I just watched the LeMond "Play the Game" presentation, and thought I would create this post, in part because I really think CN got their summary wrong. No offense to CN, I like them very much, but the presentation I just watched (LeMond basically speaks at a conference for just over half an hour, then fields questions for 15 minutes or so) was very different from CN's portrayal of it. Thanks to Chris for bringing up the story in the first place, and to Gavia for linking to the presentation.
What follows are just notes I took while watching.
- I really think CN got the sport drink thing wrong, it seems pretty clear to me that he says "a sip of water, or my sport drink," i.e. whichever he happened to be drinking at the time. It's just after 10min.
- I have no idea how CN came up with the title "LeMond laments cycling's loss of innocence." In my opinion, this completely misrepresents everything he said. The tone of his talk definitely isn't "the good old days," i.e. that everything was fine in his day - on the contrary, he talks about how, in the 80s, he was suggesting that there be mandatory testing, and other riders would come up to him and say that testing would violate their human rights. He's basically saying that drugs were everywhere in the 80s, but that a. he didn't take them, and b. they were much less effective than EPO and everything that was to come in the 90s.
- He says some very interesting stuff about Armstrong: "I had a little argument with Armstrong when I questioned his relationship to Ferrari. In this conversation he said 'come on Greg, you're telling me you've never used EPO? Everyone's used EPO. Your win in 1989 was like mine, it was a miracle. Mine was a miracle, yours was a miracle.' And I just said 'Hold on. Mine was not a miracle. I won the Tour before EPO ever came out...[had I used it] I'd have won the Tour by 30 minutes, not 8 seconds.'"
- This is nothing new, but he speaks of himself as an "advocate for riders," who are like "lab rats" upon whom doctors experiment. Then he talks about how necessary such advocacy is given how many riders have died and how rampant depression is as a result of doping.
- Some interesting stuff around min. 30 about communications he's had with the UCI, especially over the last year or so, regarding possibilities for reform from within, getting away from culture of turning a blind eye to the real problems in cycling, etc. -- However how over the past year or so "the bad guys won," guys like Clerc and Gilbert (sp.?) were fired, hence he's decided to completely abandon any involvement with pro cycling.
- According to LeMond, "There is no anti-Americanism in French laboratories." He talks about how people use this idea as an excuse to not deal with the real issues. "I know the sport, and I doubt that there's been anyone who's been wrongfully convicted," except the bobsledder who'd used Rogaine ;) He cites and lauds the Ashendon interview in NY Velocity about the 1999 samples.
- Interesting stuff about Kohl: he says that if Kohl's being honest he should be given another chance, that it shouldn't be the athletes who always pay the price. Talks about how unfair it was that Pantani was treated as a villain. He met Pantani and suggested anti-depressants or therapy to him because "he was left out in the cold, he was branded a criminal." "Punish honesty and reward dishonesty, that's the motto of the UCI." -- The stuff about Pantani is actually very moving, around min. 38 if I remember right.
- "We need a bear market in cycling that wipes the criminals out."
- Someone in the audience asks: Will Armstrong ever come clean? "Him? No way. He has no conscience."
- Finally, despite aging and weight gain, he says his wattage output and lung capacity are pretty much the same as when he was racing. Bastard. ;)
Anyways there's much more to be said but I don't want to go on forever, I'd highly recommend watching, it's interesting stuff. I hope there aren't too many typos here, I typed some of this while listening/watching.
Sorry, one last thing: Armstrong's response on Twitter: "Uh oh...someone drank too much Hate-orade and ate too many Hater-tots."