Reasoning on the Reasoned Decision

10.11.2012 | 10:59 am

By all rights, today I should be writing about stage 2 of the Breck Epic. And I was really excited to write about it, too. Because it was immediately after stage 2 that The Hammer took this picture of me:

P8130031 - Version 2.jpg

And I was not hamming it up for this photo, either. That look — the “I have been through hell” look — is absolutely genuine.

But I’m not going to get to talk about it ’til Monday (because tomorrow is Free Verse Friday), nor am I going to get to post the even better equivalent picture I have of The Hammer ’til then. Which is unfortunate for you, because I’m looking at it right now for the millionth time and it is still cracking me up.

And now that I think about it, I might not get to it ’til Tuesday, because Monday I’ll want to talk about Ed Perrey’s awesome new Ibis Mojo and the weekend we will have had mountain biking my local trails.

Instead, today I’m going to subject you to my in-progress reasoning on USADA’s Reasoned Decision on Lance Armstrong.

I apologize in advance.

You Should Know Me By Now

I’ve been writing this blog longer than some of you have been alive (assuming some of you are younger than eight years old). Which means that — thanks to the twin miracles of a big ol’ archive and a search box in the top-right corner of my blog — if you take the time to look, you can see that this is not the first time I have been witness to the drama of a top American cyclist being implicated in a doping scandal.


You might find it instructive to go back and read what I said about Tyler 1.0. Or Floyd 1.0. (For what it’s worth, I believe Tyler is currently in version 3.0, while Floyd is still having a rough time getting 2.0 into beta).

Just in case you couldn’t be bothered — and I wouldn’t blame you, though my feelings might be a little bit hurt — to read those two posts (and, for bonus credit, the posts that came before), there’s something similar about them.

I presume innocence until proven guilty.

This isn’t just me parroting the US justice system. This is a personal philosophy, and I work hard to apply it in every aspect of my life. I even extend it, and presume good intentions until bad intentions are proven (not just suspected).

It’s a philosophy that works for me. I like it, and I’m keeping it.

The thing is, if you know me at all (i.e., read my blog, as opposed to just parachuting in to chide me from time to time for hiding my head in the sand), you had to know that I would apply this philosophy to Lance Armstrong as well.

Reports from single-source “reporters” who clearly have an axe to grind? Pfff. Allegations? Well, they’re called “allegations” for a reason.

But when Armstrong didn’t contest those allegations, thereby hastening judgment and — now — the reasoning behind that judgment, that’s a finish line that’s been crossed.

To me, the (uncontested, nor seriously disputed) evidence is compelling. In the absence of any compelling counterargument, the threshold of proof has been crossed, and I can’t presume innocence.

I hate writing “Lance doped,” but to continue presuming innocence now flies in the face of my personal philosophy every bit as much as presuming guilt prematurely does.

So. What does this mean to me?

The Penalties

I’ll start with the easy one first. Based on what I’ve read, it’s impossible to reassign who won what, or which records were set during a big swath of time for pro cycling. Should Lance keep his seven yellow jerseys?

I dunno.

Should George Hincapie be allowed to claim he has raced in more Tours than anyone else?

I dunno (although USADA seems to have decided he should, since it backdated suspensions to begin after his retirement).

Should anyone get to claim anything from that period, seeing as how it’s vastly improbable that everyone who was doping during that period has confessed?

I dunno.

But I’m being facetious when I say, “I dunno;” I really mean, “It doesn’t matter.” Because no matter what is done officially, some people will regard that change (or lack thereof) as illegitimate.

And frankly, I don’t care very much about this part. It’s too messy to argue. It’s impossible to resolve.

But how about the suspensions and bans (not just for Armstrong, but for the numerous people named as witnesses)? Are they too harsh? Too weak? That’s hard to say, because it requires you to assess what is a fair punishment for varying amounts of cheating. No matter the conclusion, it never sits right.


The part of Lance’s life that I really care about, however, remains unaffected by USADA’s reasoned decision: LiveStrong.

Lance — supported by an incredible cast of talented and hard-working people — created a foundation that does an immense amount of good. I’ve experienced that good firsthand. So did Susan. So have my twins. So have a large number of people I’ve referred to LiveStrong, to get the support and help they need.

Lance cares more deeply about the fight against cancer than people know. Lance has worked — and continues to work — incredibly hard at making LiveStrong fulfill its mission. It’s what drives him.

And he’s gone out of his way to help me in my efforts to support LiveStrong. He’s been a friend to me and my family in hard times, and I value that friendship.

I expect that LiveStrong will be hit hard by this decision, but that doesn’t even remotely affect my intention to continue supporting it. The fact is, the closer-up I see LiveStrong, the better it looks.

Do Something Good, Redux

Of course, I don’t expect everyone to agree with me on that, and honestly I’m not particularly interested in battling it out with anyone.

So how about this:

If you can’t / don’t / won’t support LiveStrong, how about supporting Young Survival Coalition?

Yep, you don’t get off the “help the fight against cancer” hook so easily as that. In fact, today is the last day in a contest where you can win a Giant TCR Advanced SL, set up with a Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 group. Or a GoPro camera. Or Dura-Ace pedals. Or other things. So click here for details, and then click here to donate.

Whether you align yourself with LiveStrong, YSC, World Bicycle Relief, or anything else (or everything else) is up to you.

What I really care about is that you do something good.

That will never change.


  1. Comment by Paul Guyot | 10.11.2012 | 11:18 am

    Once again, you’ve done it better than any so-called journalists at ESPN, Bicycling, VeloNews, or anywhere else.

    I stand with you, LiveStrong, and the fight against cancer, now and always.

  2. Comment by AKChick55 | 10.11.2012 | 11:21 am

    Yesterday was a bad day. Today is a little better thanks to your post. Thank you for taking time to address it. I’m sick at heart over Levi, Tom, Dave, and George’s confessions. I wish they had come clean sooner and without federal authorities being involved, but at least this ugliness is out on the table for all to see. I still admire these guys. I’ve done some really stupid things in my life, things that I’m super ashamed about, so far be it from me to condemn them to the depths of Hell. The biggest thing you can do is forgive. So I forgive them and hope that they can build upon this mess and become reformed role models for the industry and for future cyclists. Not that they need my forgiveness. It’s more for me. They are going to have to work to regain the trust of many. I have met Levi, but don’t know him personally. I truly feel that each of these men have great hearts as evidenced in your blog.

    Selfishly, I’m most worried about LiveSTRONG. This does not stop my support of it or my fundraising. Cancer has reared it’s ugly head in my family this year with one of my uncles and my dad. LiveSTRONG is much needed. I’ve been to the headquarters and met the staff. I know people who have benefited from the many services. An organization that does so much good deserves a chance.

    I follow Jens Voight on Twitter and am curious to see what he has to say as he mentioned he’d write about this in his cycling post. That will be interesting.

    I don’t know what this will mean for cycling. My hope is that it will indeed bring about change in the industry. I hope all the young riders, US or European, have the courage to say no, I’m not going to race that way. Heck, any athlete in any sport out there should have the courage to say no and to race on their own merits, not by doping. The lure of money is a powerful and ugly thing. I guess all we can do is wait and see what happens.

    Thanks, Fatty. Thank you for being there and putting into words what I can’t. I really appreciate it.

  3. Comment by zeeeter | 10.11.2012 | 11:23 am

    Lance’s inspiration to participate in the fight against cancer is not tarnished in any way by other events in my opinion. I’m struggling more to reconcile the approach taken by USADA, roping in former (I assume they are now former) friends and teammates, folks that I respect like and follow, to “prove” the guilt of Lance. Regardless, I will still totally support LiveStrong and what they stand for. I also respect Johan’s involvement with WBR who are also on my future donation list (by the way, when are we doing something about that Fatty?) and I just gave again to YSC.

  4. Comment by MukRider | 10.11.2012 | 11:28 am

    A lot (too much) has already been said strongly in support of, or strongly against Lance. I think the thing that has been proven beyound doubt is that the entire sport was seriously damaged by the doping scandal during that particular time period. I for one, will continue to support Livestrong and can’t wait for the cycling news to get back to current events.

  5. Comment by Bob | 10.11.2012 | 11:29 am

    Well said, Fatty! I’m still struggling with this. But I’ll make my way through it and come out fundraising for the LAF or someother organization.

    The most important thing though is to DO GOOD. Thanks.

  6. Comment by Elizabeth | 10.11.2012 | 11:29 am

    Ditto to what Paul said.

    I hate this whole doping thing, but I hate cancer worse.

