Lance Armstrong seeks '60 Minutes' apology, '60 Minutes' stands by its story

Lance Armstrong is demanding an on-air apology from 60 Minutes after a Swiss anti-doping authority denied a report included in the CBS news show’s report that the seven-time Tour de France winner tested positive for performance enhancers at the 2001 Tour de Suisse, according to the Associated Press. In a segment that aired May 22, Armstrong’s former teammate Tyler Hamilton said that cycling authorities helped Armstrong bury a positive drug test during the 2001 Swiss race. Martial Saugy, the head of the Swiss anti-doping agency, rejected that allegation last week.

In a letter to CBS News chairman and 60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager, Armstrong’s lawyer Elliot Peters wrote, “In the cold light of morning your story was either extraordinarily shoddy, to the point of being reckless and unprofessional, or a vicious hit-and-run job … In either case, a categorical on-air apology is required.”

UPDATE: 60 Minutes has issued a response to Armstrong. See Fager’s comment in full after the jump:

60 Minutes stands by its story as truthful, accurate and fair.  Lance Armstrong and his lawyers were given numerous opportunities to respond to every detail of our reporting for weeks prior to the broadcast and their written responses were fairly and accurately included in the story. Mr. Armstrong still has not addressed charges by teammates Tyler Hamilton and George Hincapie that he used performance enhancing drugs with them.

1) The letter from Keker & Van Nest, Mr. Armstrong’s attorneys, claims that there was no ‘positive’ or ‘suspicious’ test from the 2001 Tour de Suisse: Mr. Armstrong’s teammate, Tyler Hamilton, told 60 Minutes about the 2001 Tour de Suisse test. Included in his interview are the same facts that Hamilton reported under oath to U.S. federal officials under the penalty of perjury.  60 Minutes also reported that the Swiss Anti-Doping Laboratory Director, Dr. Martial Saugy, told U.S. officials and the FBI that that there was a ‘suspicious’ test result from the Tour de Suisse in 2001.  This was confirmed by a number of international officials who have linked the ‘suspicious’ test to Armstrong.  In recent days, Dr. Saugy finally confirmed to the media that there were ‘suspicious’ test results.

2) The letter from Armstrong’s attorneys claims that 60 Minutes was inaccurate in reporting about a meeting between Dr. Saugy, Mr. Armstrong, and former U.S. Postal Team Director, Johan Bruyneel: 60 Minutes reported there was a meeting between Dr. Saugy, Mr. Armstrong and Mr. Bruyneel. Dr. Saugy refused our requests for an interview, but after the broadcast he confirmed that the meeting took place. Mr. Armstrong, after our broadcast, said he couldn’t recall that any such meeting took place.

3) Mr. Armstrong’s lawyers claim our story was ‘shoddy,’ while we found at least three inaccuracies in their letter: They claimed that 60 Minutes reported the meeting took place at the Swiss lab; they claimed that 60 Minutes reported the meeting took place in 2001; and they claimed that 60 Minutes said it was a ‘secret’ meeting. All three are wrong.  David Howman, managing director of the World Anti-Doping Agency, told 60 Minutes that any meeting between Mr.Armstrong, Mr. Brunyeel and the Swiss lab director, Dr. Saugy, would be ‘highly unusual’ and ‘inappropriate.'”

Comments (43 total) Add your comment
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  • Rach

    I didn’t watch this segment on 60 Minutes, but it sounds like these people made allegations and 60 Minutes did not follow up to see if these things were true?
    That seems to be journalism these days – let people say whatever they want without challenging them with facts. So I would not be surprised is 60 Minutes did not follow up.

    • finnyd420

      I watched it and they did say that under plea agreement w/ prosecutors hamilton had to tell thruth & it was same story the DOJ heard, investigated & determined he wasnt lying. im not saying the story is true just that cbs did do their homework & well as they mentioned other sources to back up claim

      • Jennifer Tells it Like it IS

        Cycling is a joke.
        Why are all these people whining as if they have any interest in this garbage sport that nobody in the USA watches?

      • Jesse thinks Jennifer is a d-bag

        You don’t talk for everybody, Summer’s Eve! Some of us admire the sport for the degree of difficulty. Just as I’m sure you find it difficult to get off your lard a$$ and do something constructive and stop making ignorant comments on a chatboard. Have a nice day, Massengill…

      • Swapn

        Teams are super important. I woekrd in a department where the manager had all of his employees tested with the Meyers-Brigg’s personality test. He respected every member of the department and whenever there was a problem that needed solving, he would pull members of the department that had the different strengths into a meeting. He’d give them the problem and then, working together, they were able to see it from many different sides to come up with the best solution to the problem and all felt a sense of ownership to the resolution. The team won.

    • Matt

      The accusation was that Armstrong, after learning he failed the test, BRIBED the anti-doping agency. So regardless of who you want to believe, the denial from the agency doesn’t do much, because why would the agency admit to helping cover something up if they did? He said she said. But please, more of the insane “you can’t trust anyone these days” comments. If you feel like you can’t trust people, maybe play a bigger role in your communities and government, instead of trolling ew.com

      • Lisa G Takes Shts at Work!

