Lance Armstrong, in a scene similar to a Spaghetti Western, duelled with the “bad guys” and avoided charges from US Federal doping investigation. Over night, he surveyed the damage, blew his gun’s smoking barrel and issued a statement.

“I am gratified,” the 40-year-old Texan said in a statement regarding the closed investigation. He added that he looks forward to continuing his life as a father and an athlete, and a cancer fighter “without this distraction.”

Fans wondered this morning just how Armstrong beat the odds, or the “distraction.” Federal agent Jeff Novitzky was on his trail, former team-mates Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis confessed to and made accusations of doping, numerous other former US Postal team-mates testified, the French were providing urine samples with EPO and the Italians were linking him to Michele Ferrari via payments in Swiss bank accounts. Just like in those westerns, though, Armstrong looked left and looked right with squinted eyes and then fired.

“It has no effect on my life – zero,” he said in February. In September, he explained, “I’m totally immune to any controversy. I’ve been listening to this stuff for 15 years.”

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigation affected US cyclists Hamilton and Landis. Landis, who won the Tour de France in 2006 and then lost it because he doped, jump-started the investigation. In April 2010, he alleged that in the years he raced with Armstrong’s US Postal team, from 2002 to 2004, he and his team-mates doped. His alleged EPO and testosterone patch use, and blood transfusions.

Landis’ claims “are not even worth getting into,” Armstrong said. “I’m not going to waste your time or my time.”

Armstrong won the Tour de France a record seven times from 1999 to 2005. Hamilton helped him with three Tour wins. He confessed last May that he doped. He also said that Armstrong took EPO and testosterone, and transfused his blood.

Fans believed that something must have been going on in those US Postal/Discovery Channel years. Besides, it came ahead of the Operación Puerto doping investigation that entangled many of Armstrong’s rivals.

As part of the investigation, Prosecutors subpoenaed former team-mate Yaroslav Popovych, physiologist Allen Lim and friend Stephanie McIlvain.

CBS TV reported that former team-mate George Hincapie testified that he and Armstrong “supplied each other with EPO.”

“Unbelievable,” cycling fans must have thought when reading the news this morning. “How did Armstrong do it? How did he hold them all off?”

Armstrong rode off into the sunset, tweeting LiveSTRONG on @lancearmstrong and antagonising journalists on @juanpelota.

“Is this really how it ends?” you may say when the western ends. “I wonder if they’re going to make a sequel?”

Armstrong is reported to compete in an off-road triathlon on March 18. The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) will continue investigating him.

“Unlike the US Attorney, USADA’s job is to protect clean sport rather than enforce specific criminal laws,” said Tygart, USADA chief executive. Its investigation is continuing. “We look forward to obtaining the information developed during the federal investigation.”

Related links

Armstrong case dropped by US investigators

  • milton

    i must say that i am in complete accord with Dave Evans and Veskebjorn the whole thing is a shambles . Novitsky is a self promoting egotistical parasite his actions have contributed to the outcome of this whole sorry business ,he has been painted as cyclings saviour nothing could be more removed from the truth his actions have always been ones of self promotion .in the past my views have been called naive ,they are not , my views were formed by a lifetimes work along side people like mr Novitsky ,creatures like him should never hold public office .I think mr Evans is right we should be looking at ways of cutting cycling deaths not bleating on about Armstrong and co , let us hope that as much time money and energy is spent on saving the lives of the everyday cyclist that Would be somthing but i will not hold my breath i think there is much mileage left in the witch hunters crusade on Armstrong to hope for a better focus

  • Mike

    Yes quite so.

    Also, Lance is a rich American sporting icon, the Americans always support there own.

    Think OJ Simpson, Michael Jackson. They got away without charge. OJ had to have another go before they would charge him.

  • veskebjorn

    I regard Mr. Brown’s spaghetti western metaphor as both entertaining and misleading. Mr.
    Armstrong did not face anyone down; he hired competent attorneys who preserved Mr. Armstrong’s legal rights and prevented the prosecutors and FDA investigator Novitsky from engaging in the extra-legal shenanigans with which they had tarnished other athletes’ public images in previous, similar cases.

    With the exception, perhaps, of the Aspen encounter with Tyler Hamilton, Mr. Armstrong refused to engage with his adversaries. Given that his principal accusers were self-confessed perjurers and that nearly two years of extensive and costly detective work on two continents had yet to find a single piece of incriminatory physical evidence, the prosecution was forced to call off the (so far ineffectual) hounds.

    In the United States, criminal courts require proof beyond a reasonable doubt for a conviction. The prosecutors could not meet this standard after two years of trying. Justice demanded an end to their efforts.

    To return to Mr. Brown’s metaphor, the smoking guns were actually held by Mr. Landis and Mr. Hamilton, who shot themselves immediately upon learning that, yet again, their representations were dismissed by competent authorities as unbelievable.

  • Dave Evans

    Whether he took drugs or not wouldn’t all this time, effort and resources be better spent on current problems?
    At the very best it’s going to prove he was a better cheat than other cheats given the number of his rivals who were caught or performed suspiciously well. It’s this season I’m interested in so let’s make sure that’s clean rather than dwelling on the past of what is ultimately just a test of who can ride a bicycle the best. If you want to get p**sed off about something try the number of cyclists dying on the roads.