  7. Comment by SENichols | 10.11.2012 | 11:31 am

    I will always support lance and also the other causes you support because it it the right thing to do.

    As far as Lance and the USADA, there are a few things we need to keep in mind. One, he had to dope, the competition did, they just weren’t as good at it. As with all aspects of cycling, Lance wanted to be the best. Best bike, best training, best eating regime and naturally best doping. If you take away his Jerseys, who do you give it to? You can’t retractively test all the guys who now get placings.

    What bothers me most is this is the way the evidence was gathered and presented. Virtually all of what we see was testimony from active or recently active riders who were given substantial accomodations in return for their testimony. Hence, it is by definition tainted. The other really bad thing is we see ONLY what the USADA wants us to see. We have no idea what testimony they are NOT using. We know they have to have talked with virtually everyone Lance rode with in the last 25 years. It is certainly a number far higher than 25. What did all the other people say. Selective testimony is dishonest and misleading.

    The last point is this. Why do we have drug testing and statutes of limitations if anecdotal(i.e. non factual) testimony is now valued more and used to try and convict Lance. Not a great idea.

    Did he dope. Yes. Has USADA met even the thinest burden of legal proof that would be required in a court of law.

  8. Comment by JRay | 10.11.2012 | 11:32 am

    “Do something good”… best way sum this situation up. Thanks for caring Fatty.
    Never, Never, Never Give Up.
    P.S. The Pic is, Err,umm awesome?… Yech.. :)

  9. Comment by Andy | 10.11.2012 | 11:44 am

    Great post Fatty (as usual).

    Yesterday doesn’t change my views on cycling through that period, neither should it change the history based one what I have read. Doping was pretty endemic from what has been published but at the end of the day what I think doesn’t matter.

    I am pretty annoyed at sporting governing bodies who seem to be neither consistent nor fair in their actions not just here or even restricted to just cycling but I am still impressed by what Lance has done with his life, most importantly what he did with Livestrong. Keep supporting!

  10. Comment by monkeywebb | 10.11.2012 | 11:47 am

    Couldn’t agree more. Keep moving.

  11. Comment by roan | 10.11.2012 | 11:50 am

    Oh the agony, not the main part of this posting, not even the agony of waiting till Monday for your story behind the events leading to your pic.
    NO the AGONY is NOT getting a glimpse of the similar pic of The Hammer !

  12. Comment by Erik S | 10.11.2012 | 11:52 am

    Well said. It’ll be interesting to see how LiveStrong is affected: Its possible the publicity will actually increase donations.

    Interestingly, I recently had a conversation with some of my riding buddies saying I wished I’d started riding in my teens because I thought I could be pretty competitive. The response was: you’d have been doped/drugged to the gills. And its true – My younger competitive self would have done anything to win, and given the prevalence at the time, I can’t pretend that I’d not have done it to level the playing field.

    Sad to infer I won’t be seeing you at TdP though, I was looking forward to stalking an award winning cycling celebrity.

    My guess is that donations will spike, but will settle down to lower than pre-report levels. – FC

  13. Comment by KevinM_Ind | 10.11.2012 | 11:59 am

    Nicely said! We have to keep the more important contribution that Lance has made in the forefront and keep a decent perspective on all the other “noise” that will surround him. He has made a larger impact outside of cycling and for that he should be commended. As a cyling fan it is tough to hear about all the other great cyclist who have confirmed what we all have feared but like the “steroid era” in baseball it was part of the culture and as such nothing that came out yesterday was a real surprise. After they “choose” not to ride in the Olympics that to me was confirmation that there was more to the story. Very unfortunate but still will continue to enjoy and follow cycling and the LiveSTRONG fight is much bigger than cycling or PED’s!

  14. Comment by Jill Homer (@AlaskaJill) | 10.11.2012 | 12:00 pm

    Well said. Keep up the great work that you do.

  15. Comment by Flahute | 10.11.2012 | 12:03 pm

    Fatty — I stopped donating money to LiveStrong a long time ago … but I believe in your mantra of doing good things. For this reason, my cancer-related donation dollars have been directed to the Huntsman Cancer Foundation for the past few years, primarily because a) 100% of the money donated goes directly to research to find a cure (rather than trying to raise awareness through marketing), and b) most, if not all, ofmy dollars stay in my community (i.e. Utah).

    Huntsman’s overhead & expenses are covered by their endowment from the Huntsman family, so donations are not used for anything other than research. This is my definition of doing good things.

    I hope that you will encourage your other readers to look at supporting local causes as well as national organizations.

    I love Huntsman’s. it’s on my list of organizations to support in ‘13. – FC

  16. Comment by jacked | 10.11.2012 | 12:04 pm

    You sir are a class act!!

  17. Comment by Dave T | 10.11.2012 | 12:10 pm

    Great post. I will continue to support organization like Livestrong because I believe they do good things. Keep up the good work Fatty.

  18. Comment by Rich | 10.11.2012 | 12:13 pm

    You stay classy, Fatty.

    What a well-reasoned, well-intentioned post.

    May God bless you and your family.

  19. Comment by AZCutter | 10.11.2012 | 12:16 pm

    I can’t forget about the last 2 decades of road racing sorry I can’t.

    I have been quietly just trying to keep my love of this sport from being ripped away from me the last couple of weeks in anticipation of this report…..I will be racing my MTB this weekend in honor of the love my bike & the desire to drink a pint of Amerikahn Micro Brewed Beverage after a hard ride.

    Ride on Fatty

  20. Comment by Chris | 10.11.2012 | 12:23 pm

    Good Job Fatty and I agree with you completely.

  21. Comment by Tony B | 10.11.2012 | 12:26 pm

    Following professional cycling and it’s antics are a sideline. The real riding is happening whenever the regular guy or girl gets out on the road or trail, either solo or in a group and justs enjoys the sport for the sake of its self.

    Personally, I am dissappointed at the continued level of denial, given my original belief in the overcoming of great obstacles.

    Unfortunately, the next individual who will rise above shall be met with a greater skepticism that the last.

  22. Comment by Ed | 10.11.2012 | 12:29 pm

    Well stated, Fatty. Keep up the good fight!

  23. Comment by dug | 10.11.2012 | 12:34 pm

    “One, he had to dope, the competition did, they just weren’t as good at it.”

    this is patently false. on many levels.

    “everybody’s doing it” is no defense at all.

    and who cares who they go back and award the vacated titles to? in fact, leave them blank, always and forever. just a none asterisk, that we never forget.

  24. Comment by johnnyk | 10.11.2012 | 12:50 pm

    Thanks for putting into words what so many of us have been thinking, Fatty.

    As for cylcling’s path forward, how about a two week period of admissions with minimal consequences to clear the air. Then, a lifetime ban for anyone found cheating. In my opinion, this should be the consequence in cycling, football, baseball, golf, horseshoes etc. Remove the possibility of continued reward and force these athletes to decide if its still worth it.

    Keep doing good things so well, Fatty.


  25. Comment by ClydesdalePilot | 10.11.2012 | 12:58 pm

    Agreed. Moving on…

  26. Comment by leroy | 10.11.2012 | 12:59 pm

    This is why I follow this blog. Thoughtful and well written and more important than anything else: heartfelt.

  27. Comment by Clydesteve | 10.11.2012 | 1:07 pm

    2 digits upturned… Thumbs.

  28. Comment by Clydesteve | 10.11.2012 | 1:08 pm

    BTW, that is a great photo – Your eyes look like two holes burned in a blanket!

    Wait ’til you see The Hammer’s photo. I intentionally chose mine because I wanted to save the more dramatic shot for last. – FC

  29. Comment by centurion | 10.11.2012 | 1:13 pm

    “Do something good” should be the offical motto for humanity.

  30. Comment by AKChick55 | 10.11.2012 | 1:18 pm

    Great dialogue happening here! I agree with dug. There is no excuse to dope. Ever. Just cause everyone was doing it doesn’t make it right. I also really like the idea that the jersey wouldn’t be awarded to anyone. Leave it blank with an asterisk.

    I also agree with SENichols wholeheartedly. What else is there? This process bothers me because an agency has so much power. It isn’t a court of law and it’s much easier to convict someone by maniuplating the evidence as in only showing what you want to be seen. However, I feel that what they have is very, very serious and very damning. There is no way around it. And that makes me very sad.

