“Huge.” “Inevitable.” “Shocking.” “Sad.” “Depressing.”

Those are words pulled from Twitter by CNN to describe the reaction of Lance Armstrong being stripped of his titles. The International Cycling Union has revoked Armstrong’s seven Tour de France titles. During those years, his name will be erased from the records and there will be no official winner. He’s also being asked to pay back millions of dollars. “Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling,” said the union’s president, Pat McQuaid.

The US Anti-Doping Agency claims he ran “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.” The Wall Street Journal live blogged the 200+ page report published by the USADA a few weeks ago. Though Armstrong vehemently denies his involvement in doping, 26 eye witnesses declared him the ring leader. This included several teammates and his masseuse, Dublin native Emma O’Reilly. O’Reilly spent years working for Armstrong, and originally attempted to expose his doping in 2003, but was sued for libel. O’Reilly also claimed that she worked as a drug-runner for Armstrong’s US Postal team. Craig Doyle, of Ireland’s Independent, will run an interview with O’Reilly later today.

Former fiance (and the lady who just wants to soak up Vitamin D) Sheryl Crow was interviewed by federal agents in 2011 before a grand jury probe into Armstrong and his associates abruptly ended. There was no public comment about Crow’s involvement.

The New York Times ran a story about Floyd Landis, the cyclist who was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title after failing a drug test. Like Armstrong, he denied doping. Andrew Messick, the director of the Tour de California, met with Landis two years ago and recorded their conversation. The following excerpt comes from the Times story:

“Lance Armstrong never came up,” Messick said in an interview last week. “But he did make a comment on the Mafia. He said, When you’re in the Mafia and you get caught and go to jail, you keep your mouth shut, and the organization takes care of your family. In cycling, you’re expected to keep your mouth shut when you test positive, but you become an outcast. Everyone just turns their back on you.”

Wow. So Armstrong is like the mafia boss of the cycling doping ring. Armstrong’s troubles are far from over, it seems. In the words of his former almost-wife, “everyday is a winding road.” These are the days when anything goes. 


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