Will the Truth Set Us Free?

by CycleChick on January 18, 2013

I’m spent. After so much talk, speculation, and analysis, the confession finally comes. After years of denial, lawsuits, threats and soap boxing, Lance Armstrong has finally admitted publicly that he doped. Of course for many of us, this was no revelation. Beyond the court of public opinion, he had already been found guilty and stripped of seven tour victories. And yet, he still refused to confess.

The suddenly, inexplicably, he decided to bare all to Oprah Winfrey. Of all people. Not the UCI, WADA, or USDA. Oprah. Fucking. Winfrey. As I watched the first part of the interview last night, I saw a man not defiant, but not quite contrite either. But truthfully, there would not have been much he could have said or done to erase the years of corruption and deceit and make me feel anything other than contempt. There were some shocking moments – like trying to joke about losing track of how many people he’s sued for telling the truth. And moments where you knew he was still lying. Because he is really, really good at it. He’s had lots of practice.

“I’m so sick of this.”

“They were all doing it.”

“Why are you even watching? Let it go – it’s time to move on.”

“Why do you even care?”

I’ve heard it all. Why do I care? Because as you may have figured out, I love cycling. And  this was probably the biggest moment in cycling history. The stripped victories, the confession, all of it.

Why do I care? I care because he has made a mockery of the sport of love. And now it’s future is uncertain. Fifteen years of cycling history have been all but erased. If the UCI is implicated in a coverup, the International Olympic Committee could drop cycling from the Olympic program.

This confession will likely hit Armstrong where it hurts the most – his bank account. He stands to lose millions – or rather be forced to pay back the millions he has been given under false pretences, including the 17 million dollars he made from suing the people who dared to accuse him of doping. Oh, and from now on he can only race in the citizen category.

Feel bad for Lance? Don’t.

Feel bad for the riders who rode clean, who’s names nobody knows.

Feel bad for all the people who had to find out slowly, agonizingly, that their hero was a liar, a bully and a cheat.

Feel bad for my good friends Phil and Carolyn who travel to Huston every year to support the Livestrong Challenge and defended him to the end, who will now face a barrage of “I told you so’s”

Feel bad for the cancer foundations that will suffer by association from the scandal.

Feel bad for the those cyclists who’s exceptional performances – past, present and future – will always be questioned.

Yes, it’s time to move on. Yes, I still love cycling and will continue watch the Tour de France, write this blog, and ride the shit out of my bike. I will defend the sport that many now think is a joke. I will also choose my cycling heroes more carefully, and always with the slightest shadow of suspicion.

So yes, there will be a lot of talk about this over the next little while. And yes, it will be tiresome, repetitive and frustrating. But is is also very, very important – so be patient. I believe the truth will, eventually, set us free.

Photo: The Washington Post

26 comments

Well said, as Nicole Cooke said as she retired http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/20946301 we will never know what great, clean, champions we might of had.
Maybe road (still clinging to the hope track is clean) cycling has to get kicked out of the Olympics and prove itself to get back in, in the way wrestling had to.

by Sean Massey on January 18, 2013 at 3:44 pm. Reply #

The Livestrong Challenge in Austin has always been about supporting the Livestrong Foundation and we will continue to support the Foundation.

“Livestrong is not about one person. It is about the millions of people facing cancer who need the support as they fight the toughest battle of their lives”

~Carolyn~

by Carolyn Campeau on January 18, 2013 at 3:59 pm. Reply #

If Lance shows up at Menno Cross in the citizen category, I am SO tripping him on the way up the bunker. Then there’s guy that finished 4th in Time Trial at the 2000 Olympics. Does UPS show up at his door with Lance’s bronze? What a cluster fuck. The record books will be dotted with *

* horse’s ass /cheated / stripped of medal

by John Heim on January 18, 2013 at 4:17 pm. Reply #

Aside from the direct damage he’s done to many people’s careers and reputations, and to the reputation of cycling as a sport itself in the public eye, the thing that really bothers me is how the media treats cycling in this story. It gets the broad brush tar and feather routine, cycling is the dirtiest of sports, etc. Really? Cast just a slightly critical eye on any of the North American pro sports, Euro soccer/football, athletics, swimming, x-country skiing, cricket, darts – you get the idea. I would like to see a more balanced coverage of cycling in the overall world of sports, rather than the vilification it currently gets.

