Oh, shit that’s not good
by Lorenzo Piccoli
Last night I read the 202-page USADA’s report on Lance Armstrong’s drug use. I collected the most impressive excerpts.
In 1998 Jonny Weltz was the team director and Pedro Celaya the principal team doctor for the U.S. Postal Service Cycling Team. Riders on the team were using performance enhancing substances including EPO, testosterone, human growth hormone and cortisone as confirmed by team employee Emma O’Reilly, and riders Frankie Andreu, Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie and Jonathan Vaughters. The staff was clearly part of the doping operation. Frequently these drugs were administered by Dr. Celaya. Jonathan Vaughters recalls that Dr. Celaya would openly pass out EPO to team members. Emma O’Reilly recalls being asked to transport testosterone by a fellow team employee. Armstrong also required O’Reilly to dispose of used syringes following the Tour of the Netherlands. One of the most memorable events that year was the Festina Doping Scandal at the Tour de France. The Festina incident set the typically calm and affable Dr. Celaya on edge, and on the day of the second time trial, in a panic over a possible police raid, Dr. Celaya flushed tens of thousands of dollars of performance enhancing drugs down the toilet of the team’s camper during the race.
pp. 16 – 17
One evening while Vaugthers was in Armstrong’s room borrowing Armstrong’s laptop Armstrong injected himself in front of Vaughters with a syringe used for EPO injections, saying “[n]ow that you are doing EPO too, you can’t go write a book about it.” From that point forward Armstrong was open with Vaughters about Armstrong’s use of EPO.
pp. 17 – 18
The 1999 Tour de France was conducted from July 3-25. Hoping to put behind the Festina doping scandal of 1998, Tour organizers had dubbed the 1999 version, the “Tour of Renewal.” Before the Tour there was to be a public weigh in attended by the media. Frankie Andreu noticed bruising on Armstrong’s upper arm caused by a syringe. He pointed it out to Lance who exclaimed, “Oh, shit that’s not good.” Emma O’Reilly was able to procure some makeup that was used to cover up the bruise, and Armstrong participated in the weigh in with no one else noticing the bruising.
John Bruyneel came to Tyler Hamilton following the 2000 Dauphiné Libéré won by Hamilton. Bruyneel explained the need for a new doping strategy. He said that five hundred cc’s of blood would be withdrawn from each of the riders to be reinfused the following month during the Tour de France.The blood extraction was to be performed in Valencia, Spain, the hometown of Dr. del Moral and Pepe Marti. As a consequence, shortly after the Dauphiné, Armstrong, Hamilton and Livingston boarded a private jet in Nice to fly to Valencia. Upon arriving in Valencia the riders were driven to a hotel where the blood extraction would be performed. Bruyneel, Michele Ferrari, Dr. del Moral and Pepe Marti were all present for the extraction process, while Ferrari and del Moral supervised the extraction process. The riders were told that Marti and del Moral would be responsible for reinfusing the blood during the Tour.
pp. 38 – 39
The 2001 Tour du Suisse (Tour of Switzerland) was conducted from June 19 – 28, 2001 and was won by Lance Armstrong. Armstrong told both Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis that he had tested positive for EPO at the 2001 Tour of Switzerland and stated or implied that he had been able to make the EPO test result go away.Armstrong’s conversation with Hamilton was in 2001, and he told Hamilton “his people had been in touch with UCI, they were going to have a meeting and everything was going to be ok.”Armstrong’s conversation with Landis was in 2002, and Landis recalled Armstrong saying that, “he and Mr. Bruyneel flew to the UCI headquarters and made a financial agreement to keep the positive test hidden. Consistent with the testimony of both Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Landis, Pat McQuaid, the current president of UCI, has acknowledged that during 2002, Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel visited the UCI headquarters in Aigle in May 2002 and offered at least $100,000 to help the development of cycling.
Zabriskie had recently shown success in the early season Four Days of Dunkirk, a four day stage race in which he had finished in a surprising fifth place.The result, accomplished from May 7-11, placed him in front of some well known racers at the time, men like Richard Virenque, Nicolas Jalabert and Laurent Brochard. Zabriskie had been warmly congratulated by the assistant team director and perhaps sensed that Bruyneel might have important plans for him.Bruyneel was respected by Zabriskie whose father had died a few years before, his life shortened by drug addiction.Zabriskie had sought refuge in cycling.Long hard training rides were cathartic and provided an escape from the difficult home life associated with a parent with an addiction.He had vowed never to give in to the temptation to use, never to end up like his father, furtively using drugs to feed his dependency and eroding his physical health.The group met at or near a café, and the conversation proceeded in English. Bruyneel got right to the point.He and del Moral had brought two injectable products for Zabriskie and Barry, something known as “recovery” and the banned oxygen booster, erythropoietin (known as “EPO”).Zabriskie was shocked. This was the beginning of David’s third year on the team and he had not realized he would be required to dope.He realized, of course, that some cyclists in the peloton and likely some teammates fueled their success with banned substances.However, until now he had been largely shielded from the reality of drug use on the U.S. Postal Service Team. Zabriskie began to ask questions.He was fearful of the health implications of using EPO, and he had a slew of questions: would he be able to have children? would it cause any physical changes? Would he grow larger ears?The questions continued. Bruyneel responded, “everyone is doing it.” Bruyneel assured that if EPO was dangerous no professional cyclists would be having kids. David was cornered.He had embraced cycling to escape a life seared by drugs and now he felt that he could not say no and stay in his mentor’s good graces.He looked to Barry for support but he did not find it. Barry’s mind was made up.Barry had decided to use EPO, and he reinforced Bruyneel’s opinions that EPO use was required for success in the peloton. The group retired to Barry’s apartment where both David and Barry were injected with EPO by Dr. del Moral.Thus began a new stage in David Zabriskie’s cycling career – the doping stage. Cycling was no longer David’s refuge from drugs. When he went back to his room that night he cried.
pp. 112 – 114
As set forth in the affidavit of Tyler Hamilton, after Mr. Hamilton had testified about Mr. Armstrong’s doping and after Mr. Hamilton’s cooperation with federal law enforcement officials had been publicly reported, on June 11, 2011, Mr. Hamilton was physically accosted by Mr. Armstrong in an Aspen, Colorado restaurant.Mr. Hamilton has testified that in connection with this altercation Mr. Armstrong said, “When you’re on the witness stand, we are going to fucking tear you apart. You are going to look like a fucking idiot.”Hamilton further testified that Armstrong said, “I’m going to make your life a living . . . fucking . . . hell.”Mr. Armstrong’s statements and actions plainly constitute an act of attempted witness intimidation.