    To Flahute: LiveSTRONG and other nonprofs have a pretty rigorous process they must go through and their accounting is audited. To maintain high status, which they have report this information – a good place to check any charity is LiveSTRONG has earned Guidestar’s seal for transparency. I suspect their marketing budget is a LOT less than say Susan G Komen or the American Cancer Society etc. LiveSTRONG relies on Grassroots and partnerships with Nike (a very smart move). Also, LiveSTRONG isn’t funding research – there are many, many organizations doing that. They are there to support you after that first diagnosis. Until you use their services, you have no clue. I have used them. They are amazing and fast very important when a loved one is newly diagnosed and there are many questions. I don’t disparage your choice not to donate, but I can’t stand it when people don’t research before they post something. I applaud your efforts to support a local charity. I don’t know that Fatty’s job is to encourage us to support local causes; however, I suspect given the nature of his readers, we already do (I know I do and not just one and not just cancer related causes either).

    FWIW, Huntsman was the hospital that took care of Susan when her hip was replaced. They’re amazing and definitely worthy of both local and national support. – FC

  31. Comment by AKChick55 | 10.11.2012 | 1:20 pm

    Oops, sorry for the typos in last post. Sheesh. I need to really reread when I type since I tend to edit. Doh.

  32. Comment by SENichols | 10.11.2012 | 1:22 pm

    Dug, I agree with the latter part. I’d leave them vacant.

    However, you have to remember that sport at that level, is not sport for sports sake. It is entertainment. Given that premise, you do what it takes to give a good show. I would rather they did it clean but the playing field should be somewhat level. i.e. that is they the NFL limits salarys so that big teams can’t dominate.

    I honestly think the number of clean racers from that era is diminishingly tiny. The only reason we don’t know is that they don’t test the domestics very often. Of course, the also don’t go back 15 years to test their 99 tests for EPO either.

  33. Comment by Rich | 10.11.2012 | 1:32 pm

    I agree with the heart of your post. But it’s stuck with me for a while now…

    1 quick(ish)question (or two):

    Don’t you think your friend, Lance, owes his former friends a lot of apologies? Doesn’t the fact that he was a manipulative, bullying, unrepentent, cheating liar to his FRIENDS worry you at all about his character? Shouldn’t the important voices in cycling (you are one btw) demand that he come clean and apologize to those whose carreers were ruined by his actions?

    His work with cancer is awesome, and you wrote a classy response, and no one is below forgiveness…

    But he hasn’t even asked for forgiveness and, even worse, he continues to spew vitriol at those whom he bullied…

    Would you please mention to your friend that he owes a lot of people an apology (Zabriskie’s testimony was heartbreaking)?

    I hope that doesn’t sound snarky. It’s not meant that way.

    Thanks for all the good you do for so many.

    For myself, I feel better when I apologize to others for having wronged them. Sometimes it helps the person I’ve wronged; sometimes it doesn’t. I’m pretty sure, though, that any time someone has gone to me and demanded I apologize to someone else, I have either refused to apologize or have offered an insincere apology. In other words, telling anyone to apologize doesn’t help. If the need to apologize doesn’t come from within, the words “I’m sorry” don’t mean much. – FC

  34. Comment by Rollo | 10.11.2012 | 1:37 pm

    Quite frankly I don’t care about the doping. That’s history! It does not change my perception of Lance Armstrong or LiveStrong because I see him as his work today and not as the cyclist. What have others done with their notoriety? He has done great things positively affecting countless lives.

    I still applaud him.

  35. Comment by Superstantial | 10.11.2012 | 1:38 pm

    This is a better coming-to-terms write-up that most of the other cycling blogs I’ve seen. You’re not attacking the witnesses, you’re not looking for a way out for your friend, and you’re not really even trying to downplay the magnitude of the transgression (which would’ve been the easy way out and is what the “everyone doped” crowd does).

    You’re explaining your thoughts and feelings to us, who’ve been reading you for a while and I, at least, really appreciate that.

    The most important question, however, is what is that on your chin? Is that some sort of minor goatee? Did a muddy caterpillar get kicked up by your front wheel onto you face? Is the caterpillar why you’re clearly saying, a la Kurtz, “the horror, the horror”?

  36. Comment by AKChick55 | 10.11.2012 | 1:41 pm

    Thanks Fatty! I should have remembered about Huntsman!

  37. Comment by bikemike | 10.11.2012 | 1:43 pm

    “Everybody wants to rule the world”.

  38. Comment by @terrysrunning | 10.11.2012 | 1:50 pm

    Well said, Fatty. I am disappointed to have seen the increase in the amount of factors suggesting LA did, in fact, use illegal performance enhancers, until it reached critical mass. But, I think it’s important to keep that in context. He may not be the character role model we hoped he was, but he was a GREAT bike racer, surpassing any of his peer’s performance in what appears to have likely been a level playing field at the highest levels, even if that field was artificially high. His love of the sport and the act of bike racing, and endurance sports in general, has always been obvious. And his fight against his cancer, and the book he wrote about it, have inspired millions. Now he still participates in those sports we all love, and runs a charity that does awesome things for people and against cancer, and does it with an endurance sports/cycling motif. I feel cheated by what he did while he was racing, but lots of people have made serious mistakes without all the attention, and without all of the positive things he’s done to help others. If you spent millions of dollars trying to find skeletons in any of our closets, you probably wouldn’t come up empty often. I will continue to support LiveStrong when I can, and would be happy to line up against him at my local race. All that’s changed is how I look at all those old TDF video clips :-(

  39. Comment by Jenni | 10.11.2012 | 1:56 pm

    We are only a few hundred dollars away from $10,000 for Tour de Pink. Please push us over!
    Come on, we can do it! Post and repost the links!
    BTW, just arrived here, already I can tell this organization is filled with amazing people!

    Awesome. Have a great ride, take lots of video and pictures, and come back with a great story. – FC

  40. Comment by blair | 10.11.2012 | 1:56 pm

    The asterisks, they go back to the dawn of cycling.

    We’re finding out who and when and how and how much, but all it does is create unresolvable questions (“unresolvable” is a good meme, FC).

    If they take away LA’s MJs, to whom do they get mailed? To guys who are simply next on the list to be cashiered of them. The avalanche of retroactive DQ’s leaves us with “winners” who we know wouldn’t even have won if they were doping and nobody else was.

    All the people involved and all the people not involved but cognizant and all the people profiting by turning away, the breadth and depth and length and color of the thing is suffusive.

    So you either throw out everything up to this point, and maybe a few years hence, and start over; or you accept that it’s a change in the way the game is constructed, like derailleurs or aero bars, and go on with the history we have as though it’s possible to assume continuity of output despite discontinuities of input.

    And I want to say something about the ineffectiveness and/or collusion of the keepers of the rules, but all we have now are suggestions, similar to those about the riders before Floyd cracked. So we’ll be discussing UCI and WADA and USADA and their winking and nodding ad nauseam before the history of the unravelling of the sport is over. No need to get too deep into it when it’s still just a stench emanating from between the lines of the allegation they’ve produced. I only fear that there’s nobody angry and self-important enough to dig all of it up, and we’ll be left with a sense of injustice at the hypocrisy.

    BTW, who did doping control at the Gran Donut? That Leipheimer guy, he’s got a history, you know.

  41. Comment by Frank | 10.11.2012 | 2:02 pm

    “Do Something Good” would be grand and the world would indeed be a better place.

    I’d be happy with merely “Do No Harm”.

  42. Comment by JBR | 10.11.2012 | 2:04 pm

    Lance needs to come clean, step down from Livestrong. Livestrong needs to issue statements, rebrand and clean itself for the future. Rich is right, there is no saying “yeah, but . . . he is so nice” until he admits his involvement and the lives that were ruined because of the system he propagated.

  43. Comment by Mateo | 10.11.2012 | 2:06 pm

    Nice post Fatty, thanks.

    As for the doping, we all kinda knew/suspected/wished it wasn’t happening. But, there is a fine line between sport and spectacle, and the Tour crosses back and forth so often its like a big pretzel of wonderfulness…one that i enjoyed full of dopers (nothing more exciting than “the Look”, Pantani in full flight, the teasing of the peloton by Riis in ‘96…etc) and one that i enjoy today with the youth committed to clean riding.

    Vive le Tour, Vive Cycling, Vive Honest Testimony!!

  44. Comment by Steve | 10.11.2012 | 2:08 pm

    I too have crossed that threshold. It makes me sad. Blessings to you and your family.

  45. Comment by JBR | 10.11.2012 | 2:10 pm

    Serious, this is like sitting around justifying our acceptance of some local mafia because they support the local hospital and sit on its board.

    Apology and purge needed!

    Interesting how differently people are interpreting this post. – FC

  46. Comment by SteveB | 10.11.2012 | 2:17 pm

    Lots of good thoughts here… I’m left with this:

    “Do something Good”

    I think I’ll go for a bike ride.

