doped/used performance-enhancers during his cycling career in order to improve his standing with the US Anti-Doping Agency. Now, USADA executive Travis Tygart is claiming that an Armstrong representative tried donating a large sum to the agency in 2004.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Tygart told “60 Minutes Sports” that an Armstrong representative tried donating around $250,000 to the organization in 2004. In the interview, which will air Wednesday on Showtime, Tygart reportedly called the gesture “totally inappropriate.”

“I was stunned,” Tygart says in the interview. “It was a clear conflict of interest for USADA. We had no hesitation in rejecting that offer.”

One of Armstrong’s attorneys tried explaining the offer.

“At some point … I thought around the mid-2000s … someone was seeking some money for testing equipment and Armstrong offered to help,” attorney Tim Herman told the LA Times. “I don’t know for sure what happened. I only vaguely remember someone in the enforcement community needing some new testing equipment.

“There was some request to us, I thought. I can’t recall exactly, but that’s my recollection.”

Armstrong has donated $125,000 to the International Cycling Union. He gave them $25,000 in 2002, and his management company gave the organization $100,000 in 2005.

Armstrong’s actions come off as obvious bribery attempts. Don’t forget that the New York Daily News also reported that Nike paid a UCI president $500,000 in 1999 to cover up one of his positive tests.

Lance Armstrong reportedly thinking of admitting drug use

lance armstrongLance Armstrong is considering admitting that he used banned performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions during his cycling career, The New York Times reports. The Times says Armstrong “has told associates and antidoping officials that he is considering publicly admitting that he used banned performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions during his cycling career.”

Armstrong’s interest in being able to compete in US Anti-Doping Association-sanctioned sporting events is the motivating factor behind his consideration, the report states.

Armstrong was the most decorated cyclist of all time. He was stripped by USADA in August of his record seven Tour de France titles and banned from cycling for life because of overwhelming evidence that he cheated. The lifetime ban also prevented him from competing in running and triathlon events in which he hoped to participate.

Armstrong vehemently fought all cheating accusations he faced. He notoriously battled with the French press during his career following accusations of PED usage and failed drug tests made against him by two separate French newspapers. A published book and several former teammates have accused Armstrong of not only using performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career, but also demanding his teammates use them too.

Many considered Armstrong’s decision not to fight the mounting allegations and evidence against him compiled by USADA an admission of guilt. If this report is true, the public may finally get a true admission of guilt from Armstrong.

The Times says there are a few factors that could impede the admission. There is a federal lawsuit Armstrong and several other former members of the US Postal Service-sponsored riding team are facing. Their contract with the USPS forbade them from doping, so an admission from Armstrong would hurt their case. Armstrong also reportedly has been in discussion with a top USADA executive about lessening his punishments from the organization.

Armstrong was forced to distance himself from the famous Livestrong Foundation, a cancer awareness organization he started, after the drug allegations against him mounted. There reportedly is pressure from Livestrong supporters who are urging him to finally come clean.

Lance Armstrong gives speech appealing to cancer donors (Video)

Lance Armstrong may be going through one of the most difficult times of his life, but the public shaming he has endured has not stopped him from continuing his fight against cancer.

Armstrong spoke at Livestrong’s 15th anniversary celebration in Austin, Tex., on Friday night — two days after he stepped down as the charity’s chairman– to appeal to cancer donors.

“It’s been a difficult couple of weeks,” Armstrong acknowledged. “When people ask how I’m doing, I say ‘I’ve been better, but I’ve also been worse.’”

Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in August, and banned from cycling for life. But it wasn’t until USADA released over 1,000 pages of evidence supporting their decisions to strip and ban Armstrong that many other of his previous supporters began to turn on him.

Nike, which stood by Armstrong during his cycling career (and allegedly paid off a cycling president on his behalf), endorsed him, and supported Livestrong, officially dropped him on Wednesday. Several other companies followed their lead and cut ties with the disgraced former cyclist.

CNN even reported about several Livestrong donors who are angry and feel defrauded. One couple who has raised $200,000 for the charity say they want their money back.

“I feel we were really fooled. We were really hoodwinked,” Connie Roddy told CNN.

The criticism from corporations and individuals isn’t keeping Armstrong from rallying on behalf of Livestrong.

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Nike allegedly paid off cycling president to cover for Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong has been linked to performance-enhancing drug use for more than a decade, but Nike has remained by his side all throughout the years. According to a recent report in the NY Daily News, the sports apparel juggernaut did far more than just that.

Last week, the United States Anti-Doping Agency released 1,000 pages of evidence that claim Armstrong led an extremely sophisticated doping network. The evidence was released to explain why they stripped the seven-time Tour de France winner was stripped of his titles. As you know, Lance ended his fight against the doping accusations over the summer, which many considered to be an admission of guilt. Still, Nike continued to endorse him.

