As files continue to leak from Lance Armstrong’s various legal cases, one thing remains the same: mum is still the word from many tethered to the former Tour champion and his era of domination. At least at present.
Armstrong revealed more details about his past doping practices — and divulged, at least in part, who knew of the performance-enhancing drug use — in answers he gave in court last November, as part of a lawsuit with Acceptance Insurance.
Those files were made public yesterday when they were obtained by USA Today after an attorney for Floyd Landis filed the documents in federal court as part of Landis’ ongoing whistleblower lawsuit against Armstrong.
In his sworn testimony from November, Armstrong revealed that former U.S. Postal Service team manager Johan Bruyneel, former team owner Thomas Weisel, and Italian doctor Michele Ferrari all knew of Armstrong’s doping, and doping within the USPS team.
If there is a major revelation, however, it’s that Armstrong testified that his former coach, Chris Carmichael, also knew of his PED use — as early as 1995.
VeloNews was unable to reach Carmichael for comment Thursday morning via voice message and email, but if the Armstrong statement is true, it would indicate that Carmichael selected the Texan to the 1996 Olympic team — he was the U.S. national team coach then — in spite of Armstrong’s known PED use.
It would also indicate that Carmichael, later, lied when he defended Armstrong publicly against doping allegations.
“I’m convinced Lance won his Tour de France titles because he was the best athlete,” Carmichael told VeloNews in August 2012, after Armstrong dropped his fight against the United States Anti-Doping Agency, but before he admitted publicly to doping. “I believe he was the best trained, the most focused, the most disciplined, and the most dedicated to excellence.”
Carmichael, a former pro in his own right and member of the 1984 Olympic road team, also said, “In 20 years, I never saw him use any banned substances, and in my eyes, seeing is believing.”
The Colorado Springs-based coach behind the Carmichael Training Systems brand — of which Armstrong once held ownership stake — has steadfastly denied claims Betsy and Frankie Andreu made under oath that Armstrong admitted to PED use in an Indianapolis hospital room while being treated for cancer in 1996.
In 2006, Carmichael told Mark Zalewski at Cyclingnews.com that the Andreus’ assertion was inaccurate.
“It is ridiculous,” Carmichael said in 2006. “You have Lance’s doctor giving an affidavit that he has no recollection of that conversation occurring. Supposedly my wife was in the room as well. She doesn’t remember that at all! She remembers being in Indianapolis supporting Lance. There are only a few people [in the room] that remember that, whereas the other people in the room don’t.”
In that 2006 story, Carmichael was also quoted saying, “Hopefully they can get this stuff figured out. If people are cheating they need to be held accountable.”
Carmichael is currently slated as a special guest at Michael Chiarello’s Bottega Gran Fondo, held this weekend near Napa Valley in Northern California. Other guests include former USPS riders George Hincapie, Christian Vande Velde, and Dave Zabriskie, all of whom admitted to USADA to doping while members of Armstrong’s USPS team.
[Full disclosure: Carmichael, and CTS, contributed training columns to VeloNews, off and on, between 2000 and 2012.]
The new material also indicates that Weisel, an investment banker and the former USPS team owner, knew of the PED use on his team, which Weisel has long denied. A message left by VeloNews at Weisel’s office on Thursday was unreturned as of the publishing of this article.
According to USA Today, “Landis’ attorney filed the answers in support of his motion to compel discovery materials from Thomas Weisel, the financier of Armstrong’s U.S. Postal Service cycling team,” perhaps indicating that more may soon be learned from Weisel.
Another name surfaced, as having known of Armstrong’s PED use — that of Mark Gorski, the USPS team general manager and a gold medalist in the individual sprint at the 1984 Olympics.
Neither Gorski, nor Bruyneel, had returned emails from VeloNews on Thursday as of the publishing of this article.