By EDDIE PELLS, Associated Press
Lance Armstrong tried to treat it like any other day.
The world-renowned cyclist was at the office of his cancer-fighting foundation, "talking about next week's events and plans for 2013," he said on Twitter.
But Thursday was different. It was the day after the evidence came out — a voluminous report from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that painted him as a drug-using bully at the center of what the group called the biggest doping conspiracy ever concocted in sports.
The fallout from the agency's version of events, and its raft of supporting documents, started coming down in small bites from friends, foes, supporters and detractors around the globe.
Twitter posts with the "livestrong" hash tag — the name of Armstrong's charitable foundation — seemed to be running about 50-50, from those who thought the USADA report cemented Armstrong as a fraud, to those who didn't care and admire him for the millions of dollars he has raised for cancer research.
Either way, there was no denying the impact of the report, which provides USADA's justification for ordering Armstrong's seven Tour de France titles stripped. The weight of 26 witnesses, including 11 ex-teammates, forced people to reach a conclusion about the rider.
"This is as if Mount Everest just showed up in his front yard," said Daniel Coyle, author of "Lance Armstrong's War" and "The Secret Race," which he wrote with Tyler Hamilton, a former teammate and witness against Armstrong.
"The detail is crystal clear," Coyle said. "And each of the stories perfectly aligns. The details are so clear, you can't imagine anyone making it up. The voices you hear in the affidavits are remarkable, persuasive, precise and not, in every case, reluctant."
After cancelling an appearance scheduled in Chicago for Friday, Armstrong visited his foundation headquarters in Austin, Texas, for about 30 minutes in the morning, chatting informally with employees and looking for a place to hang a new painting he recently added to his personal art collection. The USADA report did not come up in conversation, foundation spokeswoman Katherine McLane said.
The head of the foundation, Doug Ulman, said he had received several messages of support and Armstrong would carry the banner for the foundation.
"He's our biggest advocate and always will be," Ulman said.
Armstrong's support stretched to the other side of the globe.
At the Tour of Beijing, 2008 Olympic road race champion Samuel Sanchez said "until the contrary is proved, he remains innocent."
"Lance has overcome many controls and even until today, he has never been found positive in any of them," Sanchez said. "So about all the accusations that have been poured against him, we have to see, what is the goal of all of them, whether it is an economic motive or they want to harm his image. We still need to wait to see what's the final decision taken by the UCI," the International Cycling Union.
UCI will be one of the next major players to act. While USADA says Armstrong's lifetime ban and the stripping of his seven Tour de France titles is in effect, UCI insists it has a say in that, as well. Long skeptical of the USADA investigation and having made statements sympathetic toward Armstrong, UCI has three weeks to appeal the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
UCI said it is reviewing the case and hopes to decide how to proceed soon.
There's an awful lot to review — a 200-page novel-like description of the steps Armstrong took to advance his career using PEDs, along with more than 800 pages in supporting evidence, including affidavits from the 11 teammates and 15 others who contributed to the USADA report.
Among the details that Coyle called too good to make up: Cyclist Dave Zabriske's song, sung to the tune of "Purple Haze," about the blood-boosting drug EPO.
But some of the most corrosive evidence involves Armstrong in his role as a bully — telling his teammates to either get with the doping program or get lost.
Zabriske said cycling, at first, was a way for him to escape a difficult home life with his drug-addicted father. He vowed never to take drugs himself.