That all changed earlier this week when it was revealed that Kathy LeMond, the wife of American cyclist Greg LeMond, testified under oath in 2006 that Nike paid former Union Cycliste Internationale president Hein Verbruggen $500,000 to cover up one of Armstrong’s positive drug tests from 1999. The test at that time revealed Lance used a steroid called corticosteroids to treat saddle sores.

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Lance Armstrong the latest sports star to have his accomplishments questioned

Remember the days when you could become arm-strong just on natural ability and work ethic? Well, those times are apparently as antiquated as using elbow grease and whipping out the old Thomas Guide to find your way somewhere. (Yes, boys and girls: the iPhone is a relatively new phenomenon.) Lance Armstrong has become the latest athlete to see his legacy crushed by allegations of cheating writ large.

Last week was the culmination of eight years of accusations against the renowned cyclist, after Lance decided to avoid arbitration with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), leading the agency to issue a lifetime ban and stripping the seven-time Tour de France winner of every accolade and title he achieved in the sport. Therefore, if this decision holds up, in the annals of official cycling history — must be a pretty short read these days — many of Armstrong’s accomplishments never happened.

Technically, Lance’s decision does not constitute an admission to the doping charges but it does yield a public indictment. Consider the fact that, if the USADA sentence holds up — to wipe out all the records in his career from the chosen date of August 1, 1998 on — pretty much the only thing that would be of note on the books is the world championship he won in 1993: a date that is significant now only to him and various members of the Funky Bunch.

While Armstrong remains steadfast that he is innocent and refuses to fight the charges, likening the ongoing investigation to the accusations of a witch trial against cycling’s most preeminent figures, sports is left with yet another figure who has been accused and suspended for running afoul of illicit supplement policy.

The Armstrong news comes on the heels of baseball’s latest doping revelations, a shock to no one except those who use the Mitchell Report to balance a rickety Lucite poker table. Melky Cabrera, who was having a career year which included All-Star Game MVP honors for the Giants, and Bartolo Colón, yet another in a long line of 0s from the ‘Big O’, were both busted for violating baseball’s policy on banned substances, an infraction as common these days as a parking ticket.

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Lance Armstrong ends his fight; USADA strips him of 7 Tour de France titles

Lance Armstrong fought to beat testicular cancer, fought to win seven straight Tour de France titles, and fought to keep defending himself against continuous allegations of PED use, but on August 23, 2012, the cyclist surrendered in his fight with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. USADA took Armstrong’s decision not to enter arbitration regarding the doping charges he faced as an admission of guilt, and the agency stripped him of his seven Tour de France titles and banned him from cycling for life.

Had Armstrong entered arbitration, he likely would have been forced to defend himself against overwhelming evidence of cheating.

According to The Associated Press, USADA had blood tests from 2009 and 2010 that showed Armstrong was blood doping. They also reportedly had 10 former Armstrong teammates ready to testify against him, including ones who said Armstrong encouraged them to cheat. They believe he has been doping and using various PEDs since 1996.

Armstrong sued USADA in hopes that a federal court would block the case from proceeding, but the case was thrown out on Monday. That must have been Armstrong’s last line of defense because he made the decision to stop fighting only three days later. My guess is he and his PR team knew that too much damaging information would be presented in arbitration, so they decided to stop the fight now in order to prevent the negativity.

Armstrong got to release a statement that accuses USADA of being a “bully” and makes the agency look like the bad guy. His statement declares he won the Tour de Frances on a level playing field.

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Stephen Swart: Lance Armstrong Was Ringleader in Encouraging Blood Doping

It’s one thing for Floyd Landis to accuse Lance Armstrong of PED use. Armstrong’s defense against allegations from Landis are simple: attack Floyd’s character and question his credibility given the man’s reputation as a self-admitted liar. But what happens when another cyclist makes the same accusations? Then you have to contemplate the truth of the matter, if you haven’t already.

SI has done some reporting regarding a federal grand jury inquiry about Armstrong. One of the strongest pieces of information they acquired came from New Zealand cyclist Stephen Swart, who rode with Armstrong on the Motorola team in 1995.

According to SI, Swart “describes the Texan as the driving force behind some of the team members deciding to use the banned blood booster EPO. “He was the instigator,” Swart tells SI. “It was his words that pushed us toward doing it.” This fits with what Landis had already said, that Armstrong encouraged the PED use on his teams.

Given what we know about cycling and the way so many of the champions and contenders get busted for PED use, it’s very similar to track and field. So many people are breaking the rules by using illegal substances that it’s almost impossible to compete without cheating. I’m in no way condoning cheating in cycling but merely pointing out the likelihood that most athletes competing in the sport have used PEDs. In Armstrong’s case, the evidence is mounting against his public reputation as a clean athlete.