  47. Comment by melicious | 10.11.2012 | 2:18 pm

    Doper or not, the good Lance has done outside of the sport of cycling with the LiveStrong Foundation far surpasses the doping in my eyes. I took part in the Rev3 Half Full this past weekend, benefitting Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults, and Lance raced at that race and spoke at a panel discussion the night before. He helped (financially, mainly, but in other ways, too) to get UCF started and off the ground. The amount of people who benefitted from LiveStrong and UCF is astonishing. Without programs like these, cancer gets the upper hand.

  48. Comment by Terry | 10.11.2012 | 2:27 pm

    I must be a lot more cynical than most, because I have always thought the odds of a clean rider decimating a field chock full of admitted dopers were astronomically tiny. Possible, I’m sure, but so highly improbable.

    I can understand the pressure in the sport to cheat. I can imagine how hard it would be to resist doing what everyone else is doing, to be the best at the sport you love. I can easily believe that Lance wants to destroy cancer as much as he wanted to destroy his competitors, and is truly genuine in his efforts to help cancer victims. The part I have trouble with is this: if Lance really believes his mission is to fight cancer, and if there is any reasonable chance that his use of HGH/testosterone/steroids pre-1998 contributed to the growth or severity of his cancer, then why doesn’t he feel compelled to disclose this? To warn kids to stay away from the stuff, because look what happened to me? I don’t believe there is research that directly links steriods to testicular cancer like the ones that exist for prostate cancer, but isn’t it worth mentioning as a real risk? I think if he is really as committed to serving the cancer community as he says, he would feel obligated to speak to this in some manner.

    Here’s what I tell my kids when they ask about the “cheaters”: even good people make bad decisions. It’s how you make up for (and learn from) those bad decisions that really matter.

  49. Comment by aussie kev | 10.11.2012 | 2:29 pm

    Its a sad sad day for cyling – its big george that upset me most, but i hope it will make cycling a safer place for the juniors i coach. i can only hope !!!

    i donated to livestrong last night, as you say its a fantastic organisation so


  50. Comment by a chris | 10.11.2012 | 2:30 pm

    It’s thanks to you and Susan that I know Livestrong is an organization worth supporting.

    Personally, I’m relieved this thing is out in the open. My picture of what was happening during those Tours hasn’t changed much, and I enjoyed watching them even though I knew I’d never know how many (if any) riders were clean. The degree of dishonesty is galling, but it’s easy to see reasons for it.

  51. Comment by GregC | 10.11.2012 | 2:38 pm

    in spite of all the difficult news about the state of professional cycling, I’m happy to say that my donation to “pink” pushed your number over $10,000. well done team fatty!

  52. Comment by mindtron | 10.11.2012 | 2:47 pm

    “The Lance Armstrong Foundation, the Texas-based charity known as Livestrong, sent a lobbyist to Capitol Hill last week to discuss the funding for the agency that has accused the retired cycling champion of cheating to win the Tour de France, a Congressional staff member said.”

    “In two separate statements last month, the foundation’s president, Doug Ulman, lashed out against USADA.”

  53. Comment by Monty | 10.11.2012 | 2:54 pm

    Im definitely going to support cancer research but not LiveStrong while Lance Armstrong is involved. Lance doped. Yeah, “they all did it” but that still doesn’t make it honest. I don’t care about the reassignment of wins or rewriting the record books. I think everyone now knows he won by fraudulent means.

    What takes me aback is the amount of coersion, threats, and personal attacks on anyone who told the truth. Lance Armstrong went to very great lengths to hide the truth (as as of yet is still doing so). All this, and then he hides behind his “cancer shield”.

    I hate cancer as much as anyone. But the amount of deception involving Lance Armstrong is not something anyone should just dismiss because…”hey he’s a fightin’ cancer now!”

    There are alot of ways you can support cancer research without supporting the organization of a confirmed liar and psychopath. The American Cancer Society and the Susan G Komen foundation are just two of many organizations that do similar work.

  54. Comment by Christina | 10.11.2012 | 2:56 pm

    Your mouth is open again :)

    I agree with some of the others…I was heartbroken to read George’s testimony, but glad to see the team coming forward. It is indicative of a larger problem in the sport at that time. At least it wasn’t cocaine? Sigh.

    And, while I was never an early Lance fan which made me a lukewarm Lance fan at best, I do believe Livestrong does good work.

  55. Comment by JBR | 10.11.2012 | 2:59 pm

    FC, I’d love to know how they’re interpreting it. Sorry, I’ve never read you before but got linked to you and your analysis of the Kimmage/Landis inverview that was over a year ago. It seems as though you’re fond of Livestrong for various noble reason, but to sweep this under the rug as “just doping” I think does cycling (AND LIVESTRONG) a disservice.

    I can’t believe how dismissive the replies here seem to me. Careers and lives have been ruined. The sport DEEPLY tarnished. I’m hoping Armstrong does the right thing.

  56. Comment by Wife#1 | 10.11.2012 | 2:59 pm

    Great post Fatty. I guess I must be really closed minded, because frankly, nothing has changed for me around how I feel about Lance.

    He is still my hero, always will be. And I am talking about as a cyclist, not even because of the transformational work he has done around cancer support.

    Whatever happened does not detract from watching those sublime TDF stages, moments where the hairs were standing up on my arms and I was screaming myself horse.

    I love cycling because of Lance. That has not changed a whit.

  57. Comment by sechildress | 10.11.2012 | 3:23 pm

    Thank you for such a great post, Fatty. I knew the media would be all over the map on this, but I was really wondering how you would come down on the USADA decision. I truly hope that the era of blood doping in pro cycling has come to an end, but I fear the teams and athletes will just find new ways to beat the system. I was a Lance fan before the USADA decision and I’m still a fan today. Am I disappointed? Yes. But Lance’s contribution is so much more that his pro cycling accomplishments. Livestrong, in my opinion, remains as his real accomplishment.

  58. Comment by Pete McPhedran | 10.11.2012 | 3:30 pm

    I like your post Fatty, I don’t 100% agree with you, but that’s what’s great about this forum and our little Internet thingy, I can do that and I don’t have to make you wrong about your position. I respect you and I respect your position. Heck, I respect that you have a position.

    As for what to do with the jerseys, medals, trophies, etc… Here’s my $0.02 CDN:

    1. Leave the standings as they are, the dreaded “*” should be beside all names that are admitted or in the case of Lance, found guilty in absence or whatever it is called. The shame of the act shouldn’t be erased, but it can not, as you said, be determined with any acceptable measure of accuracy who did in fact win honestly.

    2. Indicate that no jersey/winner was recorded for those years

    3. All prize monies awarded should be voluntarily returned to the organization that made the award. It would be good if they then awarded the money to a charity of their choice.

    4. It should be recorded that George Hincapie rode in 17 Tours, it should also be indicated that he had doped for X of them. He still rode them, just not honestly.

    If the UCI wants to regain a fan base, they need to get serious about doping. There needs to be a house clearing at the UCI as well. I read the 200+ pages, there is strong evidence of wrong doing and other improprieties within the UCI.

    As for monies paid to athletes, whether for salaries, bonuses or “sponsorship”, I think the US courts (and maybe others too) will be the final say in that.

    As for LiveStrong, I have donated in the past, I hope they do not crash and burn, it sounds like they have done and will continue to do great things given the opportunity, but my donations will go to other cancer charities in the future.

    I feel for each of these athletes, doctors and other witnesses, many lives have been made miserable, many are going to start getting miserable. I hope they all can pick themselves up and DO GOOD from now on.

    I’m a cycling fan and hope the sport can turn itself around.


  59. Comment by nate | 10.11.2012 | 3:31 pm

    I’ve been a (silent) reader of your blog from some of the earliest days and have always admired your lighthearted approach and consistent focus on open-mindedness and support for good causes. For the most part, I appreciate your response to the USADA reasoned decision — particularly the reminder to those disillusioned with LiveStrong that there are other causes worth supporting in the fight against cancer.

    I also appreciate your openness to considering the implications of the USADA case, given your understandable affinity for LiveStrong and the people involved. But it also made me hopeful that you might offer a bit more reflection than just the assertion that it doesn’t much matter. The issue of the USADA case is not just that Lance doped, or that Bruyneel facilitated, but that the two orchestrated a sophisticated team-wide doping program and intensely pressured previously-clean cyclists into doping, while aggressively bullying those who raised suspicions. Those aspects are far more troubling, to me at least, than whether or not Lance used PEDs.

