The Armstrong investigation: what’s the silence mean?

Lance. Why so quiet?

All quiet on the Texan front.

The scent has grown cold on the Armstrong doping trail. No leaks, no case updates, no mention of new witnesses, more leads, impending events, crazy bar fights in Aspen, naked girls. Just made that last part up.

Not a peep from Hamilton or Landis or Hincapie or Lance or Novitzky. Nobody from the UCI or WADA or Interpol throwing out a choice nugget. No more 12 pages exposes in Sports Illustrated or Bicycling Magazine or even Floyd Landis making one last outrageous accusation to mother-confessor Bonnie Ford of ESPN.

Which is kinda weird given the steady stream of dramatic events. We went from high decibel operatic tragedy to dead silence in a matter of weeks. If nothing else, there’s a tremendous sense of withdrawal.

Even Lance mouthpiece, the Master of Disaster Mark Fabiani has essentially given up. No more talk about wasting tax payer dollars or salmonella poisoning. Which was fun but desperate spin right from the git-go.

It’s as if Mad Men, the Sopranos or Breaking Bad was suddenly yanked off the air without warning. A shock to the system. We require, demand, insist on resolution and if not in high-def at least cheesy courtroom.

In any case, the silence got us thinking and at Twisted Spoke all conspiracy theories are entertained and given deep consideration. We read the tea leaves and silence two ways.

1    Silence is just silence. There’s a break in the action, nothing to get worked up about.

2    Investigation finished. Novitzky and his crack team of Armstrong Myth crushers are now in final case prep mode. They’re done with the digging and are simply doing to last legal buff and polish on the thing. Dotting the i’s, shutting judicial loopholes, making things bulletproof before the Lance Rottweilers tear into the documents.

But there’s a third scenario that popped into our head based on this deafening silence. It came to us, as most brilliant and clairvoyant ideas do, on a long bike ride. The nano-second the insight hit, there was a feeling that we might have indeed stumbled on the truth in this nasty and murky game of high stakes fuck-you.

Scenario # 3:

They’re in the process of cutting a deal.

Twisted Spoke can’t help but sense that the noose has finally tightened around the neck of the “most tested athlete in sports.” He’s reached a point past which no lawyer, spin-master, bank of money or intimidation can really help. He’s decided to reach an arrangement with the Feds. Plead a lesser charge, take the fall for a smaller transgression.

We’re guessing that federal and Armstrong lawyers are even now negotiating the settlement. You can only imagine the complications on both sides and the power plays that are playing out. There are plenty of cojones involved when the most famous legend is sports is on the line.

That’s what we’re thinking. Silence is deal time.

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  • Steve Rides

    Are you kidding? Armstrong would never give in or admit to anything that would be suggested by cutting a deal. Not in his DNA. Did you ever see him "gift" a stage or miss an opportunity to send a snarky or vicious tweet in response to even the most light hearted of critiques about him?

    More telling to me have been the waves of comments made by riders and management this season about the "cleaner peleton" that now exists in cycling. This is tacit acknowledgement by so many that there was a "steroid era" in cycling and that perhaps we've now moved past it. Lance was indeed the poster child of doping in cycling ("the Barry Bonds of cycling") regardless of an indictment or not (and I expect one is coming). I only hope that UCI, WADA, sponsors and cycling fans would keep up the pressure and testing and find a way to rid the teams of steroid era managers like Bruyneel (Shack), Rys (Saxo), Riis (BMC). Fat chance on the latter, I know.

  • Silence is due to the lack of spotlight on US cycling. The last two bombs were dropped at the Tour of California. I would expect the next one at the US Pro when all eyes and media will be focusing on US cycling again. Guilty or not I feel sorry for those still in the game that are paying for past transgressions of others.

  • I am still unsure of what purpose this serves… for anyone really? I would like to see an expense report with line items for travel and discovery. Flying a private DoJ jet to Europe a few times is not cheap… and awfully wasteful in my opinion. Note: there has been no action by the DoJ for anything related to the financial crisis… why is that? Why Armstrong instead?

    • Joe it's like being at work. You know you have a really important project but it's a lot more complicated than the trivial daily grind so you just ignore the one that really matters until all hell breaks lose.

  • IdeaStormer Jorge

    It was the le Tour hiatus, everyone was watching the racing after its initial day's of small potatoes doping news, a ransacked QuickStep bus, a BMC support staff with a enough EPO to supply the worlds cancer patients, and an ex Lantern Rouge with some fancy doping material. (yea most of you forgot about that, talk about being swept under a carpet!) Once everyone get their new scripts the show will continue, but there still needs to be a new internet technology to support the new trash talking and Google+ has not lived up to its hype, they are on it but no one is listening.

  • Higgins

    A question from someone who doesnt understand the legal system that well;

    If Armstrong continues to deny doping, and there is no legally admissable forensic evidence to contradict him, can he be convicted purely on the say-so of (any number of) ex-team mates and associates ?

    This seems dubious to me. There must be more than circumstancial and verbal evidence to secure a conviction, or we are all damned. In the end, proving Armstrong cheated must rely on viable test results, not on the (possibly true) 'revelations' from Landis et al.

    I may be wrong, please explain if I am.

  • Maddog205

    Maybe Jeff Novitsky is having a break down after losing the Roger Clemmons case. Or maybe the USADA “team” member, the old jerk from Minnesota, who exposed himself to a young law school student is being ostracized. It is time for this story to go away. It is common knowledge that the 1984 US Olympic Cycling Team was so “dirty” that it is amazing they did not have a fatality-this is not worth rehashing because it won’t do Novitsky’s career the boost he wants. Novitsky is an over-aggressive prosecutor and it’s all about him. Now Greg LeMond has weighed in; better to shut up. Let’s just leave it that Lance passed the tests, regardless of the laboratory standards, and move on.