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Le Dopage! Le Dopage!

Will people ever tire of reading about Lance Armstrong's supposedly sordid past?

Not in France, apparently, as the authors of the new book, LA Officiel, have come back for a double-dip after their first big salvo, LA Confidentiel, set off the last round of doping speculation.

For the rest of this diatribe,

Update [2006-10-19 16:9:24 by chris]: here's Lance's statement in reply.

Personally, I have no idea if Lance was cheating the whole time, and though his claims of innocence are well supported, the current atmosphere in Cycling tends to discourage naive acceptance of such claims. That said, this book apparently is a rehash of things we've read before -- evidence from Lance's victorious suit against the insurance company that tried to dodge a $7.5 mil payout, and anything and everything uttered by an Andreu. The only apparent value added by the authors is a more damning rephrasing of the facts. But it seems to me, since the authors don't really know what Lance did, that this book is as cynical as they allege Lance to be, and is counting on a "where there's smoke there's fire" acceptance of their claims.

I don't see how this helps the anti-doping cause. Walsh and Ballester have failed to establish much credibility, and the fact that the book is only being published in France, where libel laws are supposed to be toothless, supports Lance's claims that the authors are full of shit again. Even their publisher isn't sold on their latest claims, so goes the argument.

This is a bit like having Oliver Stone make the JFK conspiracy case. For all I know there may have been a conspiracy, but having a guy who makes a living peddling conspiracies lead the charge tends to drown out the message. Where Stone inserts grainy footage of an unseen FBI agent tampering with evidence in the operating room, Ballester and Walsh jump into the record evidence from Lance's insurance lawsuit and yell "gotcha!"

Beyond the web of deception that Lance Armstrong spun around his image one has to ask questions about the serious repercussions of this tactic," read a statement from "L.A. Official's" authors.

"After the disturbing revelation of a blood-doping network in Spain and the shameful Floyd Landis episode, does elite cycling retain any crumbs of credibility?"

Does it? Indeed... wink wink. Uh, OK, but do you have any freaking evidence? Cycling needs a serious cleanup run by the adults of the sport, not by the professional slimers.

Incidentally, Greg Lemond was asked by Pez what he'd do about doping. Read his uninterrupted 921-word response to a 24-word question. Impressive! The mere fact that he can make the entire case without pausing shows there may be a place for him in the sport's governance... at least, once he stops casting about his own baseless suspicions.

Oh, and one last thing: Lance isn't gay (yet).