    You’ve interacted with Lance and Johan extensively; been the direct beneficiary of their generosity on a number of occasions; and had the opportunity to grow the blog in small part due to their support of your contests and donations. I certainly can’t complain about any of these things. But casting them in a uniformly positive light burnished their images and gave ammunition to those who would rubbish Lance skeptics. So given the personal connection, I have to imagine that your feelings on the issue and the implications of the USADA case extend a bit beyond those you expressed in the post — anything you feel worth discussing? Anything we should take away from it?

  60. Comment by Cathy | 10.11.2012 | 3:36 pm

    It doesn’t actually bother me that much that he doped- if you’ve watched any pro bike racing for the past few decades, you’ve watched doped racers, and if you followed it closely, then I think somewhere deep down you knew that to be true. What bothers me are the constant lies. I mean, imagine the number of times he’s lied and continues to lie about this in face-to-face interviews… Can you ignore all that because he’s doing actual good for others via livestrong? Do you tell your kids it’s OK because he’s a strong advocate for the fight against cancer? He can’t be a hero anymore, right?

  61. Comment by Libby | 10.11.2012 | 3:36 pm

    Fatty I love you, I respect you, I appreciate how often you’ve made me laugh. But I just read on twitter that you posted this before you even read all of the details of the USADA report. About the bullying & intimidation he did. Of people you also consider friends, like Levi. That makes me sad. But I still love you. And I think the overall message of this post is great. Can we still be friends?

  62. Comment by MDH | 10.11.2012 | 3:40 pm

    @SENichols “The other really bad thing is we see ONLY what the USADA wants us to see.”

    Not to state the obvious, but that was LA’s decision. I think at this stage it’s pretty fair to say that if he could have refuted USADA’s case in any credible manner, he would have… regardless of outcome. His strategy of just “shutting-up and blaming a flawed system” was merely the least painful of several possible routes.

    In my view, the only recourse for LA now is to behave like the man he professes to be and come clean 100%. LIVESTRONG & his legacy will be better off long-term if he does.

  63. Comment by Kukui | 10.11.2012 | 3:43 pm

    I believe in Lance, and I believe in LiveStrong. They have done good, and continue to do good.

    Lance made cycling cool. I started riding because I wanted to be cool like Lance (and my brother, who is very cool and was cycling at the time).

    I don’t think I could thank you enough, Fatty. Because of your dedication to doing a ton of good and making such a difference in the world vs. cancer, I have been able to support LiveStrong and other amazing organizations in ways that I’ve always said I’m going to but never ever got around to.

    So, thank you, Fatty! YOU are the one making the world a better place!

    p.s. – ugh-I can’t stand not knowing the story behind that photo! That’s going to drive me nuts all weekend!

  64. Comment by James Eastwood | 10.11.2012 | 3:45 pm

    This is why I read your blog… Love you ;-) lol

  65. Comment by Barefoot Rose | 10.11.2012 | 3:47 pm

    As long as Fatty is never convicted of anything worse than having consumed beer brats, a stack of low fat Oreos, the world’s best guacamole, or less than 12 donuts in one race, I’ll follow him.

  66. Comment by Allan | 10.11.2012 | 3:47 pm

    Fatty, I used to read you years ago. Back when you just had funny stories about cycling. Came back to see what you thought about the mess, considering your substantial involvement with LiveStrong.

    I was never a big fan of Lance, and viewed him with suspicion. I’ve always avoided LiveStrong for that reason, given that there are plenty of other good cancer organizations to give to.

    I’m sure LiveStrong does good things, but, as you well know, image is important. LiveStrong has come out publicly against USADA, instead of remaining neutral. Therefore, donations to LiveStrong are supporting an organization that defends Lance and his image, in addition to doing good works.

  67. Comment by Chris from Downunder | 10.11.2012 | 4:31 pm

    Fatty, like you I got to the “It doesn’t matter” point a couple of months ago. I got there via the well who wasn’t on the juice at that time. So USADA and UCI may say take the 7 tour’s off Lance but who are you going to give them to?????

    What will be one of the great disappointments is if the only outcome from this is if the good work that Livestrong does, which I haven’t experience but have always supported and will continue to, suffers because of Whateverhi nameis from the USADA witch hunt of one guy that has no relevance to the current state of cycling. Most people know about the trouble times of cycling during that period, but the UCI have gone a long way to clean that up and everyone, including witch hunting heads of the USADA. Me thinks his only intention is to ensure he has a great tag line for some form of tilt at a Political career in the USA and can say “I’m the guy who brought down Lance” vote for me???

    Just my thoughts

  68. Comment by LidsB2 | 10.11.2012 | 4:45 pm

    I applaud the very civil exchange of ideas on this topic from so many readers. It is encouraging to see this in an increasingly uncivil society.

    That said, I can’t help but compare this to other sports. The NFL tests its players, but I am not aware of the results of any game or championship being retroactively invalidated based on test results. Suspensions, yes, but prior results stand. Why so different here?

    Olympic medalists have been stripped of their titles due to positive drug tests. But that’s amateur sports…undermining the olympic spirit.

    It all seems so inconsistent. But, I’m sure I’m simply ignorant on the entire issue. Instead of trying to figure it out, I’ll just go do something good.

  69. Comment by Meredith S | 10.11.2012 | 4:53 pm

    Fatty, I appreciate your perspective and also agree with it mostly. I don’t agree with USADA’s tactics in general and question their authority, I want to leave the past in the past, and I do believe Livestrong has done a lot of good that will hopefully continue. I just can’t get past what appears to be systematic bullying by Lance, though. Last year at the US Pro Challenge I couldn’t figure out why Lance only showed up once during the race in Aspen when he was effectively the father of the race. This year, he wasn’t seen at all, even in Aspen, and he was home in Aspen during the race week according to his Tweets. We followed the race the whole week around Colorado. If Lance had left a positive legacy with the teams and current cyclists, I feel like he would have been at that event. I know when cyclists are interviewed they are tired about doping, but they almost all seem to shut down at the mention of Lance’s name. It has been a long while since I have heard a professional cyclist say anything positive or interact with him on Twitter like many of the other cyclists seem to do with one another. There are be so many written testimonies of him treating people he has worked with in the past poorly. The sad truth is I’m not sure how many friends he still has in the world of professional cycling. I’ll reuse your statement with the world bully instead of doper: “I hate writing ‘Lance is a bully,’ but to continue presuming innocence now flies in the face of my personal philosophy every bit as much as presuming guilt prematurely does.” Either there are a lot of people exaggerating and lying or the accounts of bullying are true. That makes it hard to continue supporting the man. It makes sad. I wanted to believe. Now I have to figure out what to do with that giant Lance poster in my garage…

  70. Comment by rsmullen | 10.11.2012 | 5:44 pm

    The Olympics haven’t been amateur for 20 or 30 years, but you bring up a great point LidsB2, what about the NFL? MLB? NHL? The NFL tells players when they will be tested and what they they will be tested for. Penalties are incredibly weak. And you will NEVER see a team vacate a win because one of their linemen was caught doping a month later.

    All in all, cycling is doing a lot to clean up. If your feelings are mixed these past two days, just let yourself be inspired by what can be accomplished when people come together to solve a problem. And remind yourself, of all the sports in all the world for the last 30 years, I’ll bet no more than 30 % of the wins have been “clean”. Doesn’t make it right, nor does it mean those that are caught should not be punished. I just mean, check your expectations at the door, and enjoy the show.

  71. Comment by Ian | 10.11.2012 | 5:46 pm

    I was one of those that believed, in the absence of “evidence”. Now I can’t believe any more.

    The saddest thing is, I can no longer take inspiration from his books. This has a profound impact upon me.

    Sadly, for me, this also extends to his charitable work. He’s brought the stain to that too. I understand how this is different for you Fatty as you’ve had a much closer connection.

    I’ll continue to support you, in whatever charity you choose, because you’re a beloved prize winning blogger and cyclist; and with that your choice of charity to support. But for me, I’ll find another Cancer charity to support.

    It’s still not just about the bike.

  72. Comment by Tom | 10.11.2012 | 6:08 pm

    Hey Fatty (most times I say that to someone they want to slap me)–
    Thanks for sharing your feelings. I appreciate your blog and the human-ness you express (and occasional humor).
    My issue with all the stuff settling out now if what has come to light about how LA treated people. The omerta/mafioso like behavior. A man who truly cares deeply about other human beings (other than using them for his own personal gain) does not treat others that way. No excuses.
    There are several cancer focused organizations that, in my opinion, are more deserving of folks hard earned dollars than LiveStrong.
    I would have much more respect for LA if he would come clean and use it as a catapult to clean up cycling (third) and cause no harm to the organization he created to fight cancer (second) and set an example of how to have courage and integrity to his children (first).
    I’ll keep reading. Please keep blogging…and not just for the awards :-).

