Bikezilla

Ride the Puddles

When Lance Armstrong Burns: Part 2

Posted by bikezilla on March 29, 2011


UPDATE*

Part 1

I’ve added an extra layer to my tinfoil hat for this one, just because I think it’s pretty.

——
First, here are a couple alternate perspectives on Strickland’s piece:

Back of the Peloton: The difference between PR, facts, and fluff.

Ciclirati: On Strickland, Zirbel, History and What it Means.

——

Bill Strickland, editor of Bicycling Magazine, has long been accused of being a Lance Armstrong sycophant and enabler. He’s willfully and intentionally covered up and denied any wrongdoing on Lance’s part for years.

He’s finally presented the evidence (or rather some of the evidence) proving that Lance Armstrong is a liar and a doping cheat, in two parts.

The first part is a longish article outlining what we’re supposed to believe is the journey that took Strickland from enthusiastic Lance Armstrong supporter, to doubter, to saddened and disillusioned fan who is finally and at long last convinced of Lance’s evil ways. It’s good stuff. Seriously.

The second is a ten point pictorial presentation of largely anecdotal and circumstantial evidence vs Armstrong. Again, good stuff. A primer for those not familiar with the history, a refresher for those who are.

It’s all very interesting, especially gathered together and summarized in one convenient location.

But, I call bullshit.

Strickland is a smart guy and a trained, longtime investigative reporter.

In his career he’s actually taken up residence in LanceLand, to the point that Johan Bruyneel allowed, acknowledged and justified his (Strickland’s) presence in the most private Armstrong settings with the assertion that “He’s (Strickland) one of us.”.

Meaning that Strickland is an insider, that he’s in the know, that he’s privy to secrets, and that he’s safe and can be trusted.

There was a reason that Bruyneel picked Strickland to first leak news of Lance’s comeback, and a reason that it was Strickland chosen as the journalist who’d spend a year living with Lance on the road during that comeback.

Wasn’t it in the resulting book, “Tour de Lance”, that Strickland said that he knew things about Lance, dark things, but that he would not reveal them?

*UPDATE:

Here’s the relevant passage, taken from pages 10 & 11 of “Tour de Lance”:

“And I’d sat on some more serious revelations, things Bruyneel told me about the inner workings of the sport but also things I’d heard from team directors, riders, coaches, and other people who assumed that because I was close to Bruyneel I must have already known what they were talking about. I was surprised to find out that this information was even easier to keep to myself.

I knew things to be true that I wished I’d never been told. I knew many more things that could never be proved true or false, and I wanted even more to never have been told those. I didn’t want to talk to anyone about such matters, and so it was that Bruyneel trusted me.”

“. . . I was starting to become just a fan again. I hadn’t ever wanted to know which racer all the racers figured was doping and had only to get caught before everyone could talk about what a shame it was, what a crime. I hadn’t wanted to know which rider paid off which other rider to help secure a win in the great one-day cobblestoned race Paris-Roubaix.”

I knew when I read that, that he WOULD eventually reveal them. It was only a matter of when.

And this article is not that “when”. Not really. He only hints at a few juicy details. The rest has all been presented before.

No, the real revelations will come in another book, something more highly profitable than a lowly magazine and internet article.

Bill has had unequivocal knowledge of Armstrong’s doping for many years. Yet, it’s been to Strickland’s advantage, a matter of personal gain both financially and professionally, to lie and obfuscate on Armstrong’s behalf.

So why come out against Armstrong now?

Was it:

1. A falling out with Armstrong, so that Strickland no longer felt obligated to protect Lance?

2. Realization that Armstrong’s world is crumbling and now is the opportune (and opportunistic) moment?

3. Realization that Armstrong’s power is no longer all encompassing and that Lance’s ability to cause harm or exact retribution is waning, and so now is the opportune (and opportunistic) moment?

Is Strickland one of those I predicted would flee Armstrong’s side, charging into the light in hopes that the flames growing around Armstrong will not consume them as well?

4. Another chance to collude with Lance, yet gain maximum profit and professional recognition?

To that you likely said, “Huh?”.

With the publication of this article comes a rumor that Lance has agreed to an exclusive interview with Bicycling Magazine.

Lance Armstrong has tried damned near everything to protect himself from the ongoing investigation of Jeff Novitzky and the FDA.

He’s even bought himself a United States Congressman, Georgia Representative Jack Kingston, who (unsuccessfully) attempted to derail Novitzky’s investigation on Armstrong’s behalf.

So what is Lance left with?

Coming clean to Novitzky? Except Novitzky isn’t interested in a plea bargain with Lance. Lance has nothing bigger to offer, because he IS the investigation’s big fish.

What can Lance save? Maybe his public image if he gets out in front of things?

And who would he choose to talk to if he was going to “come clean” in an effort to manage the damage to his stature, his power, his influence, his earnings, his freedom, if the conclusion of this case (which actually extends well beyond Novitzky and the FDA) should find him guilty?

Well, of course it’d be his long time buddy, enabler, conspirator and protector, Bill Strickland.

Or maybe the rumor is false. Maybe there is no exclusive interview with Lance Armstrong about to be released by Bill Strickland and Bicycling Magazine.

Or maybe the interview will just be a total ambush of Lance, though if you know Armstrong’s history with questions that he doesn’t like, this notion seems utterly ludicrous. If Lance gives a tell-all, it’s because he WANTS the information out there (though he’ll pick and choose what he tells, what he comes clean on and what he’s honest about). Then he can act all contrite and remorseful.

But for me, the abhorrence of Lance Armstrong is only partially rooted in the belief that he’s a doper, a liar and a cheat.

What I really detest Lance Armstrong for is the malicious manner in which he goes about destroying or attempting to destroy anyone who so much as disagrees with him.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional cyclist, a news outlet or a lowly blogger. If you question or doubt Lance in any way, he’ll do everything within the vast possibilities of his wealth, power and influence to crush you into nothingness.

I’ll make a little confession, here.

All my suppositions, in their specifics, could be wrong about Bill Strickland. It’s possible that there’s nothing unethical or dishonest in what’s going on. But there’s more to his “coming out” against Lance than what he’s letting us know.

I don’t like feeling like I’m being taken for a sucker, and that’s what it seems like Strickland is doing. He’s playing me, us, his readers, the public. We just need to sit back and wait to discover exactly why and how.

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