Travis Tygart, CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), gave an interview to the French L’Equipe in which he said he’d received death threats.
That wasn’t the scary part, though. It was Tygart’s quote about the negative impact the public release of the USADA files will have on Lance Armstrong: “Terrible. Thirty times greater than everything that has come out until now, through books or investigations.”
Given the detailed claims in Tyler Hamilton’s Secret Race about Armstrong’s doping at US Postal, it’s hard to believe things could get thirty times worse for the ex-seven time Tour de France champion.
We would have put the number at nine — based on USADA’s assertion they have ten witnesses, then subtracting Hamilton who already has his book out. Thirty is a big number but Tygart has proven himself a very shrewd character — so when he picks a number that high, watch out.
It’s not too surprising that The Man Who Killed Lance Armstrong has been getting death threats. The Texan has an evangelist following and people do crazy things when desperation sets in. Twisted Spoke wouldn’t be surprised if there were four death threats — an extra one from UCI president Pat McQuaid, who also stands to lose when testimony is releases.
The curiosity for us is why Johan Bruyneel did not follow Lance’s lead and essentially refuse to accept the USADA ruling. Instead Bruyneel is contesting the evidence and wants a hearing before the arbitration board — a public hearing in which Armstrong can be called to testify under oath.
“I don’t know what Bruyneel is hoping for, he has everything to lose,” said Tygart. “He will be heard before the end of the year, and the hearing will be public.” Our guess is that Bruyneel will shortly change his mind.
According to Tygart, the evidence against Armstrong will soon be headed to UCI headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland for Pat McQuaid’s bedtime reading. “It’s imminent,” said Tygart. “We will transmit the files at the end of this month.”
The embattled UCI president has insisted that he is not against sanctioning Armstrong but is currently busy suing journalist Paul Kimmage, a frequent critic of the UCI’s anti-doping efforts.
When the Armstrong testimony hits the public, it should be quite a reality show. “This affair is much greater that only the Armstrong case. We’re talking about a real conspiracy inside US Postal. Perfectly organised, with many actors involved. Many of which have confessed, which will not prevent them from being suspended – moderately,” said Tygart.
Who knows if Tygart is right on his “30 times greater” guess. Like Armstrong with his “500 doping tests passed,” that number might be off by about 50%. Numbers are tricky things but there’s no question the final bomb is about to go off.