Lance Armstrong is in the midst of a contentious investigation with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). There are allegations that he was using performance enhancing drugs during his illustrious cycling career. This puts into jeopardy his 7 cycling titles won at the Tour de France, considered the toughest and most prestigious cycling competition in the world.
Three people associated with Armstrong and his victories have already been meted lifetime bans: Luis Garcia Del Moral, who was a team doctor; Michele Ferrari, a consulting doctor; and Jose “Pepe” Marti a team trainer who worked for Armstrong’s US Postal Service and Discovery Channel cycling teams. All have been found guilty of drug violations by the USADA. All three were part of Armstrong’s retinue for his Tour de France campaigns.
At the very least one can say Armstrong is guilty by association. Armstrong has also been charged but has declared his innocence. Because of these incidents Armstrong has already been tainted and his epic cycling victories are now open to question.
Armstrong also filed a federal lawsuit seeking an injunction to stop the ongoing investigation by USADA. The lawsuit stipulates that the constitutional rights of the champion cyclist was violate. It also challenges the jurisdiction that the agency has over this matter.
The initial lawsuit by Armstrong and his lawyers has been thrown out. Federal judge Sam Sparks has struck down the suit, delivering a judgment which reads: “This court is not inclined to indulge Armstrong’s desire for publicity, self-aggrandizement or vilification of Defendants, by sifting through 80 mostly unnecessary pages in search of the few kernels of factual material relevant to his claims.”
Armstrong in filing this suit was of course trying to stifle further discussion about his alleged doping violations. It obviously was also a ploy by the cyclist to find a stronger public forum to overcome the effect of USADA charges. Towards this action I defer to the judge in this case who is obviously more familiar with U.S. law.
It is however sad to note that for some reason these charges have tainted Lance Armstrong and threatens to destroy an illustrious career that spanned two decades. I have watched with bated breath when the Tour de France titles were being contested. I gritted my teeth as he scaled those daunting hills. Lance is at this point still a champion to me. He has not tested positive in any drug test. As such I will wait until the findings come out. I am hoping he will be vindicated and kill these rumors that persist. It is for the good of cycling.
Hector Quiambao was a cycling correspondent and sports editor for The New Builder, the official school paper of Mapua Institute of Technology from 1983-1984. He covered the Luzon portions of the Marlboro Tour, formerly known as Tour of Luzon, also known as Tour Ng Pilipinas (Tour of the Philippines).