Lance Armstrong's "zip the lips" gesture to cyclist Filippo Simeoni, who testified against Dr. Michele Ferrari.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency's report on Lance Armstrong doesn’t just say he that doped. It says he was the ringleader of the grandest doping scheme in recent team sports history and that he intimidated his teammates and involved his wife in an illicit quest to win.
Two of the earliest examples of Armstrong's role as a doping kingpin in the USADA report come in 1998, the year he signed with the U.S. Postal Team after beating cancer. The instances demonstrate that he relied on cortisone as a doping substance and helped others on his team do the same.
During the World Championships at Valkenberg in the Netherlands, Armstrong asked his wife Kristin to wrap cortisone tablets in tinfoil. She did, then handed them to him and his teammates. "Lance’s wife is rolling joints," one teammate said.
After a tough day of riding during the Vuelta a España, Armstrong asked teammates Jonathan Vaughters and Christian Vande Velde to go to the car and get a cortisone pill for him. When the pair found no such pill, they came up with a placebo, whittling down an aspirin, wrapping it in tinfoil, and giving it to Armstrong.
In 1998, Lance Armstrong had not yet won his first Tour de France. Yet, even at this point in his career, he was already doping, involving his wife in his doping, and had his teammates in a position where they felt compelled to lie to him in order to satisfy his desire for drugs. The USADA has piled up loads of examples demonstrating that Armstrong and his team doped during each of the seven successive years he won the Tour de France. The quasi-governmental agency said the evidence was enough to prove, "a massive team doping scheme, more extensive than any previously revealed in professional sports history."
The full USADA report is roughly 200 pages. Because you may not have time to read it all, we’ve included some of key findings below, focusing on the numbers.
11: Teammates who offered testimony against Armstrong. Nine of those teammates were clients of banned Armstrong associate Dr. Michele Ferrari, and they offered firsthand knowledge of Armstrong’s doping practices.
7: Consecutive times, from 1999 through 2005, Armstrong won the Tour de France.
7: Years Armstrong won the Tour de France in which multiple teammates and additional witnesses testified that he doped in the USADA report.
20: Number of the 21 podium finishers in the Tour de France during the seven years that Armstrong won who have been directly tied to likely doping through admissions, sanctions, public investigations or by exceeding the UCI hematocrit threshold.
1 out of 3, or 1 out of 4: Days that Armstrong, Tyler Hamilton, and Kevin Livingston took EPO during the first two weeks of the 1999 Tour de France, Armstrong’s first win.
$1,029,754.31: Money paid by Lance Armstrong to Dr. Michele Ferrari, an Italian doctor suspected of helping cyclists dope. Armstrong said he would no longer work with Dr. Ferrari on October 1, 2004. The USADA listed records of two large payments from Armstrong to Ferrari in 2005 and 2006.
3: Times the word "liar" is used in the USADA report. Though "lie" and "fabrication" are used to describe instances directed at Armstrong, the word "liar" only appears in reference to accusations by Armstrong against Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton.
"As is well known, Floyd Landis tested positive for testosterone during the 2006 Tour de France. Landis denied doping for several years, from 2006 through 2008 while he fought USADA’s case against him and even after until early 2010. After Floyd Landis made his allegations of Armstrong's doping public, Armstrong and his representatives described Landis as, among other things, 'a bitter and scorned Landis who, quite simply, has zero credibility,' and 'a person with zero credibility and an established pattern of recanting tomorrow what he swears to today' and more recently as 'an admitted, proven liar.'"
"As discussed previously, Hamilton was the ultimate insider on Armstrong’s first three Tour winning teams. However, since his accusations of Armstrong’s doping have become public, Armstrong or his representatives have called Hamilton a 'proven liar.' It is, of course, true that Armstrong also doped and, as explained in this Reasoned Decision, USADA has proved that he lied. Therefore, Armstrong's aspersions do not provide any basis for discrediting Hamilton that does not also discredit Armstrong. Moreover, Hamilton's accusations are thoroughly corroborated by many other riders who rode with Armstrong over the years."
5: Specific moments referenced in which the words humor, joke, laugh, or smile were used in relation to Armstrong or his teammates referencing drugs or doping.
LIQUID GOLD DELIVERY
"Betsy Andreu observed a delivery from Marti to Armstrong following a dinner at the Villa d'Este Restaurant in Nice in 1999. The dinner involved Lance and Kristin Armstrong, Betsy Andreu, Kevin Livingston and his fiancé, and Pepe and his girlfriend. Dinner was held later than usual. The explanation Andreu was given was that dinner was so late because the purpose of Pepe's attendance in Nice was to bring EPO to Lance, and it was safer to cross the border at night. After the dinner the Armstrongs took Andreu home. Andreu saw Pepe give Lance Armstrong a brown paper bag and as Armstrong opened the car door for Andreu he smiled, held up the bag and commented, 'liquid gold.'"
THE FASTEST TRANSFUSION
"Tyler Hamilton testified that he, Armstrong and Kevin Livingston received a blood transfusion on the evening of Tuesday, July 11 in the Hôtel l'Esplan in Saint-Paul-Trois- Châteaux near Mount Ventoux. Hamilton recalled:"
"The whole process took less than 30 minutes. Kevin Livingston and I received our transfusions in one room and Lance got his in an adjacent room with an adjoining door. During the transfusion Lance was visible from our room, Johan, Pepe and Dr. del Moral were all present and Dr. del Moral went back and forth between the rooms checking on the progress of the re-infusions. Each blood bag was placed on a hook for a picture frame or taped to the wall and we lay on the bed and shivered while the chilly blood re-entered our bodies."
