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Will Lance Armstrong survive the latest doping charges?

June 14, 2012

Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss the latest doping charges against Lance Armstrong. Check back throughout the day for their responses and give us your thoughts in the comments section.

Lance Pugmire, Los Angeles Times

The same people who believed Armstrong committed federal crimes in an alleged years-long “doping conspiracy” are now going to take the findings that emerged in that case and seek to strip the cyclist of his seven Tour de France titles.

Armstrong is in a race he is likely to lose.

Although the cyclist has a public point when he describes this case as a “vendetta,” that will resonate far less with the stoic arbitrators expected to hear this case, with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency claiming it has more than 10 cyclists and other individuals prepared to claim they witnessed Armstrong engaging in performance-enhancing drug use during his reign.

The detail of test results and methods might have been lost on a grand jury, but the arbitrators have heard this stuff before.

As they weigh the volume of USADA evidence and witnesses, expect the ruling to be this: Hope you enjoyed the champagne on the Champs-Elysees ride, but please return those titles.

Kayla Montoro, Allentown Morning Call

If he survived it once, he’ll survive it again.

First, these allegations date back more than 16 years. Second,  he’s never failed a drug test in the past. Third, why didn’t the U.S. Justice Department pursue this after their own two-year investigation?

The USADA is a non-governmental agency, posing no criminal charges and only the threat of stripping his seven Tour de France titles and preventing him to compete ever again. I don’t think these charges will hold against him because they are the same witnesses and charges U.S. federal prosecutors have looked into and dropped in the beginning of this year.

Armstrong is obviously someone who fights for what he believes in. He fought testicular cancer and won and successfully returned to cycling just two years later. He also fought for his seven Tour de France titles and for cancer research and support through the Lance Armstrong Foundation he founded.

There is no doubt Armstrong will also continue to fight these allegations, maintain his innocence and survive it all again.

Dave Fairbank, Newport News

If by “survive,” we mean, will Armstrong remain the inspirational and financial cancer crusader, then yes, he survives. That doesn’t go away with a couple of allegedly skeevy blood samples, particularly taken years after his Tour de France yellow-jersey run. If we mean, will he remain the seven-time Tour winner and his competitive reputation unsullied, then probably not. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency isn’t in the business of losing cases. Two points: Fairly or unfairly, Armstrong gets tarred by his sport, in which every third cyclist was a pedaling science experiment; his defense that he’s never failed a jillion drug tests sounds like, I haven’t been caught. Most folks have made up their minds, one way or the other. Another trial isn’t likely to move the needle.

Philip Hersh, Chicago Tribune

Lance Armstrong finally seems to have been cornered in a way that will force him and his legions of expensive lawyers to answer with more than denial statements.  If he chooses not to respond to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s notice of a formal doping case against him, it would be tantamount to an admission of guilt.   That probably would cost him his seven Tour de France titles (and some sponsors) and could bring legal action against him by the U.S. government.  If he does fight and loses, the fallout will be the same.  Even if his lawyers don’t succeed in beating USADA, those who find him a hero for battling against cancer probably will continue to do so.  Even if he isn’t convicted, those certain he doped won’t have a change of convictions, so to speak.

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