Lance Armstrong just got eviscerated by 60 Minutes.
We already know that former teammate Tyler Hamilton said that he saw Armstrong take EPO, testosterone, and a blood transfusion during the Tour de France.
CBS also says that George Hincapie told a grand jury that he saw it too.
But the most damning revelation of all from tonight’s broadcast, Hamilton said that Armstrong failed a drug test in 2001 and that Lance, with the help of the International Cycling Union (UCI), “took care of it.”
According to the 60 Minutes report that just aired, Armstrong got a personal meeting with the head of the lab who discovered his test. The lab director told the FBI in a sworn statement that the ICU arranged the unusual meeting and made it known that it didn’t want the suspicious test to be investigated any further.
Armstrong’s strongest defence has always been that he has never failed a drug test, despite giving hundreds of blood and urine samples throughout his career. This story now calls that claim into serious question.
Plus, as Hamilton pointed out, there are a lot of alleged drug users who never failed a test. Hamilton went years without failing one and Barry Bonds and Marion Jones (who spent time in jail after confessing during a government investigation) never failed one either.
Armstrong has pre-emptively attacked Hamilton’s credibility, but in our opinion he made a pretty compelling witness. He seemed shaken and nervous during the 60 Minutes interview, not because he was unsure of what he was saying, but because he understood the gravity of his testimony. He’s destroying lives here, including his own, and doesn’t seem like someone simply out for publicity or just a quick buck.
Scott Pelley says in the video below that interviewing Hamilton was like “pulling teeth.”
The one thing Hamilton repeatedly emphasised is that he wasn’t just accusing Armstrong, he was accusing himself, his other teammates, and pretty much every significant rider in cycling world. It now seems clear that every major team and rider in competitive cycling used some form of doping to improve performance, which both lends weight to his story and makes it incredibly unlikely that a clean rider could dominate the tour the way Armstrong did for nearly a decade.
(Every second- and third-place finisher, save one rider, in all seven of his Tour de France wins has implicated in a doping scandal, as every Tour winner since his streak ended.)
Like, it or not, the burden has now shifted to Lance Armstrong. It’s his credibility that grows weaker every day and his angry denials aren’t going to change that.