Do you believe Lance Armstrong, that he didn't dope?

I don’t. I think he’s guilty as sin.

I don’t know that he doped (especially since I’m not an expert nor am I even remotely connected to the issue), but I very strongly suspect it, as a lay observer of professional cycling. I believe that when you take most of the facts together in this case, and apply just a wee slice or two from good Mr Ockham’s Razor, it’s almost certain that Armstrong doped, at least a few times in those 7 seasons in which he won the Tour de France. (And when the truth finally does come out, which I think it will, people are going to act all shocked and crestfallen.)

Think about it:

  1. Armstrong was most likely competing against riders who WERE doping, at the very least. And he was able to beat all of them, at least 7 times on the Tour! Does it make sense that a clean rider could do that, even one exceptionally talented with natural endurance and stamina? Does it make sense that someone recently recovering from cancer could do this, without massive assistance from performance enhancing sustances? How do you beat the superhuman performance of the cheaters, without cheating, yourself?

  2. Ex-Armstrong-teammate Floyd Landis, once he admitted to his own doping, also accused Armstrong of doping. Yes, I know that Landis is a “liar” and I know that the timing of his accusations is pretty suspicious, but still, his allegations about Armstrong are at the very least consistent with what many people suspected, all along. If Landis rode for Team USPS and doped, are we really to believe that Armstrong stayed clean? “If you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas”, as the saying goes.

  3. The explanations, counter-arguments, and Armstrong apologetics just fall flat:

-“But Armstrong never failed a test for banned substances!” Yeah, so? Lots of athletes pass drug screens all the time, so much so that testing clean has become an inside joke in many sports. Marion Jones tested clean, too. And we all know the epilogue of that Olympic dream. Plus, some French cycling figures and journalists (the French are admittedly NOT a neutral party here!) say that on at least one occasion, Armstrong DIDN’T pass. But that allegation has also proved inconclusive and IIRC, follow-up tests on those disputed samples can’t be performed.

-Armstrong’s lungs are much larger/more voluminous/stronger than the average rider’s. Really? So much so that he can beat other riders who ARE doping? And after his body suffered through cancer, no less? Sorry. Just don’t buy it.

-“Well, I’m sorry that you can’t believe in miracles.” This is a paraphrasing of one of Armstrong’s more asinine, puerile responses to those skeptical of his drug-free claims. I for one find it insulting, because it impugns the intellectual integrity of those who (epistemically correctly, IMHO) don’t buy his apologetics, and it posits supernatural woo-woo (“miracles”) instead of being a substantive, rational response to the allegations.

I believe, until further data is forthcoming, that the simplest, most rational explanatory theory for Armstrong’s phenomenal cycling successes is usage of illicit performance enhancers. Atheist Richard Dawkins was once asked what he would say if, upon dying, he found himself before the Pearly Gates. He replied that he would proclaim, “So I was wrong. But I was wrong for the right reasons.” If it were somehow possible to prove conclusively that Armstrong didn’tdope, I would similarly feel fully justified in believing that he had.

I WANT to believe Lance. I really, really do. But I can’t help but be convinced, on an intellectual level, that his victories are at least partially fraudulent, and the world is being greatly hoodwinked.

Your thoughts?

I believe him until evidence is provided to show otherwise.

Isn’t this more a Game Room thread?

Any particular reason why you believe him, Mahaloth? Just curious.

[I hope a mod will move this, if it belongs in GR.]

I totally think he doped and that he was just the best doper. No way in hell you’re such a great athlete that you beat all the cheaters. Not that that makes it okay for him to dope, as somebody in another thread sort of asserted.

I don’t want to believe that he doped. I read his first book at a time when my faith in humanity was badly shaken, and found his story to be profoundly inspiring. My picture of him is of a man who was always enormously gifted athletically but immature and arrogant until he was stripped down to his most basic elements by cancer and built himself back up, wiser and stronger. One thing he has said is that before the cancer, he was carrying about 15 extra pounds of muscle in his upper body that was completely gone after his treatments. When he worked his way back to fitness after he recovered his health, he put back only the muscle that was important to cycling.

I’m not an athlete myself and can’t comment on whether that makes the critical difference to his performance post-cancer. I have a hard time believing that someone who stared death directly in the face would be cavalier with his health once given a new chance to live.

I’d say yes, he probably did. EPO was basically a freebie in cycling in the 90s AFAIK, as the analytical tests had not yet been developed for it.

I can only think of two half-decent arguments to say he didn’t dope. Well three, if you include the fact that he is the toughest, meanest rider the Tour has seen since Merckx. First, the Tour is a team sport. So arguments like ‘he beat all these other riders who were doped’ aren’t strictly correct - he and his team did. So you could easily have a situation where an elite, clean rider on the dominant team was beating other stronger riders who had weaker teams. Not saying I believe this necessarily, but it’s a point that people who don’t follow cycling may not appreciate.

