Amidst all the charges, counter-charges, rumors, and speculations about this matter, there are three things I'm actually sure of:
1. Either Armstrong was relatively clean OR drug-testing was a joke for most of the decade he was doing his winning. Pretty much has to be one or the other, no? Neither reflects all that well on the anti-doping agencies.
2. Everybody has an agenda here, with money and prestige on the line, and that includes the USADA. They could still be 100% right, but the USADA is as concerned about their "brand" as Armstrong is about his. The media has a stake in this too - Armstrong and doping charges draws eyeballs. (I almost wrote "sells papers" but nothing does that anymore.)
3. The most important question in the current Armstrong case doesn't actually have anything to do with Armstrong. The most important question is what impact will this case have on anti-doping efforts going forward? Armstrong's legacy, one way or the other, isn't going to impact the 2012 Olympics or 2016 Olympics much at all (to pick two major sets of sporting events). What can impact those events (and others) quite a lot is how drug-testing is done and cases adjudicated. How this case plays out has the potential to influence that. There could be some positives to come out ... okay, poor word choice ... there could be some good things to come out of this for sports as a whole. This case should shine a real bright light on how doping charges are handled by the USADA. Do people get due process? Is the agency, you know, competent? Or are reforms needed to strike a better balance between catching dopers on the one hand and not railroading the innocent on the other? Let's use the Armstrong case to get a better idea about the answers to those questions. And let's look at the testing issue - even taking the USADA's word as gospel on this case, Armstrong seems to have beaten the tests hundreds of times, and admitted dopers have also beaten numerous tests. So what kind of improvements might be made to the testing approach? I mean, fool me once, shame on you, fool me 500 times and maybe we should rethink things, no?
Bottom line: As this case proceeds, I think we should be watching it with a focus on the question of What can we learn from this that will help us do a better and fairer job going forward?