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May 23, 2011

Lance Armstrong: Whom do you believe?

lance armstrong tyler hamilton

The latest accusations against Lance Armstrong threaten to build a high wall between the cycling champion and his adoring public. I came to admire him, too, because of his amazing run of seven Tour de France championships and his dedication to the battle against cancer. Though my job as an editor exposes me to a stream of public figures who have fallen from grace, seeing Armstrong's legend crumble would be particularly sad.

He chronicled his return from cancer treatments in the inspiring book, "It's Not about the Bike," and followed that with a number of books about biking, fitness and life.

Many top cyclists -- including Armstrong's latest accuser Tyler Hamilton (shown here, in foreground, with Armstrong in 2004 ) -- have been punished for blood-doping and other banned substances. It's a tawdy outgrowth of the grueling, multi-week Tour -- and always leaves me wondering about the leaders. In a 60 Minutes interview, Hamilton said that he saw former teammate Armstrong use performance-enhancing substances. Others have made the same claims, but Armstrong maintains his innocence, noting that he has never been discplined for failing a drug test.

Posted by Dave Rosenthal at 1:35 PM | | Comments (4)


While I have no bias either way with regard to Armstrong, I thought that Hamilton did not come off as even moderately credible in the interview. He exhibited all the hesitation and mannerisms of someone who is lying through his teeth. Doesn't mean Armstrong never took the drugs but, based on his demeanor, I seriously doubt that Hamilton ever saw him do it.

City Redux, you obviously aren't familiar with Tyler Hamilton. That's just the way he is; extremely shy, reluctant, and kind of odd. And that's not unusual for professional cyclists. Armstrong's personality is not the norm.

I believe Hamilton 100%. His info was incredibly detailed. If he's lying, he opens himself up to prosecution by the Feds. He never even mentioned his upcoming book which Armstrong's lawyers pretended was the reason he was giving the interview.

The vast majority of people commenting on this are not at all familiar with pro cycling, its doping history, or what the competitors will do to survive and win in a brutal sport. It's nuts.

Hamilton was very credible giving details about the doping on USPS. Code names for the drugs, failed doping test for LA in the 2001 Tour de Suisse, bags of drugs, etc. Verbruggen, Armstrong and Bruyneel are all dirty. Lance has done nothing but use political smear tactics against anyone who betrays him. Lame Lance, very lame. No wonder why George Hincapie doesn't want to be interviewed because he would say the same things that Hamilton said.

Is it time to ban cycling? I ask that sadly, as someone who appreciated Lance Armstrong's "It's Not About the Bike." The authorities don't seem willing or able to control the doping and doubt is thereby cast on everyone involved.

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About the blogger
Dave Rosenthal came to The Baltimore Sun as a business reporter in 1987 and now is the Maryland Editor. He reads a wide range of books (but never as many as he'd like), usually alternating between non-fiction and fiction. Some all-time favorites: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole; Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupery; and anything by Calvin Trillin or John McPhee. He belongs to a book club with a Jewish theme.
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