by Trevor on January 18, 2013 at 4:29 pm. Reply #

This blanket coverage leads to uninformed public opinion such as the following comment from the Free Press today:
“Every single one of them doped. And he still beat them all time and again. Sour grapes for the losers I’m thinking. “

by Trevor on January 18, 2013 at 5:00 pm. Reply #

I forgot to add, watch the body language in this interview, and the other clips of him from the past. While I am not a police officer, I’ve been informed that in their training in interrogation they are shown that when a suspect is lying, they will very often look down at the ground to their right while formulating their answer. Hmmm . . 2009/2010 doping, didn’t force others into doping program, etc.

by Trevor on January 18, 2013 at 4:40 pm. Reply #

Lance at MennoCross will NOT happen. Floyd, on the other hand, would be a totally different story. And if anyone trips him, there will be hell to pay.

by The Dark Lord on January 18, 2013 at 5:02 pm. Reply #

At this point what matters to me is that Livestrong carries on “strong” they help children every year in their fight against a horrible disease. Every year in Austin I hurt watching a few of these kids take part in a pedicab. I will continue to wear my yellow wrist band and not in shame. Remembering always that one flawed human being with a heart started something that will hopefully outlast shine his very human flaws.

by Phil on January 18, 2013 at 5:27 pm. Reply #

I’m sure Livestrong will carry on, but I’m also pretty sure they’re marketing team is looking to rebrand and at the very least make Live Strong two words instead of one that resembles and reminds everyone of HIM. I can’t look at the yellow shirts/wrist bands without getting a little sour.

by Browny on January 18, 2013 at 5:37 pm. Reply #

Lance played by the rules and won. No shame in that at all. The shame lies with how he had to slander so many people to beat the Euros at the game they invented. And the media/sponsor circus that was perfectly happy to ride his gravy train until it started to go lumpy.

He’s still the gnarliest rider ever, and no asterisk can take that away from him (or cycling).

by Matt Warburton on January 18, 2013 at 9:29 pm. Reply #

The exact same drug, in the exact same quantity given to 10 people can have a different effect on all 10 of them. So the level playing field argument still doesn’t wash, even if one were to argue that every single rider in all 7 years took the exact same PED’s in the same quantities.
I have no respect for any of the doping idiots no matter what country they’re from. Including Merckx who won a handful of pro races as well…i think it was 525? How many did Lance have prior to being stripped of all of them? Less than 60 I believe? There’s a ton of guys with more pro wins than Lance.

by terry macyk on January 18, 2013 at 11:07 pm. Reply #

For me, the doping and lying about it are the least of his transgressions. He’s still not owning up to the bullying, the intimidation, or the threats. He destroyed people without the slightest bit of compassion or remorse.

In the interview, he said a number of times “Yeah, I’m a dick”, with just a hint of a smirk. It totally reminded me of the apology I got when an asshole jock I dated in college cheated on me. Armstrong is no more sorry for what he did than that asshole jock was.

I hope they both get jobs at the same Taco Bell.

by CycleChick on January 18, 2013 at 11:23 pm. Reply #

Taco Bell is too good for both of them. Those soft tacos are delicious!

And I totally agree with you WCC. When it comes to Lance in particular, doping barely ranks when it comes to the shitty things he’s done.

by terry macyk on January 18, 2013 at 11:30 pm. Reply #

I’d like to see Lance and Floyd duke it out in an old school bare knuckle fight. The smart money would be on Floyd – he looks like a pretty mean drunk.

by CycleChick on January 18, 2013 at 11:26 pm. Reply #

Lance the gnarlisest rider of All Time? Are you kidding? Two words? Eddie (eff’n) Merckx. And Lindsay Gauld. No further discussion.

by Colin on January 19, 2013 at 12:17 am. Reply #

I’m pretty sure if I knew Lance personally that I would think he was best avoided. But I don’t know him personally and that’s why I would never allow him to be a hero of mine. I make an effort to a) not put anybody on a pedestal and b) learn to admire specific qualities of people I actually know. Many of the people reading this are whom I admire. Some of you are stoic and choose your wisely. Some of you are driven from within to be leaders of men. Some of you are quick with kind words in a crappy situation. Some of you are generous when a brother or sister is in need. And some of you stroke a brother’s hair when he tries to cut his leg off (you know who you are).

