Drugs and the Peloton
Team Armstrong Responds
“Where’s Lance?” he asked nervously.
“At the ranch, as far as I know,” I said. I wasn’t due to make the 25-mile trip out there for another hour or so, and I thought Armstrong was already there. “Why?”
“Man, the WADA people are here waiting at the gate!” he shouted.
“Shit. He was there last night and didn’t tell me he was going anywhere.” This was highly unusual. Armstrong always told me where he was, and there were plans in place to meet that day.
“Well, he sure as hell ain’t here. And if he’s not, he’s in big trouble with WADA for not being here. I’m gonna call College.” John “College” Korioth was one of Armstrong’s best friends.
I got myself together to head for the ranch. A few minutes later, as I was driving, my phone rang again. It was Russey. “He’s left town with Sheryl,” he said. “College is gonna go to the airport and get his Suburban and drive it back to the ranch. The WADA people won’t be able to tell if it’s Lance or not when he drives past them and will think it is.”
The ruse was designed to make WADA’s out-of-competition monitors, who had arrived outside the locked gate of the ranch as part of WADA’s “whereabouts” program, think the person behind the wheel was Armstrong. Even though the WADA people wouldn’t be able to contact Armstrong directly, the trick would allow him to avoid getting hit with a so-called non-analytical positive, based on a failure to accurately report his location. Under the rules of the World Anti-Doping Code, Armstrong had to let WADA know exactly where he was at all times.
As I drove the last few miles to the ranch, I passed a small white Hyundai SUV, which Russey later told me contained the officials from WADA. I never heard another word about the incident. Armstrong didn’t mention it, but he must have known it was a problem for me, since it was such a clear sign that he was willing to game the drug-testing system when it suited him. Much later, I was completely blown away when both Korioth and Russey flatly denied—in sworn depositions—that any of it had happened, with Korioth mockingly stating that there was never any conspiracy to evade a test.