        LMAOooooo at Matt. 100% concurrence! Of course they are going to deny it; ole Lance paid them well!

      • Reality

        Matt was bribed to post that accusation. So you can’t believe anything Matt says.

    • Kristen

      Just because Lance Armstrong did not fail a test does not mean he never took performance enhancing drugs. He always states that he has never failed a test and never uses the saying “I have never taken performance enhancing drugs. Big difference.

  • DGH

    What CBS doesn’t fact check their stories this comes as a big shocker.

    • Jeff Wowk

      CBS didn’t get facts wrong here. If you read Matt’s post above, he explains it clearly. You sound like a FOX News’er – where facts are never part of the story.

      • jeffgo5

        So now Matt’s recollection and perception are facts now too? Nice unbiased remark Wowk.

  • JAM

    par for the course these days. The news people don’t care if the story is factual, just that is sensational. Facts don’t get ratings, sensationalism does. they need to incorporate that word ‘investigative’ back into reporting.

  • gill

    tyler hamilton is a loser! only a person whose never met there promise (as is the case with tyler)would try to destroy the reputation of someone who far exceeded theirs. good luck in the future ty, you’re gonna need it.

    • Sam J

      Tyler won an Olympic gold medal. He met his potential. It was on roids, but he’s claiming ALL cyclists do it. CBS or 60 Minutes are the best at reporting facts. Watch the film “The Insider” with Russell Crowe. This is the Jeffrey Wiegant story.

    • joriverdog

      Gil..the only loser here is you

  • tyler

    Blood doping in cycling are running rampant. Everyone does it. To think that Lance is the only one not doing it and still beating everyone that is doping is very naive. All cyclists are competing on the same level since they are all doping. Lance is still the best, but to think he has done it clean is just burying your head in the sand.

    • ks

      Thank you! I was just going to say that.

    • Bwana

      But even granting your assertion, 60 Minutes still needs to offer more as proof than the word of Tyler Hamilton, who not only was busted for doping and used the “vanishing twin” to justify his situation (sounding very much like Dwight Schrute) and has a book coming out. If they wanted to bust Armstrong, the guy they needed to interview was Hincappie.

      Everytime a charge is made against Armstrong that is not airtight it makes him look more the aggrieved party.

      • tyler

        I agree, Tyler Hamilton is not exactly the beacon of truth. You are probably right that 60 minutes should not have run this story based off of his assertions. But I still stand by my statement that Lance could not compete with cyclists that are doping unless he was doing it also. I am still a Lance fan and don’t care that he doped. Everyone in cycling did it. Lance still won on a level playing field.

    • Jelana

      According to 60 minutes and other reports, George Hincapie has now testified that Lance was doping. That pretty much seals it for me.

      • talkin’

        agreed

      • tyler

        Hincapie rules!!!

    • The Truth

      Amen, brother! They are ALL doing it but even if (ha ha ha) Lance was doping, he still won in a doped up but even field.

  • gx

    I’m just amazed that the gas tank of his pickup didn’t explode!

    • Jeff Wowk

      That was Dateline.

  • Irene Duncan

    All sports these days are doping. Anyone who thinks differently is kidding themselves. This whole thing is laughable at best!

  • Tom

    Floyd Landis claimed he was innocent, too. Went around on a media campaign to clear his name. He even duped people into sending him $1 million dollars for his “Floyd Fairness Fund”.

    Turns our he lied. At least he didn’t foist those stupid yellow wristbands on an unsuspecting public…

  • Clete

    Lance Armstrong needs to make an apology to Pee Wee Herman. Didn’t he steal his bike?

  • Leslie

    omg. Do we really believe that Lance never doped? Really? Of course, Lance never doped. And neither did anyone in baseball.

  • Cate

    The thing is there is an investigation under way where the testimony is supposed to be completely sealed. The investigation is not complete, but yet we have multiple “sources” telling us what the truth is and then being repeated throughout the news cycle and then distorted by people on chat boards. I wish that this were being conducted in a more professional manner. I have no love for Tyler Hamilton OR Floyd Landis because they ripped us all off with their denials and waste of people’s money proclaiming their innocence for years, so I would very much like them to go back under the rocks they crawled out of. Meanwhile, Contador is suspected of cheating, but he’ll be able to race the TDF this year. Great.

  • Mya

    The bottom line is Lance and his lawyer were given ample time and opportunity to challenge and stop the CBS report before it aired. To send a weak letter seeking an on air apology, not for the Tyler Hamilton and George Hincapie testimonials about their doping escapades, but solely for the report that he tested positive and it was covered up, speaks volumnes as to their being alot of truth in what was reported. For now only Lance, his helpers, if he had any, and God know what is the whole truth.

  • Ben

    Next week CBS will have a letter they say Armstrong typed himself, proving the allegations,and then it will turn out to be fake.

    Oh wait, Dan Rather doesn’t work there anymore. Nevermind.

  • Datherine

    I was srieolusy at DefCon 5 until I saw this post.

  • viviennewestwood

    Thank you for providing us with such information. Really interesting stuff guys. You made some good points there, I will definitely take care of that. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog. Anyway, this is terrific information to know. Good job on your research too!

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