Anyway, I know the above might sound off topic, but my point is that Lance Armstrong matters a lot. But not to me.

by Graham on January 19, 2013 at 2:04 am. Reply #

Wise words from The Awesome One. Thank you. I don’t think I am stoic, driven, kind or generous. But if you ever attempt to cut your leg off again, and I happen to be present, I would be happy to stroke your hair. Or, rather, tell G that he should probably stroke your hair.

by CycleChick on January 19, 2013 at 4:00 am. Reply #

Nice guys rarely finish first. That’s the reality of being a multiple TdF winner. You piss people off and step on whatever heads and shoulders are required to get to that goal. Some people are willing to be part of that process, some aren’t.

I’m not saying its right (or wrong), it’s just the way it is, and that’s the playing field that Lance engaged with when he went to Europe to ride.

By level playing field I mean the Euros were all taking drugs (some really benefiting, others not so much), so Lance knew he had to as well. He just did it better than them, and it was that fact that the French really hated him for I think. He beat them at their own game. The one with the unwritten rules.

That all said, seeing a guy like Ryder Hesjedal succeed gives one hope, but I fear it will be a rarity.

by Matt Warburton on January 19, 2013 at 2:29 am. Reply #

I think Lance (and by “Lance” I mean the whole dirty machine) poured gasoline on a smouldering fire. What was probably bush league and half-baked became the norm – something necessary not just to win, but to compete. The French were (for the most part) anti-doping and hence their hatred of him. As things have started to clean up, the French are back in the game. Not a coincidence.

Ryder is the shit. I am so proud he is Canadian. And yet unfortunately I must say that cautiously and with some troubling whispers of doubt.

by CycleChick on January 19, 2013 at 4:07 am. Reply #

I was a hard core Lance fan, jersey’s, posters, hats, helmets, hell I even bought an old 8 speed carbon USPS 5200. That initial batch of 2 million yellow bracelets, yup had one before they became popular.

Before all this banning for life, taking of the seven jerseys an the Oprah interview, I knew he doped. I justified it like so many others, saying that was what the playing field was. He beat them at their game.

When Tyler’s book the secret race came out I bought an read it out of curiosity. The tales were so outlandish that it really was not probable that they were made up. Don’t get me wrong, I am no huge fan of Tyler. Some parts of his book are a good read, but at times it seems it said “Yup, I’m wrong, but look at these others that did it”. Like Landis Their accountability gets skewed by being so busy sweeping someone else’s walk instead of their own. The one new thing I got about Armstrong was that he was not just a win at all cost person, but a bully, a very mean an destructive bully. Maybe I always knew it, but reading some ones else’s take on it was enlightening. He wasn’t happy with winning or beating someone, even off the bike, in personal matters he felt the need to crush an destroy people. All who opposed him, he burned. Yeah a little dramatic, but you get the idea. I don’t feel like lance duped me, but more so disappointed in myself for overlooking an excusing his actions for so long.

Armstrong, like so many caught in a lie,do not an will not give up everything all at once. The gates open, they come to terms with it, an open the gates some more. I read an article quoting Tyler Hamilton today where Tyler said its a good first step for Lance. Tyler would know!

The best thing said during part 1 or 2 came in part 2. Oprah asked him if he felt remorse. Lance replied, “I feel remorse, but I’m just starting”. We all are only human an I do believe people can change. I’ve seen it, lived it.

It’s no longer about the bike, the future will be about Lance the person. How an what he does moving forward will dictate an reveal what type of man he is to become now. I no longer measure him for what he achieved in the past, but for what he does now.

