The director of USADA cites 1) recent fluid samples as “entirely consistent” with doping and 2) unidentified people willing to testify as his evidence that Lance Armstrong cheated in his bicycling career.
Having been in a position to study multiple hours of court testimony concerning a wide variety of legal situations, I think I can tell a strong case from a weak one. Based on what he is offering, set against the history of charges against Lance Armstrong that have been dismissed, Travis Tygart has a weak case. I don’t say he has no case, but his case is weak.
Mr. Tygart’s strength comes from his position as head of a government agency without accountability. It’s too bad the people who know and run the sport, the UCI, are in some ways subject to the decisions of people like Mr. Tygart, who in his position can set aside his agency’s rules and, like Captain Ahab, embark on a personal quest.
Do I know Lance Armstrong was clean 10-15 years ago? No. Does his decision not to contest the USADA charges affect my perception of the likelihood he was or wasn’t? No.
Armstrong is a strong person, but someone facing an unfair set of rules imposed by an opponent without constraints doesn’t demonstrate strength by entering the contest. When the outcome (i.e., you’re going to lose) is guaranteed by the way the contest is designed and the decision is rendered, the smart move is to withdraw and take the contest somewhere else.
I hope Lance Armstrong can get a fair hearing in a neutral setting. I mean besides the ones where he’s already been acquitted. Trying to win yet another case, one in which the prosecutor gets to decide the rules and also gets to function as the judge who decides the criteria for victory isn’t strength. It’s foolish. And it’s a shame it’s come to this.