Originally Posted by Graystoke
The latest rumor is that Lance had UCI over a barrel because they missed some pretty big indicators, in testing, that would have gave him early diagnosis of his Testicular Cancer.
After the Festina affair in 1998 (?) I think the UCI just needed a feelgood story and hero. Lance the kid from a broken home, cancer survivor etc.. What they got was a big bully who would cheat and lie at any cost.
This is gonna get a whole lot bigger for Lance.
Festina was 98.
UCI wanted someone to open the coffers of the US market. Nobody in Europe, and specifically France since that's the only race he ever really cared about, wanted an American to dominate. Pretty much everyone in Europe hated LA cancer or no (mostly because he was an asshole, also somewhat because he was American). UCI could care less about the feel good aspect except for the fact that it got even more people in the US market on board. My feeling is they protected him because he was winning, he was from the US and they saw untapped $$$ potential.
I'm a bit confused as to how the cancer thing would have UCI over a barrel (I've not heard the rumors you're talking about, but that would be a big ass barrel) as it seems that would be more of a miss for team/personal doctors. Given the information that's come out (payments to Ferrari as early as February 96; cancer diagnosis was October of the same year), it would be especially hard to believe that personal/team doctors and Ferrari weren't privy to ANY health info UCI could get from testing since they were interested in beating those tests.
I think UCI had plenty of their own reasons to be complicit in this without needing to be held over a barrel. Just saying that gives UCI waaaaaay more moral credit than they deserve, but I love a good conspiracy theory as much as anyone.