  73. Comment by Susie H | 10.11.2012 | 6:09 pm

    now–on to Stage 2 of the Breck Epic, because I, for one, can hardly wait to see BOTH pictures! :)

  74. Comment by BA | 10.11.2012 | 6:16 pm

    I know Levi is your mate, but he, Zabriskie and Vandevelde should be getting life bans aswell. How are their actions any worse than Armstongs?

  75. Comment by C Grade Cyclist | 10.11.2012 | 6:17 pm

    Hi Fatty,

    Nice post. Don’t completely agree, but appreciate your reasoning and respect your position.

    I think Livestrong has now reached a position where its almost ‘bigger than Lance’, which is a good thing given recent developments.

    One cannot ignore the incredible things Livestrong has achieved, so to punish it for the deeds of its ‘creator/inspiration’ is probably misguided. But that’s just my opinion…

    The ‘ugly truth’ of many of my cycling heroes is a punch in the guts, and saddens me. But tomorrow, I’ll go for a bike ride and enjoy it, and that’s more important than anything… :)

  76. Comment by Tom S. | 10.11.2012 | 6:20 pm

    Leave the world better than you found it.
    Presume innocence.
    Trust that the better nature of a person will win the day(but be prepared just in case).

    These are rules that if more people lived by I think the world would be just a bit easier to live in!

    I love your posts and will continue to do some good!

  77. Comment by Irnldy | 10.11.2012 | 6:53 pm

    I have read all the testimonies from the witnesses. Before I just thought LA a cheat. Now I see the bullying, the blackmailing, the goon tactics. I can’t separate Lance the rider from the champion for cancer. I just can’t. You said that Susan was treated and treated wonderfully by Huntsman, and I hereby challenge that you ask us to fundraise directly for Susan’s hospital. Furthermore, I am strongly inclined to donate towards the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto for their ground breaking research programs. I believe we all can do good, and we can avoid those we disagree with in the process. I appreciate that you are now providing options for us to donate to other than Livestrong or Johan’s World Bicycle Relief. The truth is, if I could donate to WBR without it going through Johan, I would still actively choose to do so. So please Fatty, continue to bring us wonderful fundraisers and give us options as to where our many can be allocated. I believe I am the first to challenge all to a Huntsman fundraiser – perhaps the next 100 miles to nowhere? I will be the first to sign up.

  78. Comment by Kelly Savelkoul | 10.11.2012 | 6:58 pm

    Amen to that. Brilliantly articulated.

  79. Comment by chad | 10.11.2012 | 7:31 pm

    Alright Fatty, you’ve finally gotten money out of me for cancer. I usually donate all my money to the AHA for heart research, but cancer get some today, just for you.

  80. Comment by roadrash | 10.11.2012 | 8:04 pm

    Amen brother. Always focus on doing something good. Cancer is the common enemy and there are many great people and solid organizations fighting the good fight.

  81. Comment by Doug (Way upstate NY) | 10.11.2012 | 8:06 pm

    I think its just sad all the way around….

  82. Comment by Irnldy | 10.11.2012 | 8:10 pm

    I repeat, there are amazing organizations doing research for cancer. Let’s get behind them and support them. Let’s come out against cancer. I lost my Uncle Ed 4 months ago to pancreatic cancer that took him in 39 days. I lost my Uncle Steve in 41 days in 3 months in 2003. I want to fight cancer. I want to forget Lance Armstrong. Let’s send our money whee it does the best work. Let’s look at alternative therapies working at MD Anderson in Houston, and let’s fundraise the heck for them. Let us regroup, and let us get back to the real fight – cancer.

  83. Comment by Toby | 10.11.2012 | 8:47 pm

    Thanks Fatty

  84. Comment by b2g | 10.11.2012 | 8:47 pm

    As usual spot on Fatty. My take is cancer pisses me off. Let’s cure cancer then I will worry about Lance and yellow jerseys. As a cyclist I followed Lance and even named our dog after him but means nothing compared to cancer.

  85. Comment by Randy | 10.11.2012 | 11:34 pm

    Well said!

  86. Comment by Kiwi | 10.11.2012 | 11:46 pm

    I like what C Grade just said, LIVESTRONG is bigger than Lance.

    It’s a great foundation. Its done great things for people. It will continue to help people, If people choose to support it, great! If people choose not to, please support one of the other wonderful foundations. Fatty, as long as I have been reading you are about supporting the organizations that help. Equal opportunity supporter! Keep it up!

    Fatty, great post. Glad you got it out there, and I’m looking forward to the next ride post, and the pic of the Hammer!

  87. Comment by Yup | 10.11.2012 | 11:50 pm

    Yup, he’s a class act:

  88. Comment by Yup | 10.11.2012 | 11:51 pm

    src=”″ type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” width=”560″ height=”315″ allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true”>

  89. Comment by monkeyboy | 10.11.2012 | 11:59 pm

    interesting that you haven’t mentioned Levi Leipheimer ….a little too close to home?! Did his donuts get impregnated ?!

  90. Comment by Pat in Westminster Co | 10.12.2012 | 2:11 am

    My thoughts are that nobody’s innocent and it was the Culture of racing at the time. Right or wrong, the pro peleton was in a arms race and they used all anything they could to get an advantage over the next guy to get their sponsors in the lime light. So now we know the US peleton was all doped up, right up there with the Germans, Italians, French, Spanish, ect…We now need to get off the soap box of I told you so, turn the page, and cheer on the kids like Taylor and TJ. If your not from the US insert your fave kid from your country.

  91. Comment by englishstu | 10.12.2012 | 4:16 am

    You nailed it Fatty. Personally I don’t care about the doping scandal, it’s what Lance has (and continues to do)for Livestrong that he should be applauded for. The cycling achievements merely gave him the platform to do this as far as I’m concerned.

  92. Comment by neca | 10.12.2012 | 5:15 am

    Fatty, I’ve been reading since back when you wrote a post about why Jan Ullrich would win the Tour based on his hair style (still one of my favorites!). I absolutely agree. It’s impossible to go back in time and honestly, at the end of the day its just a sport. LiveStrong matters more than 100 wins at the TdeF.

  93. Comment by Barton | 10.12.2012 | 6:50 am

    I typed in your blog address, then went to fill up the tea mug as I unthaw from the ride to work. I have a very large computer screen at work. I come around the corner, take a sip of tea, see your (very large, and very frightening) photo at 200% actual size and the tea gets spit across the desk top. Honestly funny as I look back on it (and now that the photo has scrolled past). Thanks for that morning fun (not sarcastic, honestly serious).

    I have been (stupidly) reading a lot of the comment sections on other articles. It’s amazing to me what people say (including some saying LA didn’t have cancer, and came up with that as an excuse to use masking agents. wtf?).

    I appreciate your comments most sincerely. Now that we have the report, I am hoping the sport aspect of cycling can resume (better than before, cleaner than before, more honest than before) and move forward. I think LiveSTRONG will survive, and the work they do will continue.

  94. Comment by ESL JOBS | 10.12.2012 | 6:51 am

    It’s a great foundation. Its done great things for people. It will continue to help people, If people choose to support it, great! If people choose not to, please support one of the other wonderful foundations. Fatty, as long as I have been reading you are about supporting the organizations that help. Equal opportunity supporter! Keep it up!

  95. Comment by Tom | 10.12.2012 | 8:26 am

    Lance doped.

    WHAT?! Where did you hear THAT?! – FC

  96. Comment by Paula | 10.12.2012 | 9:43 am

    Well said. I have always supported Livestrong and other organizations and will continue to do so. My sister in law and sister are now battling cancer, so I am even more inspired than before.

    Thanks for keeping the focus on what matters most. I am riding in a Livestrong event this weekend in South Florida. I am bringing along a friend of mine who I purchased this years Fat Cyclist kit for.. another convert:)

  97. Comment by ChinookPass | 10.12.2012 | 9:45 am

    It seems by that photo that the Zombie apocalypse is upon us. Say it ain’t so, Fatty.

    Carry on. You are a force for good.

  98. Comment by Nancy | 10.12.2012 | 9:47 am

    A friend sent me your blog’s link. I wrote the following bit yesterday after reading comments elsewhere in which Livestrong fans were called naive or other less polite things. So, I’d like to share my sentiments here, and I think that they align with yours. Thanks for speaking up.

