Do I think he doped? While I think it is possible to use illegal substances and somehow “beat” the tests for a little while, at some point there would come a hiccup – a missed moment where the “cover” becomes cracked. It’s that hiccup that has led to investigations and ultimately the downfall of those using the substances. Like Marion Jones. Like Tyler Hamilton. Like Floyd Landis. Among others.
I don’t think there can be an operation in place (yet), with enough consistency (yet), to “beat” the advances in technology that have occurred over the last fifteen years.
During the years Lane rode (and won!) the Tour, there were always the question – from people wondering how he could have won the tour after having had cancer. A valid concern, understandable considering the amount of medications and chemicals he had pumped into his body during the course of the treatments. But, as Lance has mentioned several times, he never failed a drug screen.
Here’s my understanding about how the UCI drug screens work. The obvious ones: you win a stage, or are in the Yellow Jersey, you get tested. Each day of the event. (Remember – the Tour is three weeks long.) Similar standards for any other event participated in. Then comes the off season. The athletes (riders) have to file their plans – vacation, major trips, etc. – and at any time could get a knock at their door and have to pee in a cup. Any time.
There has been a lot of speculation over the inquisition that the USADA launched against Armstrong, from one of the judges reviewing one of the motions to former 5-time Champion Miguel Indurain. Personally, I don’t really get it either. It didn’t really kick up until after some time after he retired (the first time), and the only information that has been released have been interviews with Hamilton and Landis.
Until there is proof – 100% unavoidable evidence, not just USADA theory – I am still in Lance’s corner.