Cycling Odds: Will Lance Armstrong Admit to Cheating?
by Richard Gardner | Bodog Sportsbook Manager - 5/26/2011
He’s a heroic cancer survivor to some and an unrepentant cheater to others. The fact is, seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong might just be both.
During Sunday’s 60 Minutes program on CBS, it was revealed that three of Armstrong’s teammates had told a federal grand jury that they saw Armstrong take performance enhancing drugs.
“He took what we all took,” said Tyler Hamilton. “There was EPO, there was testosterone. And I did see a transfusion, a blood transfusion.”
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If it wasn’t Armstrong that Hamilton was accusing, this wouldn’t be a big deal. Cycling has as many cheaters in its recent history as baseball. Maybe even more. However, Armstrong has vehemently denied these allegations over and over, even though cheating was once part of the culture of the sport, if it isn’t still part of the culture.
Armstrong’s denials continued through a statement by Armstrong’s attorney, Mark Fabiani, following the 60 Minutes report.
“Throughout this entire process, CBS has demonstrated a serious lack of journalistic fairness and has elevated sensationalism over responsibility,” Fabiani said. “CBS chose to rely on dubious sources while completely ignoring Lance’s nearly 500 clean tests and the hundreds of former teammates and competitors who would have spoken about his work ethic and talent.”
And that leads us to the betting aspect of this story. At Bodog, we’re asking the question, will Armstrong publicly admit to using performance enhancing drugs this year? If you think he will, we’ll give you +300 odds.
So far we haven’t had many bettors willing to risk their money on an Armstrong confession. Perhaps they think he’s innocent of all charges, although I think it’s more likely they just don’t believe he’d ever admit to cheating, no matter how much evidence was piled up against him.
What bettors have been more willing to wager is that Nike will drop Armstrong in 2011. After all, a sponsor doesn’t need to be 100 percent certain that one of its representatives has acted unethically. If that person is hurting the brand more than helping, then it’s time to part ways.
Nike doesn’t appear to have reached that point quite yet, which isn’t surprising when you consider how much money it has invested in Armstrong.
"Our relationship with Lance remains as strong as ever," the company said in a statement. "We are proud to work with him and support his foundation. Nike does not condone the use of banned substances and Lance has been unwavering on that position as well."
Nike’s been down a similar road with Tiger Woods, who lost a number of sponsors after his less than stellar behavior was revealed. But he didn’t lose Nike.
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