    I’m a cancer survivor. I admired Lance’s race results before I got cancer, but after I got cancer, I admired Livestrong for putting a new image of cancer survivor in the public eye. Lance was the uber cancer survivor, sport champion, health advocate, and cancer fighter. It was a good image for me to lean on during cancer treatment. I thought of his TDF wins, his recovery, whenever I looked at my LS bracelet and it helped my morale. I mean, it really really helped. Which is why this all is so personal to me, and others like me.
    It was like having a champion on my side, saying: “Beat cancer. Keep going.”

    - So now does it hurt to find out about how he cheated in the TDF? You bet it does.
    - But does anyone have the right to harshly judge any Livestrong fan or anyone who wears a Livestrong bracelet? No, no they don’t.

    The bracelet is not about Lance, his bike, or his EPO. It’s about the ubiquity of cancer suffering and it’s about hope. Unless I find out that Livestrong doesn’t deserve our trust, I choose to separate Lance’s racing ethics from Livestrong. Everyone has a right to however they feel about Livestrong, but I really hope people can keep some decorum and not judge each other as we get through our disappointments.
    “Always think up, never think down.” (That, friends, is a Lance quote.)

    The USADA report has led to some sad days for sport. But this year, there were many more sad days for the many cancer patients fighting a horrible disease. Keep them in your hearts. And if you find yourself about judge someone wearing a yellow bracelet, stop. We are not aligned with a man; we are aligned with alleviation of suffering from cancer. Go easy on us. Thanks.

  99. Comment by Brian in VA | 10.12.2012 | 10:04 am

    Beautifully said, Fatty. Your turn of phrase hits this one out of the park again.

    Do Something Good. I will, everyday that I can.

    Best to you and your family.

  100. Comment by Cathy | 10.12.2012 | 11:04 am

    I don’t mean this to sound as negative as it does… I’ve donated to Livestrong and I’ve seen the good work they do first hand, but it’s always bothered me that the creation and growth of Livestrong has coincided with image attacks and rumors surrounding Lance. I just wonder what Livestrong would look like if Lance had never doped and never orchestrated the team-wide doping. I mean, there wouldn’t be 7 tours and there wouldn’t be the celebrity so presumably there would be no donors and no organization. So, that’s bad. Do the ends then justify the means? I think if we continue to donate to Livestrong, we have to address that question. I guess it’s also my belief that you simply can’t separate Lance from the organization…

    Though I sometimes do think Fatty is too close to the inner circle, and sometimes serves to give good press to those that need it (sigh, see Tom and Levi most recently), I really value his voice and reason in these matters. It’s got to suck to write about this, but I would be really interesting and probably helpful to get his uncensored thoughts on this matter. Seriously, when there’s news on Lance, I go to Fatty to get a unique perspective. Then again, it’s his blog, he can write about whatever he wants!

    It’s practically impossible to unravel some knots, right? Maybe it would be useful to know how I think about things:

    1. Think of ways I can do good things.
    2. Ask people who are in a position to help, to help.
    3. Don’t judge the people who say “yes, I’ll help.” Instead, say, “Thank you.”

    A lot of people don’t know that the Levi Leipheimer stunt is not an isolated thing. I’ve been doing some gag or another with him on an annual basis for the past three years. We began planning this particular one back last February, and it the entire thing, including timing (day before the fondo) was my idea. Sometimes, things really are coincidences. – FC

  101. Comment by Ricardus | 10.12.2012 | 6:20 pm

    Lance’s not contesting the USADA’s case is beginning to make more sense to me. Maybe he decided he was finally going to come clean, but then Johan told him he was going to fight it. At that point Lance’s coming clean would have throw Johan under the bus, so he simply chose to punt, perhaps until after the Johan case.

    Either way, I have many questions. Do these doping tests work, OR NOT? OK, Lance wasn’t tested as much as he and his legal team claim, but he was tested nonetheless. Are you telling me the science used in the tests was not able to detect Lance and his cronies doping? NOT EVEN ONCE?

    If they do work it certainly suggests people were looking the other way.

    If the tests do NOT work, then that calls into question all court cases where science was used to convict someone.

  102. Comment by GreenG | 10.12.2012 | 8:27 pm


    This weeks news came as no surprise to me. It probably isn’t any surprise to anybody who’s been around the sport for a long time (even a never-was, never-will-be like me).

    What gets me are the people justify their support by citing his cancer fundraising work.

    I get the fact that the LiveStrong foundation does good work (although their non-profit spending ratios are pretty suspect).

    My point is that it’s really not the drug use that bothers me, it’s the systemic intimidation, brutal negative PR campaigns, and destructive personal attacks he engaged in over the years against people like LeMond (ruined his business with Trek), and the Andrues (destroyed their life and livelihood). When we know now they were just telling the truth.

    That’s what disgusts me.

  103. Comment by Carl | 10.12.2012 | 11:01 pm

    Love this post and all the comments. As far as Lance is concerned, we all fall short, so why would we think he would be any different?

  104. Comment by Skippydetour | 10.13.2012 | 5:31 am

    Disappointed to see that my comments are getting the ” Duplicate Comment message when i ONLY PRESS ONCE

    Really disappointed to see the news that Johan Bruyneel finished with Team Radio Shack today !

    Both Lance & Johan knew what they were doing in Cycling , was ” Borderline at best ” , and my thinking is that this is why they worked so hard in the charities that they set going ! Perhaps naive of me to think this way ! People on the edge , do try to give back to their community do they not ?

    LiveSTRONG is deliberately attacked by the naysayers due to the ” Lance Envy ” factor BUT in doing this these people defeat themselves as ” Any Publicity , is Good Publicity “!

    Whether or not Lance remains in the ” LiveSTRONG Spotlight ” during the next months remains to be seen , personally i think that LiveSTRONG will be able to continue regardless . THose people working in the organisation , do good work as they are ably led and well motivated .

    Anyone can Google Info on any subject , but i bet Google does no follow up or hand holding ? This is why LiveSTRONG is so necessary and even if it was 10X larger , there would still be people in need of that help !

    Regarding all those Cycle Racers that stopped doping in 2006 , give it a rest Guys , no one believes that fairy tale ! You were Adults when you stepped across the line ! You are lucky that ALL the bad bags of blood that those shifty Docs were handing out to you did no more than cause you temporary discomfort , you will know many Racers like Jiminez , who woke up dead through sloppy doping practices !

    Emma O’Reilly & Betty Andreu need to be congratulated for their fortitude over the years and i am sure they would enjoy helping Charities with the benefits likely to be going to them .

    Spare some cash for the ” Paul Kimmage Defence Fund ” since he was at the forefront of the battle against ” Doping “!

    Only an ” Amnesty for ALL SPORT ” will bring this sorry mess to an end !

    Fatty , you together with your 100’s & 1000’s of readers can persuade the IOC & WADA to call for this ” AMNESTY in ALL SPORTS “, so that the Youth of today will avoid the pitfalls , those that held up their hands this week , willingly jumped into !

  105. Comment by G. Priddy | 10.13.2012 | 6:46 am

    Fatty, you say you value Lance’s friendship. Now that you’ve publicly stated that “Lance doped” are you sure he still considers you a friend? Remember, George, Floyd, Levi, and Tyler were all “like brothers” to him until they had the guts to stand up to him and tell the truth in public.

    Lance’s world is just beginning to unravel. News Corp is suing to get their defamation settlement money back. LiveStrong will eventually have to disassociate themselves with LA in order to continue to be viable. People like you who have a close relationship with LiveStrong should encourage them to do that.

    I haven’t talked with him in months; it’s not like I was ever in any kind of inner circle with him. But nothing will ever change the kindness he has shown me and my family during our hardest time. It’s not up to me what anyone else thinks (including what Lance may think of me), but I’m not going to discount the massive amount of good that he has done, both for me personally and for the world. – FC

  106. Comment by Angel | 10.13.2012 | 8:41 am

    Good morning!
    Thank you for your posting on this subject, but I have to respectfully disagree. While Livestrong seems to be a positive, helpful charity, I feel like my donation to them sends the wrong message because Lance still benefits from my donation. I feel it reinforces his stance that he does not have to admit any responsibility for the part he has played in the time he was on the cycling teams.
    I agree with many other people who commented that my money for cancer research/awareness will be better served with other organizations.
    Lance is lucky to have a friend like you. Continue to do good and share your love of cycling.

  107. Comment by Lemguy | 10.13.2012 | 10:00 am

    As always, a healthy dose of life perspective from Fatty. Shame that we often need it, glad you’re here to provide it.