Second, he came back. At an old age, and in a far more rigorous drug testing regime, he finished third in the Tour in 2009. Pretty impressive.

I’d say the chances that ‘the truth will out’ on scientific grounds are around nil. There is no way a 10 year old urine sample is going to stand up to scrutiny for a myriad of reasons. There’s certainly the chance that the truth will emerge from people just fessing up, when they’ve nothing at stake. Hasn’t happened yet, but I guess there’s plenty of time.

There’s no point mentioning Floyd Landis’ opinion on Lance, the guy is delusional - ‘Lance went on holiday and asked me to mind his blood that was being stored in the linen closet’ Aye Floyd, course he did - now be a good lad and get tae fuck.

Sure. He probably did. I won’t care either way; I think he’s kind of a jackass, but it won’t ruin my day to find out one way or the other.

I believe he doped, just like every other tour winner in the last, say, 40 years.

I’m pretty sure that he doped exactly as much as every other competitor.

I think he’s done what 99.999% of the other pros have done. Doped but did it better and smarter than most.

The sport is a cesspit of drugs and cheating.

I think there is a good chance that Armstrong was doping and that saddens me. However, I don’t subscribe to the view that he ‘doped better’ and that explains his success. I believe he was a superior athlete who was well suited to, and concentrated his efforts on, the extreme demands of Le Tour. Everyone doping more or less levels out the playing field and the superior athlete will still rise to the top. Also, doping won’t make the exertion hurt any less, it just gives a better payback for your efforts.

BTW I have never been a Lance fan and always wanted others to beat him, but I recognize and admire his talents.

Unlike football, or NFL, or rugby league, or the olympics, say? Introduce a biological passport to any of those sports and they’d fold within the week (apart from football, where it’s more thrown matches / recreational drugs, than doping per se).

Cesspits a plenty mate - don’t make the mistake of thinking that because cycling catches the most cheats, it must therefore have more cheats than any other sport.

In the past I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I still do a little bit until there’s indisputable evidence to the contrary or a full-out confession.

But now I think he cheated.

One argument for him being clean was that while Lance was undergoing chemo therapy, his body was stripped nearly to the bone. He looked like a concentration camp survivor. Then using that as a starting point along with a completely different outlook on things, he was able to achieve greatness. He built his body with pure muscle mass on top of muscle mass and he approached his training with a new devotion.

Well that’s the Disney feature-length version.

The counter arguments are that there are simply too many voices saying that he cheated.

Also the most compelling argument is the line that is trotted out about steroids but is a catch-all for all PED’s: They will make average athletes good. Make good athletes great. And great athletes? They’ll do things we never saw before.

Thus in this past decade in a half, we’ve seen the old homerun record (season and total) surpassed, we’ve seen a golfer completely dominate the field, a world-record sprinter who can pull up the last ten meters of a race, a swimmer bringing home more medals since some dude named Mark Spitz…you get the idea.


I used to hold out the possibility that for whatever reason people were accusing and ganging up on him out of jealousy, nationalist fervor or whatever. But after all the revelations to date, it takes too much faith to argue that he’s the sole pure light in a sport that seems universally tainted by cheating.

I still believe in the goodness of Roger Clemens though. :dubious:

I think he doped, like his main competitor’s.

I’ve read that cycling has some of the toughest anti-doping measures around which makes me think that there’s a whole lot of doping going around in (pro)sports.

I think he doped. I assume that almost any athlete who wins a gold medal, or wins a major event, or is at the top of his/her sport does the same.

Not at all. I assume that a lot(the vast majority) of world class athletes are doping or have doped to some degree or another. The OP was about LA and cycling so that’s what I talked about.

I like to think Armstrong is a Doper. It’s like having a celebrity friend.

My gut says he doped.

Intellectually though I don’t like the position of the OP. It’s intrinsically bad form and unfair to basically say you believe someone did something improper and only if they prove they didn’t can they ever be believed.

Like I said, my gut says he doped, so I’m sort of saying two contradictory things at once. Emotionally I guess I really think he did dope, I think almost every professional cyclist dopes. Intellectually I have a great distaste for asking someone to prove a negative (or to disprove something.)

It’s like, “prove creationism is false.” That’s a rabbit hole that you can never really emerge from victorious. Not because the science isn’t on your side but because the other side only really has to assert “possibilities” that their argument is true, whereas you have to prove something factually.

It’s much easier to just prove something than to disprove something. Or as an old saying in debate goes, “you can’t prove a negative.”

Moving thread from IMHO to Game Room.