First he was fired, then he appears on a starbucks cup talking about fries and then a short time later, Frankie Andreu decides he has to come clean about EPO use in the 99 tour. A NYT article (PDF here via scott) quotes Frankie Andreu and am unnamed mystery cyclist from the US postal service team saying they both used EPO to make the 99 tour team. They were using to finish the tour to help lance. The implication is that Lance was involved in this. Although both cyclists are quoted as not having seen Lance dope, and as Lance points out in a rebuttal to the article that Frankie Andreu testified, under oath in court, as such:
Q: Did he (Armstrong) indicate to you that he was going to use EPO or consider using EPO?
Q: Was there any discussion between you and Mr. Armstrong regarding EPO or the use of EPO during that time period?
Q: '94, '95 time period?
Q: Did anyone on the team tell you that they knew Mr. Armstrong was using EPO during that time period?
Hmm. What is the point here frankie? His statement in velonews claims that he is doing it for the future of the sport, he also acknowledges that this won't help much. I agree. It is pointless. I think before the development of EPO testing (2003) use was pretty rampant in the pro peloton. I am glad pro cyclists are coming out of the woodwork with admissions, but at this point, no "I doped, but did it alone" admissions are going to help. I think the path foward is people who were part of large scale organized doping by teams or doctors need to come foward (a la Jesus Manzano) to make a dent in the problem. Frankie and his wife, especially his wife if you read the NYT article, seem to have some sort of grudge developing with armstrong. Betsy Andreu testified that she overheard Lance, in his sick bed, admitting to doctors that he used EPO, steroids and growth hormone as performance enhancers. This was roundly denied by all others present, including the doctor. Who knows. The timing of this announcement is odd. the Boulder Report does the usual good level headed analysis of the consequences of the admission and of pissing off Lance. Wild speculation gleaned from the internets says that this is Frankies revenge because LANCE got him fired from Toyota-United as revenge for the testimony. I disagree, if you want wild speculation, here is my take:
I believe starbucks impelled frankie to confess in exchange for his fame on the coffee cup quote and perhaps starbucks has it out for Lance as well, there I said it. Now armstrong AND starbucks are out to get me.
The big question is who is the other mystery cyclist. Assuming it was another retired american, it had to be either Kevin livingston or Jonathan Vaughters. I think odds are on Livingston. Bobke strut and others go into details on the Livingston Probability (good movie name, eh? I just trademarked it and will sell to Matt Damon, Jake Gyllenhall or highest bidder).
Finally circling back through doping news through Mr. Andreu's statement, which read in part:
We need to make some steps to make things better. If DNA sampling and testing is required then that is the way we should move. I understand the invasion of privacy and no other sport requires this, but if you put the truth out on the table then perhaps something good will come from it.
Good point, the problem is that most pro cyclists who have been implicated in the operation puerto scandal have refused to give DNA evidence to the prosecuters on the grounds that it would be an invasion of privacy. If Ivan Basso and Jan Ulrich complied with DNA requests, they could be exonerated if the investigators realize that their blood was not among that seized from Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes' lab. Of course, it could be that they are refusing as it would completely incriminate them and definitively end their careers. Or that they are highly principled individual who do not want to comprimise their right to privacy. It is a complex issue. But aparently not too complex for the German legal system. Apparently, while Jan was on his honeymoon, German authorities raided his home AND snatched samples of his DNA. Well, so much for the sanctity of privacy. Did I mention that his home is in Switzerland? Can the German "authorities" actually raid homes in Switzerland? Did they pick hair out of the drain of his tub? Or seize a dirty spoon? Or worse? The mind boggles.
Meanwhile in Spain, the Vuelta churns on with a spectacularly eventful week including Tom Danielson claiming his first grand tour stage win and the Kazachs attacking like mad. Great stuff, not doping, or at least not yet, but great stuff.
More Doping musings: