Kimmage: ‘There is no other conclusion other than Floyd Landis told the truth’
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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Kimmage: ‘There is no other conclusion other than Floyd Landis told the truth’

by Shane Stokes at 10:49 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Armstrong critic applauds USADA action, says Tygart has stood up for sport

Floyd LandisAnti-doping journalist and former pro Paul Kimmage has hailed today's news that the US Anti Doping Agency has brought charges against Lance Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel and four others, saying that it was a very important step forward for clean sport.

The Irishman described himself as ‘very happy,’ when contacted by VeloNation on Wednesday evening, applauding the USADA CEO for his persistence in remaining on the case. “This is has been a long time coming and the rap sheet is just so comprehensive that it is a really, really impressive piece of work by Travis Tygart,” he said. “Thank God someone in a position of power and responsibility has had the balls to actually stand up and do the job. For so long the people who could have done this earlier have reneged on their responsibilities. So hats off to Travis Tygart.”

The Washington Post announced on Wednesday that USADA had sent letters to Armstrong, Bruyneel, doctors Michele Ferrari (Italy), Pedro Celaya (Luxembourg, and currently with the RadioShack Nissan team), Luis Garcia del Moral (Spain) and the Spanish trainer Pepe Marti, who previously worked with the team, then moved on to be Alberto Contador’s coach.

That letter laid out charges that they were involved in what the Post termed a ‘massive doping conspiracy’ between 1998 and 2011, and said that there were more then ten cyclists amongst the witnesses.

It also stated that Armstrong’s post-comeback samples in 2009 and 2010, were “fully consistent with blood manipulation including EPO use and/or blood transfusions.”

When Armstrong returned to the sport, he said that he would do so fully clean, and undergo independent testing by the anti-doping researcher Don Catlin to prove that he was not using any banned substances. Apart from answering critics by doing so, he said that it would also show his children that their father raced clean, and that any suggestions otherwise were false.

Several months into the comeback, though, Catlin confirmed that the ant-doping testing had not yet begun. It was abandoned soon afterwards, with both parties stating that it was too difficult to arrange.

Kimmage said that USADA’s claims that rules were being broken in 2009 and 2010 were not surprising to him. “Anybody who could believe that this guy could operate in any other way than to cheat was deluding himself,” he asserted. “I never believed that when he came back that he would be any different to before, and here we have conclusive evidence of that.”

Legal action:

In January of this year Kimmage confirmed that the UCI’s current president Pat McQuaid and its former chief Hein Verbruggen had taken legal action against him, claiming to the Swiss District Court that he has caused them ‘annoyance’ and that their ‘reputation has been seriously damaged’ by articles.

The process is ongoing, but today’s announcement will raise questions about the UCI’s policies in the Armstrong years. For example, if USADA can show that Armstrong was indeed doping in 2009 and 2010, that will raise major questions about why the UCI’s self-praised biological passport system didn’t raise flags.

If earlier doping is proven, it will be a blow to a governing body which had close links to the rider, which was accused by Landis of protecting him, and which vouched for him on more than one occasion.

Kimmage believes the action was taken for very specific reasons. “There are two things about this,” he said. “The action against me was taken to keep me quiet, to shut me up. It wasn’t about money…it was about ‘we don’t like what Paul Kimmage is saying, we don’t like what Floyd Landis is saying.’

“The other thing this indicates is that everything Floyd Landis was saying is true. You read this report and there is no other conclusion than that Floyd Landis told the truth. Is it a coincidence that Floyd Landis and Paul Kimmage are the two people the UCI went after? Maybe not…”

The Irishman points out that there have been several reports of the close links between Armstrong and the UCI.

One matter Kimmage refers to dates back to the 2009 Tour de France, when UCI testers arrived at the hotel to test the Astana team ran at the time by Bruyneel. Rather than testing the riders immediately, as per usual standards, they accepted the team’s request and gave the riders almost an hour before the controls were carried out.

If the riders were indeed doping, this would have given them time to take measures to avoid a positive test.

Controversially, the governing body also accepted donations from Armstrong, but said the money was given for anti-doping funding. McQuaid has since conceded that the acceptance of that money was an error of judgement.

Kimmage is clear on what should have happened long before now. ‘People in responsibility could have stopped this a long time ago had they actually applied the rules. They weren’t applied,” he said. “It has taken Travis Tygart to do his job and to stand up for sport.

“Also, Betsy Andreu has been heroic, she told the truth. Emma O’Reilly told the truth. These are the people who deserve praise tonight; people who stood up for the sport.”

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