Following Pat McQuaid's accusation of Lance Armstrong being subjected to a witch hunt, USADA chief Travis Tygart says both parties had the chance to appeal

The chief executive of the US Anti-Doping Agency has dismissed claims that Lance Armstrong was the subject of a “witch hunt” when he was banned from cycling for life.

The accusation was made by former UCI president, Pat McQuaid, on BBC Radio 5 Live after Armstrong gave an interview to the corporation – two years after his doping confession.

But according to AFP, Travis Tygart says that if McQuaid and Armstrong felt so strongly about it they could have challenged the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport when the ban was imposed.

“It is easy for Pat McQuaid or others to say soundbites like he said,” Tygart told reporters at an anti-doping intelligence seminar in Singapore.

He added: “Lance certainly had every opportunity to challenge that sanction.

“And certainly Pat McQuaid could have appealed our decision to impose the lifetime ban. If he in any way felt that was unfair or was singling out Lance Armstrong, he certainly as the president of UCI had the appeal rights to go to CAS.”

Armstrong lamented in his BBC interview that his USADA ban was too wide-reaching, preventing him from entering marathons and triathlons, and potentially raising thousands of pounds for charity.

  • Steph Durant

    ‘omerta’ had everyone taking turns winning. Capped at 5 TdF’s. Lance was greedy … couldn’t get enough of his winning. It was like another drug to him. He needed to go for 6 and 7. And then he needed to come back for more (a third)!!! Put the guy out to pasture already!!

    Thugstrong was a stinking poor Capo, anyway. Pure hubris that it ends up being fellow American Landis that blows the whistle (federal case, literally “whistle-blowing’), and helping bring him down — Landis now stands to take home about 20% of whatever the whistle-blowing case delivers (suit of $100MM, so $20MM maybe) . All ’cause the Capo (Lance) wouldn’t throw the henchman (Landis) a bone and give him a domestique job with USPS when Landis came asking after serving his suspension (time in the slammer, so to speak, and keeping his mouth shut, no singing), all like a good mafiosi underling.

    Lance really needed to watch The Godfather , II, III. He made for a stinking lousy peloton Capo.

  • Eric

    Here’s the real issue: Lance is a perfect ‘litmus test’ for fan ignorance and prejudices when confronting the sad scourge of PED use in bicycle racing.

    Why? *Exactly* because he is an unsimpathetic, incredibly selfish, sociopath egomaniac. There is nothing sentimentally appealing about him, to attach to the issue at hand.

    On the other hand, he forms an ideal scapegoat for those who find having one culprit to blame, soothes all the outraged emotional pain of feeling cheated as a genuine fan of this beautiful and terrific sport. “Of course, the sport would have been sunshine and roses without the big, bad terrible ‘Lance’ to ruin everyone’s parade.”(/sarcasm)

    Well, that’s hogwash – this ‘Emperor’ has no clothes. Human nature plain just doesn’t work that way.

  • Eric

    If an interested bicycle racing fan truly wishes to find the responsible parties of blame in this sordid mess, one could do worse than to look at Dr. Michele Ferrari, Emanuele Bombini (GM of Team Gewiss-Ballan), Manolo Saiz and other notable progenitors of medical technology and management policies that actively promoted these illicit practices.

    The honest fan will look to discover the true causes and enablers of these actions, rather than to cast wildly about for a convenient object of hasty blame. Conspiracies of this sophistication are not forged into being at the mere belated behest of one individual, no matter how unprincipled or meglomaniacal he may be. Lance Armstrong did not create the new doping efficacy of ‘EPO era’, a phenomenon never before seen in the sport. He was not responsible for the doping ‘omerta’ that punished and intimidated honest dope-free racers such as Danny Kimmage right out of the sport.

  • Eric

    The doping ‘omerta’ was not automatically extanded to cover Lance; once the 1994 Fleche Wallone showed him the doping juggernaut of Gewiss and what he was really up against. All Lance did, was refuse to be shut out of the party, just for being an American. His texas-sized ego and cajones drove him to say, in effect, “I’ll see you there, and raise you one more” in this fan-abusing ‘poker game’ that conned the public’s trust. However, he was *not* responsible for creating the doping establishment within the sport.

    Until and unless there is a release of the incriminating evidence found in the materials confisted by police in Operation Puerto, misconceptions about true responsibility for doping scandals of the ‘EPO era’ in bicycle racing will continue to pervade fan consciousness, to the detriment of our beloved sport and sports in general. It is telling that only Americans that doped have had the Yellow Jersey removed from their backs; even though at least two former Tour de France winners have confessed to doping during their wins (Bjarne Riis; Jan Ullrich) and a third, Marco Pantani that had a hematocrit reading that today is considered a de facto evidence of EPO usage. Riis, for one, offered to give his Tour jersey back, and the offer was refused by the UCI and ASO.

  • Eric

    As a racer with some 250 starts, who has had solo breakaways (*plural*, as in: more than once) that would otherwise have lead to Category advancement, chased down and squelched to no purpose besides ego show-off by racers later sanctioned for doping offenses (M_____ Heredia, J____ Bunde) – I ask you, reading this: how have you as a fan, actually suffered more than me as a racer directly harmed by these illegal practices? It beggars the conscience to see the way so many of the commentators here on the boards of Cycling Weekly routinely pile onto the blame game bandwagon against Lance Armstrong, as if that actually even gets near the true causes of such oppobrium – and does precious little to improve the unseen damage still pervading the sport, in the amateur ranks.

    Tell us, O Outraged Ones: where is your moral posturing at the other professional and amateur dopers? Or, is Lance alone the only ‘sinner’ you all consider as being ‘fallen’?

  • Eric

    No. This is the “legacy” of ‘omerta’ about doping that protected Euros in the peloton for years, but when an American has the cojones to step up and play ‘patron’, suddenly he has to perform the ‘omerta’ on his own with the aid of his team (e.g., Bruyneel).

  • Steph Durant

    lol re: “…. all I can say…..”

    Cycling Weekly’s subscription and advertising revenues are down …. they just want “the good old days” …. even if it came with lying, cheating, bribing, doping, coercing, bribing, thugging….

    Germany broadcasters refused to carry TdF on TV last two years.

    This is the legacy of “Lance and the gang”.

    Lance can be the stick-it-to-him leader. He always enjoyed being the Capo in the peleton. Well, he’s the Capo now of the sport’s downfall.

    It may recover someday; it likely will. It will take some time. But anyone telling you/us that they feel sorry for Lance are really only sorry for themselves.

  • Steph Durant

    NEWS OUT

    Arbitration panel has ruled in favour fo the insurance company on Lance’s fraud in “earning” his TdF bonuses (5+ wins).

    Lance has been ordered to pay $10MM.

    Happy Monday, Lance. You’re on a roll.

  • Steph Durant

    And the arbitration panel just ruled today on the bonuses…. Lance owes the insurance company $10MM

    I wonder how many millions Lance spent trying to not pay that back?

    He’s on a great losing streak … one that may just beat his 7 straight TdF “titles”.

  • Del_Varner

    Agreed

  • Steph Durant

    It is interesting just what pull Lance has … he even managed to get Congressmen to halt and bury a federal racketeering investigation into him. That’s some big kahunas to be able to do that.

    The long arm of Texas, I imaginee.

  • Steph Durant

    Everyone else was just a doper. Lance was a doper too,….. and also a thug and a cheat and briber and a coercer and a threatener ….

    He came this close to being indicted for racketeering.

  • Steph Durant

    He didn’t share his bonus for winning 5 straight TdF’s. That was $5MM.

    But you are correct in that most of his revenues were from endorsements: Nike, Trek, Oakley, others. He also took money from his association with Livestrong, including $1MM for the branding provided to a fitness equipment maker for using the Livestrong name which belonged to the Foundation, as a “commission”. That was $1MM NOT going to the Livestrong Foundation (which funded cancer “awareness”, not research, by the way), until Outside Magazine unearthed it and then Lance coughed it up to Livestrong Foundation. He was some pissed at Outside Magazine.

    A real piece of work, Lance.

  • Steph Durant

    “All that matters to Lance is the money….”

