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Lance Armstrong’s Former Teammate: “I Know He’s Had A Positive Test,” But “People Took Care Of It”
Well, the 60 Minutes story on Lance Armstrong is out, and if Armstrong’s former teammate Tyler Hamilton is telling the truth, it’s damning. There’s a whole lot packed into the more than half-hour the show devoted to the topic – which included Hamilton describing seeing Armstrong use performance-enhancing drugs, talking about Armstrong helping him obtain PEDs, and maybe most importantly, disputing Armstrong’s contention that he’s never failed a drug test – so let’s run through it.
Anchor Scott Pelley said Hamilton “sat down with us reluctantly,” and indeed, Hamilton didn’t appear especially comfortable throughout most of the segment, and also appeared to make an effort not to make Armstrong sound like a monster. He said Armstrong “took what we all took.” He said he saw Armstrong inject himself with banned substances, but that was no different from what “I did many, many times.” And indeed, it was ingrained in cycling’s culture, to the point where some team doctors actually supervised the doping process.
Additionally, when Hamilton describes Armstrong helping him obtain banned substances for himself, he again framed it in a way that practically made Armstrong sound noble: “I asked for this…he helped out a friend.” But the most interesting part (to us, anyway) was when Hamilton described a supposed positive test Armstrong, who’s steadfastly said he’s never failed a drug test, once had. How exactly did Armstrong get away with that one? “People took care of it…I don’t know all the exact details.” That doesn’t sound so good. (post continued below the video.)
Nor does this: 60 Minutes obtained a document revealing Armstrong took a “suspicious” test “consistent with EPO use” – and not long after, Armstrong and his cycling team manager met with the director of the lab where the test took place – an unusual step. And around that time, Armstrong made a $25,000 donation to the International Cycling union (which arranged the meeting). The union “strongly denies” Armstrong’s donation was part and parcel of any misdeed, but like a whole lot of other things raised in the report, it doesn’t look too good.
Maybe Hamilton has an ax to grind. Maybe he’s a completely untrustworthy liar, as Armstrong wants you to believe. But the sport of cycling is filled with so much cheating, and there’s so much smoke surrounding Armstrong at this point, that it’s hard not to think something is up there. And yes, if something is up, it would be sad for many people that Armstrong’s inspirational story had an undercurrent of deceit running through it. But man, if there’s any sport that’s prepared us for just about any story to contain an element of cheating, it’s cycling.
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