The USADA testimony on Lance Armstrong and the most sophisticated doping system in sports was quite an impressive set of legal documents. It was also perhaps one of the finest sports novels ever written.
Twisted Spoke would like to know the name of the person who wrote the report. It’s a masterful job that mixed human drama, science, investigative reportage, a dazzling array of characters wrestling with moral and ethical dilemmas.
As a case file and a sports tragedy, this sweeping story is told in a well-structured and thoughtful manner and clearly lays out the testimony and implications. On pure writing quality, this is the best tale we’ve read other than Daniel Coyle’s book Armstrong’s War.
It’s not just the comprehensive and carefully documented evidence — what strengthened the force of the arguments is the tone and writing style. It’s not just a great presentation, it’s an enjoyable read.
The quality of the writing is also representative of the manner in which USADA has approached the entire investigation into Armstrong and the doping system at US Postal and Discovery that he and Johan Bruyneel built.
The story and testimony are so compelling that one of the many immediate questions from nearly everyone is how attorney Andre Birotte Jr shut down the federal investigation of Armstrong. So far Mr. Birotte has refused comment and already Velonews has made a Freedom of Information Act request to the Justice Department.
When Birotte backed down, almost everyone — including Twisted Spoke — assumed that was the last chance, they’d never bring Armstrong to justice, the Myth would live on forever. If the Feds couldn’t beat the Armstrong legal machine, how was a doping agency going to manage the colossal task?
We got the final answer to that question yesterday when the USADA report was made public but from day one, Travis Tygart and the people have been on top of their game.
They pushed on when Birotte chickened out and managed to gathered evidence from 24 witnesses including a dozen from Armstrong’s cycling teams. They skillfully destroyed the arguments from Armstrong’s PR and legal teams. They make the UCI look pathetic and unprofessional and won their jurisdiction battle. At every stage of the battle, they were several strategic steps ahead of the Boss.
That’s why the term “reasoned decision” is so well chosen and appropriate. This was a methodical, comprehensive, well-organized and skillfully presented case. As one smart person tweeted yesterday, if all doping agencies did their job was well as USADA, the cycling world would be a far better place.
While Lance Armstrong makes the astonishing claim that he’s “unaffected,” chances are he’s the only one. Kudos to Travis Tygart and his USADA team for accomplishing what most observers thought was the impossible.
Well-done and yes, well-written. A novel this good really does deserve a better looking cover.