Bringing back the Cycling Cap one Domestique at a time

Showing posts with label Doping. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Doping. Show all posts

About Armstrong...

Fans continue to fan, haters continue to hate. Truly polarizing figures don't come in bigger packages than Texan Lance Armstrong.

Lance Armstrong, the survivor, who overcame testicular cancer and returned to, of all sports, Pro-Tour Cycling.


Lance Armstrong, winner of an unprecedented and record seven straight Tour de France maillots jaunes. 


Lance Armstrong, founder of the Livestrong Foundation; responsible for helping cancer patients and furthering cancer research.


Lance Armstrong, Father of the Yellow Wristband.


Lance Armstrong, The doper.


On the 17th of January, 2013, Armstrong finally pulled a 180 and admitted what many people either knew or, at the very least, suspected: that he used performance enhancing substances and blood transfusions to win... something he vehemently denied countless times in the past. 




 One may agree with Armstrong's statement that winning without doping is not possible 'in that generation'; that everyone else does it. But putting it bluntly...IT'S JUST NOT RIGHT. All this does is make fans of top level competitive cycling fools for worshiping fake, amped up idols. 


The thrill of all sport is watching these superhumans we call athletes compete, outdo each other, beat each other up and elevate themselves above the rest. But where is that thrill now? Knowing that the victor won not because he was the best but because he had the best doping doctor and most sophisticated blood doping scheme outside East Germany behind him? 


That Armstrong coerced teammates to 'follow the behavior' (as alleged by some former teammates) is taking all of this to a whole different level. It's one thing to dope your person, but to forcibly inject erythropoietin into your teammate to prevent him from ratting out, is another matter altogether. This paints a portrait of a man who does not give a crap about anything but himself. Not the sport, not his teammates, nothing. Only himself. Armstrong denies this and attributes his teammates' doping to peer pressure and his bullying, but as he himself said, he's not the most believable person in the world right now. 


In the end, all this seems like a calculated attempt at a give and take. Lance confesses, authorities let him race again. 

I honestly don't know what he's smoking but confessing to a talk show host or anywhere outside of an official investigation doesn't really count for much. This is Armstrong still trying to get what he wants... to control the playing field. 


That's what that confessional to Oprah was about. Controlling the field. No contrition, no revelations, no gory details. Just dipping his toe in, tossing little bits and pieces, an checking how the water ripples.


The obviousness of it all is underwhelming. 

Armstrong is hoping the confession will merit a reduction of his lifetime ban to 8 years. By retroactively enforcing this to 2005, when he last 'crossed the line', Armstrong is not so subtly looking for his suspension to be over this year. In which case he can join races again. Of course USADA tests still flag Armstrong's post 2005 as doped...


It's not all bad though.

To his credit,  Armstrong got a lot of attention for Cycling as a sport.  People took notice, bought their first bikes rode it as a means of getting fit. His Livestrong Foundation, is alive, kicking and in the forefront of the fight against cancer. For these alone, the man deserves a second thought before being written off. 

As to the people he stepped on utterly destroyed with his brutal rebuttals, he should do the right thing... reparations of court earnings perhaps? Or maybe at least make amends or apologies.  


In the end, Cycling's greatest modern hero may have done the greatest damage to it. If he truly cares for the sport as much as he says he does, he should man up and do his part to clean it up. Get rid the stigma which equates peloton to dopaton. 


That's what a real hero would do.

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