Why did Le Monde have to distort the facts in the headline?

28 June 2013 Comments 2

In France today the French newspaper Le Monde published an interview with Lance Armstrong, on the verge of the 100th Tour de France. So what, you may say. The guy gives an interview and you want to write blog about it? Fuller must be bored during his holidays.
What has really stirred the pot is the headline that Le Monde ran. The question was asked of Armstrong if when he was racing he could have won ‘clean’ and the response was ‘no’. The people in charge of writing headlines at Le Monde chose to run the following:
“Lance Armstrong – Le Tour de France? Impossible de gagner sans dopage”
This translates as:
“Lance Armstrong – The Tour de France? Impossible to win without doping”
The key inference here is Armstrong saying it’s not possible TODAY whereas he responded specifically to a question about the past.
For those of you who are interested in the WHOLE unexpurgated interview, including the allegedly offending Q&A, Lance Armstrong sent me the full Q&A transcript and I reproduce it as follows. This will likely even touch on areas not necessarily reported by Le Monde.
You will see that when pushed for his opinion re whether one can win today without doping, Armstrong replied, “I don’t know”.
Cheers
Jaimie

The 100th Tour de France starts on Saturday the 29th of June. Will you follow the race?
I will try to catch the race on TV from time to time. I wouldn’t say that I build my day around it but it works well in that the race airs in the morning here in Colorado. We have a home here where we stay in the summers. It’s too hot in Austin during the summer months. Austin is still our primary residence. Having said that, if I have the opportunity to be outside myself (riding, running, golfing, playing w/ my kids) then I would rather do that.
So, you are still riding? What does your life look like today?
Absolutely still riding even training. Riding the bike was always therapeutic for me. Whether it was training for the tour or today. A good hard ride of 2-4 hours clears the mind like no other. My day? I wake up, drink coffee, read the newspaper (the NYT), eat breakfast, ride/run/train, come back and have lunch w/ my kids, then spend the rest of the day either in meetings, playing golf, or at the park w/ my children. And at around 5pm I crack open an ice cold beer and reflect.
All the previous winners of the Tour -who are still alive- will be invited to celebrate the anniversary. Do you wish to be part of this ceremony?
I’d rather stay home w/ my family.
What does Le Tour represent for you, today?
It’s a great event. It’s tough, it’s long, it’s intense. I still love the Tour and all it stands for.
Do you understand that the Tour oganizers erased your name from the winners list?
Yes and no. Fine to erase my name but the Tours took place from 1999 – 2005 so there has to be a winner. Who is it then?
During your inteview with Oprah Winfrey, you said that you would be the first to collaborate to a Truth and Reconciliation commission. Usada and Wada proposed to UCI to create a T&R commission. But UCI refused. In your opinion, why did UCI refuse this process?
They are refusing because the testimony the world would hear would sink McQuaid, Verbruggen, and the UCI.
Why are you ready to speak to a T&R commission and what would you want to declare?
We have not been given the entire story. The “reasoned decision” was not an accurate depiction of cycling from the late 80’s til today. It worked perfectly to destroy one man’s life but it has not benefitted cycling. What would I say? I would appear, sit, listen, and answer honestly.
How and why does a rider starts using performance enhancing drugs?
Human nature
In your opinion, how can cycling get rid of its doping culture?
In many ways, it never will. I didn’t invent doping (sorry Travis) nor did I end it. I merely participated in it. I am a human being. Doping has existed since the ancient times and will likely always exist. I know this is not a popular answer but it is unfortunately the reality.
Questioned by a French Senatorial commission, Laurent Jalabert declared : « Armstrong was a torturer ». Under oath, he also declared that he never used any doping techniques and that his doctor was nicknamed « Doctor Citroën » in opposition to your doctor, Michele Ferrari
Ahhh Jaja, with all due respect, he’s lying. He should avoid talk of Ferraris and Citroens when he knows damn well that Michele was the ONCE doctor in the mid 90’s.
In 1999, you told Christophe Bassons to get out of the Tour. If you see Christophe today, what would you tell him?
That is not what I told him. I said, “Hey dude, if you are so unhappy then why do you continue?” Unfortunately a lot was lost in translation. I should have shut up and said nothing.
Do you understand the disappointment and the anger of those who believed in your story?
