Everyone has an opinion about Lance Armstrong’s confession and most of what we read in the media is in agreement that he’s a lying scumbag who deserves to be locked up for life. There are so many people that Lance affected in different ways – from cycling fans, to cancer survivors, to reporters, to the people who he rolled over when they got in the way. Each have their own reasons for being angry, but my gut tells me that there are still an overwhelming number of Lance fans out there who are staying silent right now. I received an email from a reader yesterday who echoed the sentiments of dozens of other cyclists I’ve spoken to over the past few days…
I am a hack- lets get that off the table asap. However… I am a fan of cycling and with over 25 years in the game; from retail to competition; to adventures from early days in NZ; slogging wet windy shitty days of living and racing in Belgium to cummquott tours of Europe, I wanted to get a few things off my chest.
1. Every A, B, C…. grader with an opinion sat up watching Lance, buying lance ‘stuff’, reading Lance stuff boring mates at a BBQ about Lance……….we are over them. Who wouldn’t want to win the tour, date hot chicks, hang out with Bono in the South of France……………
2. He was, is, will always be one of the greatest freaks of nature in sport that we have ever seen- Ask Mike Pigg how LA went once upon a USTS tri series when we were kids was toasted by the teenager. Ask Mark Allen, Scott Tinley, Scott Molina, Dave Scott……….give the guy a break. He was a gun. And I very much doubt our friends at AMGEN (thats a different story) were on ‘staff’ at 16/17 when he flogged the best of the best in that ‘other’ sport’.
3. When will all of the bike shop owners, federations, charities, tour operators, media, publishers etc etc all just come ‘clean’ and say he was the greatest thing in the world for business???
4. Have we forgotten the ‘champions’ of the generation he entered weren’t exactly saints and have never, and will never come clean. Oh dear, where do we start there???
5. We crucify Matt White, but dont have the courage to ask about a few other 90’s australian pros that have yet to come clean on their ‘Spanish employment obligations’. Come on fella’s its time. And if one current outspoken ex Aus pro who used to ‘dial’ a similar number (phones that is, if you know what I mean) is in the same denial, maybe give a former team mate a call across the Tasman.
6. Lets face it. We loved him, still do and always will. Shame on the sponsors deserting him after making gazzilions from his winning- I mean, Giro, Oakley, Trek, Shimano, Nike didn’t know??? We have ALL bought their stuff because of LA.
7. Oh and yes, he still won. Beat the other cheats and the ones who are shitty about racing him clean were never going to win the tour anyway. Lets face it- ‘glowing’ or not, was he really that lucky to win 7. I mean 23,000 odd Km of ‘luck’. mmmm he was better than that.
8. Shame on anyone who is in Adelaide this week waxing lyrical but not thanking the high flying Aus pro’s and the drug cheat from Austin didn’t put the TDU and Adelaide on the map. I’m just hoping he is wearing those RM’s gifted to him at the final TDU.
9. Oh and just as an aside, as you all rush off on the selfish jerk path; This guy beat cancer, he can’t fudge that, and has since raised over $500M in cancer funding. Yep like Jed found oil, LA found 500 mil for the bigger cause. And even if he’d finished top 50 at the tour after beating cancer he can have my donation year after year.
10. I reckon he’d still win the sprint at the clock tower!
So in summary CT, I think everyone needs to get a grip. Lance Armstrong made cycling what we enjoy today and as much as it pains me to point it out- Merckx was a little, um, well ‘compromised’ in some of his decisions on drugs and he’s considered the greatest of all time.We just cant retrospectively test his samples.
Love ya work mate.
The cycling fan in me agrees with a lot of what Gmac has to say, however I recognise a larger moral dilemma; Does the end justify the means? A large part of me says that Lance was the catalyst who helped make cycling what it is today, and I’ve spoken to people who’ve experienced first hand the tremendous work that Livestrong does. Would the world be a better place if Lance had never come back from cancer? Yes, I understand the underlying ethics behind this, but keep in perspective that this is only sport, nothing more.
What are your thoughts?