    For those bemoaning the USADA for doing this when there is so much more wrong out there; please take some time to read it and how Lance’s behavior affected others. I was particularly heartbroken reading about Dave Zabriskie’s terrible moment of realization that he had arrived at the top level of the sport, only to have to break his promise to himself of never using drugs because of this doping program. Coming from a home ruined by drugs and being faced with that is…I don’t even have words.

    I would never argue that Lance has helped many people who were weak and sick in their fights with cancer. But he also stepped on other people seemingly without a thought as a cyclist. That also reflects who he is as a person. You can’t divorce one from the other, which is why you should never invest too much of your identity in someone else.

  108. Comment by Lance Connolly | 10.13.2012 | 1:48 pm

    Regarding your friendship with Mr Armstrong… “run, don’t walk”.

  109. Comment by Ha | 10.13.2012 | 3:28 pm

    Go Lance…..go far away. I have no doubt he will eventually come clean and admit to doping.

    When he does he will no doubt write a NY Times Best seller and ask us all to feel bad for him as he felt compelled to dope “because everyone else was doing it”

    His continued denying of the obvious is what bothers me the most.

    However, just give it 3-4 years and all will be right with the world once “It was not all about the needle” come out.

  110. Comment by Mark | 10.13.2012 | 6:31 pm


    Well said, sir.

  111. Comment by Saso | 10.14.2012 | 6:42 am

    I respect your life philosophy and your trying to find the best in people. It has worked over the years for you and people around you.

    Still: did you have a thorough look at USADA files? The fact that many on US Postal doped is regrettable but certainly not the worst in my opinion. The whole system, the bullying methods, introducing/coercing young cyclists to doping, the amount of (effectively taxpayers’) funds devoted to this – to me, that is the worst revelation from the case. It tells something about the character of people who were in charge.

    My common sense tells me that such people do not make good fiduciaries, no matter how great the cause behind their charity is.

  112. Comment by Mike Z. | 10.15.2012 | 4:57 am

    Elden, you lost me on this one, but with what you have been thru and all the good you have done, I can understand your position.
    Dave Moulton’s view rings more true to me.

  113. Comment by auchefDave | 10.15.2012 | 6:39 am

    Don’t have a dog in the fight. I told the guys on our group ride Sat. that I was not in the room when the needles went in, period. Were you? If you were then you can say “he doped”. If not then you are just repeating rumors and hearsay. I don’t know if any of those people had anything against anyone, I don’t know any on those people at all, what I see and hear on tv or read in print is not enough for me to make a “judgement”, if it is for you than you are a better person than me.

  114. Comment by ro | 10.15.2012 | 9:40 am

    Hi Fats,

    I find it difficult to be able to separate the man from his organization. I understand Livestrong (LS) does amazing work and I understand it as someone whose close family has been hit by cancer three times. I am sure it does help many, many people.

    Having said this there is a gray moral area here. LS was built on the man’s reputation, I guess his wealth too, and his sporting achievements. (I am pretty sure Mr. DomestiqAll of which, we now know, are a product of his cheating. How do we deal with that?

    Let’s do an excercize here: Say Bernie Madoff, at the height of his wealth, power and fame had used “his” money and convinced his friends to start an organization to help people with maladie X, and this organization had been super successfull. After it all unraveled, after we learn that Madoff is a liar and a thief who ruined people’s lives, should his organization survive, even if it does good?

  115. Comment by Rich | 10.15.2012 | 9:49 am

    A totally unrelated note: I’ve offered occasional agreement and occasionally challenged your perspective in the comments of your blog and I am blown away that you appear to read EVERY SINGLE COMMENT! After all these years you’re still not phoning it in. Not only that, you thoughtfully and respectfully respond to many of the comments. I don’t think I could do that if I was being inundated with contentious opinions. So, simply, thanks for staying classy, and providing a platform for reasoned dialogue.


  116. Comment by ro | 10.15.2012 | 9:55 am

    Hi Fats,

    I find it difficult to be able to separate the man from his organization. I understand Livestrong (LS) does amazing work and I understand it as someone whose close family has been hit by cancer three times. I am sure it does help many, many people.

    Having said this there is a gray moral area here. LS was built on the man’s reputation, I guess his wealth too, and his sporting achievements. All of which, we now know, are a product of his cheating. How do we deal with that? The people who subscribed to the idea of LS and who gave money to it (I have) and who committed to it were doing it because of who Armstrong was, it would be naive to think otherwise. I am pretty sure Mr. Domestique L’obscure would not have been able to build an organization of that size.

    Let’s do an excercize here: Say Bernie Madoff, at the height of his wealth, power and fame had used “his” money and convinced his friends to start an organization to help people with maladie X, and this organization had been super successfull. After it all unraveled, after we learnt that Madoff is a liar and a thief who ruined people’s lives, should his organization survive, even if it does good? Should a good organization built on lies and cheating endure?

    I am not sure, but I tend to think not. I guess it is up to people who support LS to decide. All I know is if I worked there I would be pretty peeved off at my patron right now. And my future donations/time will go elsewhere.

    great blog! cheers!

  117. Comment by miksibis | 10.16.2012 | 6:38 am

    i don’t know if this is healthy or not, but i found i compartmentalize the issue. i watched and cheered for LA’s cycling exploits and was impressed, i was awed by his comeback and dedication to LIVESTRONG and as an inspiration to cancer patients, he acted like a bullying, pretentious douche with a pathological personality disorder requiring him to WIN at everything. by breaking it down to 3 issues i can still watch my old TDF videos and be amazed and loan LA’s books out to friends dealing with a cancer scare.

  118. Comment by Al | 10.16.2012 | 9:36 pm

    For years we have been getting tidbits about Armstrongs vindictive and controlling nature (Simeoni), his questionable associations (Ferrari) and a rumors of failed tests. The USADA file showed that this was just the tip of the iceberg. There is something seriously wrong with this dude and I can’t understand how anyone could support any organization to which he is associated. Does LiveStrong do good work? Sure. But it’s all built on a fraud. As a previous poster stated, if Madoff had a similar organization, would he get a pass? I think not.

    Do I support the fight against cancer? Damn right I do. But I will no longer support livestrong and at the same time, stroke the massive ego that is LA. I will direct my contributions to other organizations that may not have the same profile but still do equally important work.

    Understandable POV. I think it’s awesome that you’re going to work in the fight against cancer, regardless of where you direct your efforts. – FC

  119. Comment by hire java developer | 10.19.2012 | 4:32 am

    As always, a healthy dose of life perspective from Fatty. Shame that we often need it, glad you’re here to provide it.

    For those bemoaning the USADA for doing this when there is so much more wrong out there; please take some time to read it and how Lance’s behavior affected others. I was particularly heartbroken reading about Dave Zabriskie’s terrible moment of realization that he had arrived at the top level of the sport, only to have to break his promise to himself of never using drugs because of this doping program. Coming from a home ruined by drugs and being faced with that is…I don’t even have words.

    I would never argue that Lance has helped many people who were weak and sick in their fights with cancer. But he also stepped on other people seemingly without a thought as a cyclist. That also reflects who he is as a person. You can’t divorce one from the other, which is why you should never invest too much of your identity in someone else.

  120. Comment by ALF | 10.19.2012 | 7:27 pm

    I just returned home from visiting a cycling friend who’s a cancer survivor. When we chatted about USADA’s reasoned decision, he said that his fear was that those who took inspiration from LA’s determination to return to elite cycling would possibly give up hope. Although this may be a jaded view, I always thought of LiveStrong as an ego project for LA and not truly altruistic. My friend gave me a different perspective, but one that I cannot share with him. I can get over LA doping, but his lying and bullying is what is preventing me from ever supporting LS (that and I think LS is better at PR than actually being as effective as other organizations). If Bruyneel’s case continues, Lance *will* topple, deservedly so. Perhaps with a name change, LiveStrong can re-create itself and distance its mission from its founder. But for now, I’ll support The Prouty and the Norris Cotton Cancer Center that was so instrumental in my friend’s recovery.

    Thanks for hosting a reasonable discussion!

  121. Comment by Joe | 10.27.2012 | 10:19 pm

    I am surprised that you finally stated anything about the Lance debacle and the other dopers. I do agree that Livestrong is a great organization that unfortunately be tainted by this last decision regarding Lance’s career. This also speaks volumes of the character of Lance to allow his vanity and lack of morals to affect this great charity. I would have a much better view of him if he would just admit publicly what he’s done and apologize to the fans, all the people in the press and sport which he has threatened or ruined financially. I believed in him and now I feel like an idiot.

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  123. Comment by mjr | 11.22.2012 | 7:20 pm

    Lance is a drug cheat and liar.
    It’s an imperfect world, but is it too much to expect him to man up and admit it?


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