Completely and for this I am deeply sorry. In many ways I will never be able to repair this but I will spend my life trying.
How do you react to the fact that your ex-sponsor, US Postal, joined the complain of Landis and the US department of justice to claim nearly 100 millions dollars to you?
no comment
Are you afraid of going to jail and of going bankrupt?
no
Have you ever been afraid for your health during your career?
only in the sense that cycling is dangerous. Crashes, etc.
Have you ever been afraid of the antidoping controls, and felt the threat of it ending your career?
Antidoping controls? No, never. Our system was pretty basic and risk averse. I had much more fear from the Douanes or the police.
In front of the French Senatorial commission, Pat McQuaid, also said under oath, that UCI never protected you. But in 1999, during your first Tour victory, Le Monde revealed that you were positive with corticostéroïds, and UCI accepted a backdated certificate. Is this correct?
yes
Ten years after, the french antidoping agency published a report that denounced the « preferential treatment » of your team from the UCI during the Tour. In this context, how do you explain that UCI has not been called to account after the Usada report?
I don’t understand the question.
Today, do you have any remorse or regrets?
I was too hard on people. Not in the sense that my old friend Jaja describes me (torturer) but in the sense that I was too much of a “fighter”. Fighting on the bike is perfect. Fighting off it is not. I couldn’t, and didn’t, separate the two.
What do you think about the final decision of the Puerto trial? The judge decided to destroy the blood bags that could have led to the identification of the others clients – from other sports than cycling – of Doctor Fuentes?
I don’t know. I’m sure some big soccer clubs had some influence there. In any case, it’s yet again cycling that has taken the brunt of the blame.
Do you have the sensation that cycling is the scapegoat of the professional sport?
Absolutely
When you were on the top of your glory, when Sport Illustrated made you the sportsman of the year, you were dreaming about a political career, in the state of Texas. What are you dreaming about today?
To be honest, this was just speculation. And I didn’t refute it with a firm answer of “NO!”. I always said, “never say never”. Today all I care about is my friends and family. I have 5 children so that’s enough to govern.
Do you still consider that you are the Tour de France victories record man?
I do
Do you still have the yellow jerseys on the walls of your house? Or did you burn them?
HAHA. No way. I worked hard for those jerseys and I love them and all the memories they represent. I will let other people debate over time who was the true winner of those tours. But so far no-one has stood up and claimed them…..
Before you, other Tour de France winners were involved in doping affairs (Pantani or Ullrich), or have admitted to the use of doping (Riis). But you are the only one whose name has been erased of the history. How do you explain it?
ASO followed the UCI and the UCI followed USADA. Simple. I basically think McQuaid was trying to make a political statement and pretend to be tough on doping. Of course, he got no credit for this.
Are you surprised by the “confession” of Jan Ullrich? Do you expect others “confessions” of others Tour de France winners?
I’m not surprised by their actions as this was SOP (standard operating procedure) at the time. I was surprised to see Jan confess right now. I really like him, care about him, and enjoyed competing against him.
In his report, USADA accuses you of having benefited from « the most perfect, professional and powerful doping system in the history of sport »…
This is complete bullshit. There is plenty of other evidence and history to prove that this was simply a “talking point” for USADA. Plus, how many other teams did they analyze? If the answer is “zero” then how can you claim that our system was so sophisticated? It’s totally irrational.
Pat McQuaid has not only erased your titles and given you a life ban, he has also declared : Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling…
Pat McQuaid can say and think what he wants. He has bigger issues to worry about.
What do you mean ? What has he got to worry about ?
I don’t exactly know the system by which the UCI president is elected but it certainly seems as if is job is at risk. Apparently Cookson provides a refreshing alternative – we shall see. I think regardless the sport needs new leadership to try and regain credibility. It simply can’t move on w/ McQuaid as the leader. And I have told him this.
McQuaid has invited you to tell him the whole story. Why don’t you do it?
Untrue. McQuaid is avoiding the topic of Truth and recon.
Why are you ready to speak to a T&R commission and what would you want to declare?
