June 20, 2004
Eloquent defense of Armstrong
Richard Moore of Scotsman.com offers a Sunday column on the Arsmtrong doping rumors that's part column and part story. Rather than just repeating the book's rumors and offering an opinion, Moore talked to Scotland's Brian Smith, who was a teammate of both Armstrong and Stephen Swart at Motorola.
Swart is quoted in L.A. Confidential claiming that Motorola riders started using EPO in 1995 because of pressure for results. Smith was only with the team in 1994, but says he can't believe the team could do a complete 180 in one off-season:
"If that’s true it would have been an unbelievable change in the culture of the team," says Smith.
Smith had personal experience with how the team dealt with suspicious test results:
"But the day before the race I was called into a room with Jim Ochowicz and Hennie Kuiper, the team directors, and Massimo Testa, the team doctor, and told that I couldn’t race. They said that my blood tests had shown a testosterone level of zero, which meant either that my body had stopped producing it, or that I’d been getting it artificially. I had stubble, so I was obviously getting it from somewhere.
"It was made very clear to me that Motorola was a massive sponsor, and that they condemned any association with drugs. I had no idea what had happened, but a second test cleared me and I was able to start racing. But it showed me the team was clean. I saw nothing untoward in the year I was there, and that included riding the Giro d’Italia.
Smith expressed complete confidence in Armstrong. "I really believe that Lance is riding on 100% focus; you can see that when he’s riding. He’s been to the edge of death, right to the limit of suffering. I think he can suffer and push himself longer than anyone else because he knows better than anyone else what his limits are."
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Having read the excerpt of L.A. Confidential involving Stephen Swart, as
posted by his brother on http://www.hamiltoncitycycling.com/ (since
removed), this 'eloquent defense' does in fact not contradict any claim made
by Swart. Swart was quite explicit about the team management and doctor not
condoning doping, nor does he claim that the whole team was doing
drugs. According to him, it was done by certain riders at their own
initiativ and expense.
Posted by: samb at Jun 21, 2004 11:53:49 AM
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Posted by: James Raia at Jun 22, 2004 1:41:30 PM