"Hamilton said that the riders 'joked about whose body was absorbing the blood the fastest.'"
SMUGGLING IN SALINE
"Armstrong, Vande Velde, Vaughters and Celaya stayed at a bed and breakfast for the 1998 World Championships. Their bedrooms opened into a common area. One morning a UCI drug tester appeared and started setting up in the common area. This prompted Dr. Celaya to go outside to the car and retrieve a liter of saline which he put under his rain coat and smuggled right past the UCI tester and into Armstrong's bedroom. Celaya closed the bedroom door and administered the saline to Armstrong to lower his hematocrit, without alerting the UCI tester to their activities. Vaughters recalled that he and Dr. Celaya later 'had a good laugh about how he had been able to smuggle in saline and administer it to Lance essentially under the UCI inspector’s nose.'"
"David Zabriskie has a dry but apparent sense of humor. In his interview with USADA he described a funny and, at the same time, revealing anecdote of life on the U.S. Postal Service team bus. Zabriskie recounted being at the front of the bus singing to Johan Bruyneel about EPO use to the tune of Jimi Hendrix’s song Purple Haze. Johan laughed along as Zabriskie sang:"
EPO all in my veins
Lately things just don’t seem the same
Actin' funny, but I don’t know why
'Scuse me while I pass this guy
BURIED IN THE WOODS
"Zabriskie also recalled an occasion when on the team bus during the Tour of Luxembourg the riders were told that police were at the team hotel and a team official advised that if any rider had any drugs in his bag that he should get rid of the drugs. After a rider's drugs were buried in the woods, a team employee commented that, 'those trees will be big in a few years.'"
1: Instances in which witnesses testified that Armstrong said he was going to take down and shut up former Tour de France champ Greg LeMond.
"A few weeks later Armstrong had won his third Tour and the Armstrongs were having dinner in Villefranche, France with a few friends, including the Andreus. The Andreus recall that during the dinner the conversation turned to some unflattering comments Greg LeMond had recently made about the Ferrari controversy. Armstrong was incensed with LeMond and vowed to exact revenge, saying 'I'm going to take him down' and that Armstrong could make one call to the owner of Trek bicycles, which carried a line of LeMond bicycles, and 'shut him up.'"
1: Video showing Armstrong making a "zip the lip" gesture to cyclist Filippo Simeoni, who had testified against Dr. Ferrari.
"On July 23 in the 18th Stage at the 2004 Tour de France, Simeoni joined a breakaway. However, Armstrong rode him down and threatened if Simeoni did not return to the peloton Lance Armstrong would stay with the break and doom it to failure. As a consequence, Simeoni retreated to the peloton. There was no potential sport or cycling advantage for Armstrong's maneuver. In fact, it was dangerous and impetuous, as Armstrong rode away from his supporting teammates to catch Simeoni, wasting valuable energy and unnecessarily incurring greater risk of a mishap while riding without assistance."
"As Simeoni and Armstrong fell back to the peloton, Armstrong verbally berated Simeoni for testifying in the Ferrari case, saying, 'You made a mistake when you testified against Ferrari and you made a mistake when you sued me. I have a lot of time and money and I can destroy you.' Armstrong was captured on video making a 'zip the lips' gesture which underscored what Armstrong had just said to Simeoni about how Simeoni should not have testified against Dr. Ferrari. A copy of a video of this sad moment in the history of cycling is provided as part of Appendix B. Thus, Filippo Simeoni has provided to USADA corroborated testimony of an act of attempted witness intimidation by Armstrong, which is in and of itself an anti-doping rule violation pursuant to Article 2.8 of the Code and is also potentially relevant both to impeach Armstrong's claim not to have participated in doping with Dr. Ferrari and in consideration of whether Armstrong should not be deprived of reliance upon the statute of limitations due to wrongful and egregious acts in which he engaged to attempt to suppress the truth about his doping and that of others associated with his team."
Watch Lance Armstrong make a "zip the lips" gesture to Simeoni.
1: Reference to Armstrong as a "schoolyard bully."
"During the stage to Alpe d'Huez Armstrong rode up to Christophe Bassons, and berated him, calling him a disgrace and telling him he should get out of cycling. Armstrong's verbal attack on Bassons in the 1999 Tour echoed Armstrong's anger after a Bassons stage win earlier in the year at the Dauphiné Libéré."
"Jonathan Vaughters recalled, 'Lance did not like Basson's outspokenness about doping, and Lance frequently made fun of him in a very merciless and venomous fashion, much like a playground bully.' In addition to reacting to Bassons' comments about Armstrong's dominant performance on the Sestriéres stage win, in attacking Bassons Armstrong acted in accordance with a consistent pattern he has demonstrated of attacking those who speak out against doping in cycling."
here for the full report, " United States Anti-Doping Agency, Claimant, v. Lance Armstrong, Respondent."
For more on Lance Armstrong, check out the collection of stories in the archive, "Outside on Armstrong and Drugs in Cycling."