We have not been given the entire story. The “reasoned decision” was not an accurate depiction of cycling from the late 80’s til today. It worked perfectly to destroy one man’s life but it has not benefitted cycling. What would I say? I would appear, sit, listen, and answer honestly.
When you were a rider, was it impossible to win without performance enhancing?
Depends on what races you wanted to win… The TdF? No. Impossible.
Why is it specific to the TdF?
Because the tour is an event where oxygen is too important. If you are a sprinter then less so. For example, epo doesn’t help a 100 mt runner but it does a 10,000 mt runner. Obviously.
And today, it’s still impossible to win the TdF without doping?
I don’t know
How and why does a rider start using performance enhancing drugs?
Human nature
Can you develop more, regarding your personal experience?
no
Have you ever been afraid for your health during your career?
only in the sense that cycling is dangerous. Crashes, etc.
And not because of the doping?
Never
In front of the French Senatorial commission, Pat McQuaid, also said under oath, that UCI never protected you. But in 1999, during your first Tour victory, Le Monde revealed that you were positive with corticostéroïds, and UCI accepted a backdated certificate. Is this correct ?
yes
So do you mean that McQuaid lied under oath?
I didn’t see what he said under oath
You recognized having donated 100 000 dollars to the UCI in 2002. Do you consider that it is normal that an international federation accept the donation of one of its active champion ?
incorrect. I made a donation after I had retired in 2005.
But do you consider it normal for a federation to accept a donation from one its champion?
it’s easy to say that now. This was 8 years ago. Times change. Today it would viewed as inappropriate I guess. We have lost all context of time. I’m still not sure why we are discussing and debating what happened in the 90’s. Seems absurd in many ways.
Ten years after, the French antidoping agency published a report that denounced the « preferential treatment » of your team from the UCI during the Tour. In this context, how do you explain that UCI has not been called to account after the Usada report?
I don’t understand the question.
Do you support the candidature of Brian Cookson?
I don’t know Cookson so hard to assess.
UCI, ASO, US Postal…all of these organizations are against you today. But they all took advantage of the Armstrong story?
Of course. This is classic herd mentality (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herd_mentality) It’s popular to act, think, talk this way for now. I totally understand.
Do you consider that UCI, ASO or US Postal took advantage or prospered financially from your performances?
I can’t comment on who benefitted financially from my success. I’m sure these financial numbers are available online.
Do you have the sensation that you are paying for the others ?
I will let others decide that.
But, what is you personal feeling?
My personal feelings are my personal feelings. Not your, not your readers, not anyone. I will let time dictate this narrative.
JJ Abrams is preparing a feature film about you. Did he talk to you?
he did not.
How do you feel about this film project? Proud or worried?
neither
Bonus track: Did Sarkozy send you a message after you lost your titles?
not that I’m aware of. But I really like sarko as a man. Not making a political statement, just a personal one. He was always cool to me.
Did you send a message to Sarkozy after he lost the French election?
I did not
Why did you come-back in 2009?
good question. It was the biggest mistake of my life. I would do anything to erase it but what is done is done. I should have listened to Jean Marie Leblanc when he wrote that open letter to me in the fall of 2008. He was right.

2 comments on "Why did Le Monde have to distort the facts in the headline?"

  1. Evan on 28 June 2013

    Dear folks. I am depraved on account I was deprived. So get me a social worker not a guard.

    Please lance. Spill the beans or go away

  2. CeramicCyclist on 29 June 2013

    Still full of half-truths and narcissism. Particularly telling at the end when he regrets the ‘mistake’ of making a comeback. That’s essentially: “I’m sorry I got caught”.

    He’s also still critical of Tygart and USADA without recognising the fact that no-one ever got busted while on Lance’s team because it was so well organised and protected, but when they left and were using cowboys like Fuentes, they started to be popped regularly – Heras, Hamilton, Landis.

    He also fails to acknowledge that Tygart had limited jurisdiction, encompassing only those riders and staff who worked for US teams and that it was this factor, rather than a personal witch hunt which dictated the investigation.

    Instead of ‘regretting’ the comeback he should be regretting not coming forward and giving full cooperation to the investigation as he was encouraged to do on several occasions. He would then have probably only been given a maximum 2 year ban.