    That’s not at all the sense I ever got of Lance. Oh, money mattered alright. But winning and glory always, always meant the most to him … and if he needed to lie, cheat, coerce, bribe, treat and thug to win …. well, so be it.

  • Steph Durant

    Lance was a witch.

    Burn him.

  • Eric

    I do wonder, though, if this oddly targeted Cycling Weekly editorial policy would be the same, if the English speaking Tour winners who were banned, were British.

  • Eric

    Yes, the good editors of Cycling Weekly, have never heard of Operation Puerto.

  • Eric

    Since the good editors of this rag have seen fit to make my cogent comment disappear after some 40 minutes of editing, all I can say is: Cycling Weekly agrees with scapegoating Lance Armstrong, and Lance Armstrong alone, for all of bicycle racing’s doping sins.

  • Eric

    No. Some of us have truly been victimized by doping racers, and actually know something about it; unlike the sentimental idiots spouting off so ignorantly, here.

    How long have you been following the sport? Some of us know what it was like before the EPO era; and then watched it all come on.

  • Eric

    Ah – an honest question, is a dose of fresh air, in here.

  • Eric

    No. World-wise truth. Lance did not dope in earnest until what happened in the 1994 Fleche Wallone.

  • Eric

    Yes: you have your beloved scapegoat, and no one else in the history of the sport ever doped. ‘The Evil One’ figured all this out on his own.

    Freakin’ Euro-wanker tool.

  • Eric

    Yes: you have your beloved scapegoat, and no one else in the history
    of the sport ever doped. Lance figured all this out on his own.

    Freakin’ Euro-wanker tool.

  • Eric

    Yes: you have your beloved scapegoat, and no one else in the history of the sport ever doped. He figured all this out on his own.

    Freakin’ Euro-wanker tool.

  • Eyecycle

    Tygart states LA is not a scapegoat because other cyclists have received lifetime bans as well. Please name one.

  • cahern1968

    He is getting lots of help with the “victim” portrayal from Pat McQuaid and many others. It is most important that people don’t fall for it. But I am very curious why his new defenders are doing it? What do they stand to gain from it? Does Lance have “Dirt” on them? I am curious as to their motives, these people don’t do something unless they stand to gain from it.

  • cahern1968

    I like the closing words “potentially raising thousands of pounds for charity.” A bit like Harry Enfield’s characters “Smashy and Nicey” does lots of work for charity, but doesn’t like to talk about it!

  • Del_Varner

    Although most of his money came from endorsements. Much of the winnings for a race like the Tour de France is divided among the team members.

  • dourscot

    Complacent apologism.

  • dourscot

    Jesus wept, will this bunch of crooks ever stop moaning.

  • Of course he was singled out, and of course it was a witch hunt. Everyone was doping. Everyone. It was an even track.

  • disqust101

    Too harsh? For the biggest cheat in the sport’s dubious history? And he wants to compete for “charity”? Why doesn’t Lance skip the charade and donate his estimated $125MM fortune to charity and stay at home with his kids?

    The scumbag should be penniless and behind bars already.

  • disqust101

    Well, let’s just hope Landis nails Lance for every penny of his $125MM of ill-gotten gains and LA ends up spending 10 years in the pokey for his crimes

  • cahern1968

    But he still has all the money he earned by doping. Until there is a financial element to doping cases it will continue as the rewards outweigh the risks. Make dopers return winnings, bonuses and other income during the time they doped.

    All that matters to Lance is the money, he got a lifetime ban and didn’t appeal it most likely because he got to keep the money. But now he is fighting the whistle blower law suit tooth and nail, because he stands to loose all his money if the prosecution is successful.

  • cahern1968

    Lance Armstrong was the architect of his own downfall. But now we have Lance with the aid of Pat McQuaid and others trying to portray Lance Armstrong as the victim in this whole affair. I hope people don’t fall for it.

  • ladyxx

    Witch hunt.

  • Del_Varner

    Lance the Doper’s lifetime ban was one of the best things to happen to the sport and sports in general. Unless you have a special division for all of the dopers like in body building, dopers need to be run out of sports.