Lance Armstrong tried to treat it like any other day. The world-renowned cyclist was at the office of his cancer-fighting foundation, “talking about next week’s events and plans for 2013,” he said on Twitter.
But Thursday was different. It was the day after the evidence came out — a voluminous report from the US. Anti-Doping Agency that painted him as a drug-using bully at the center of what the group called the biggest doping conspiracy ever concocted in sports.
The fallout from the agency’s version of events, and its raft of supporting documents, started coming down in small bites from friends, foes, supporters and detractors around the globe.
Twitter posts with the “Livestrong” hash tag — the name of Armstrong’s charitable foundation — seemed to be running about 50-50, from those who thought the USADA report cemented Armstrong as a fraud, to those who didn't care and admire him for the millions of dollars he has raised for cancer research.
“This is as if Mount Everest just showed up in his front yard,” said Daniel Coyle, author of “Lance Armstrong’s War” and “The Secret Race,” which he wrote with Tyler Hamilton, a former teammate and witness against Armstrong.
"The detail is crystal clear," Coyle said. "And each of the stories perfectly aligns. The details are so clear, you can't imagine anyone making it up. The voices you hear in the affidavits are remarkable, persuasive, precise and not, in every case, reluctant."
After cancelling an appearance scheduled in Chicago for Friday, Armstrong visited his foundation headquarters in Austin, Texas, for about 30 minutes in the morning, chatting informally with employees and looking for a place to hang a new painting he recently added to his personal art collection. The USADA report did not come up in conversation, foundation spokeswoman Katherine McLane said.
The head of the foundation, Doug Ulman, said he had received several messages of support and Armstrong would carry the banner for the foundation.
Seven titles will stand?
Paris: The winner's list of the world's most prestigious cycling race, the Tour de France, is likely to have a seven-year gap, after organisers said Friday they were against re-attributing disgraced rider Lance Armstrong's wins.
The development came as the sport's world governing body said it was studying the extensive dossier on the Texan as a "priority", amid calls for its honorary president to quit and the possibility of legal action against three Spaniards implicated.
Armstrong, who has consistently denied taking banned substances, was this week placed at the heart of what the USADA called "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme" ever seen in sport.
The organisation announced on August 23 that Armstrong was guilty of doping violations and recommended he was stripped of his career victories, raising questions about who would replace him at the top of the Tour podium between 1999 and 2005.