I’m hopefully he finds his way to a better an happier life.

by Darren on January 19, 2013 at 5:53 am. Reply #

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2013/jan/14/nicole-cooke-retirement-statement
I posted it before, someone else sent a related post, but a good reminder why cyclists and fans should be mad. I am also annoyed that this thing has gotten so much coverage and headlines. Because of doping and Lance, cycling funding has been cut back, and women’s got hit worst because it matters less to sponsors, and a much smaller pool. No more tour de france for women. Nicole Cooke won TWICE.

I never paid much attention to the tour de france, but Lance made it exciting, he had moxy, he had charm, he impressed. I seriously believe he may be a sociopath/psychopath. Many in power are, many of the 1% are. I’ve been around enough to know how they operate, but gosh, we get fooled time and time again. Watching a recent documentary with footage of Lance testifying at various hearings convinced me of this. HIs ability to lie was very impressive, but he was lying and will see if he is still lying. Psychopaths do not feel empathy or emotions the way most of us do, it at all. They think nothing of doing whatever it takes to get what they want, hence charming the pants off people, while the next instant plotting to destroy anyone in their way. I also read a quote from his aunt or something whom called him a complete asshole. back when he was started out.
He perjured himself big time, yet failed to really give details.
One reason he apparently did this interview because he so badly wants to compete in elite races, that he cannot live without competing. Boo hoo!
Maybe most people were doping and he was just following along, but certainly as a cancer survivor and role model he had plenty of reasons to race clean. I have read that the tour de france time limits are actually not long enough and too gruelling for even the best athletes to race without help, so maybe there need to be more realistic rules and time frames?

by Heather on January 21, 2013 at 2:32 am. Reply #

Don’t hate the player…..Hate the game!

by wayne bishop on January 21, 2013 at 2:13 pm. Reply #

Honestly, I cannot hate either. But I also do not buy that Armstrong was a merely a victim of a circumstance. All of the riders of that era were in the same boat, faced with the same pressures. Some caved to that pressure and some did not. But Armstrong was different. Armstrong commanded this corrupt era with ruthless tactics and without remorse. This will forever be known as “The Armstrong Era” for good (or bad) reason. Not to say he acted alone… the coaches, doctors, managers, and governing bodies all have to be held accountable for at best turning a blind eye, at worst being complicit to a massive 15 year coverup.

Thankfully, I have confidence that cycling will eventually recover and be restored to some legitimacy in spite of the completely self-serving tyranny of Armstrong and his accomplices.

by CycleChick on January 21, 2013 at 2:56 pm. Reply #

Despite everything I still really want to see Lance compete in Triathalon. Testing is advanced enough that he would have to be clean. Take away money he got from suing people and let him pay a penalty for people he attacked and let him compete. He is the only one I know of in cycling that is banned for life.

by ED W. on January 21, 2013 at 9:29 pm. Reply #

His lifetime ban is something he rightfully earned by cheating, lying, manipulating and bullying. I can’t imagine what sport would welcome someone like that. I wouldn’t watch him play fucking checkers.

All the money in the world won’t replace the years of ridicule and lost earnings people like Greg LaMond suffered, or give riders like Frankie Andeu his career back.

by CycleChick on January 21, 2013 at 9:40 pm. Reply #

I have to admit I was pretty excited to see him race IM France. He was about a week out when the USADA started their invest an WTC’s rules say anyone under invest can’t race.

The current IM Worlds Champ just stated he has no desire to let Lance race. I think most pros feel he has had yrs of drug use and able to surpass were his physical abilities would of been sans doping. Which apparently lasts for yrs, even after stopping, reaping the benefits.

Even the Hawaii record holder an 3 X winner states that he feels even caught once, no more ironmans. Honestly some of the biggest scandals in ironman are the age groupers. With the increase in ironman races, resulting in fewer kona spots at each race, makes for those spots being highly sought after. With little testing for age group podium placers, there is some speculation as to how much it’s being used. WTC has introduced testing for some age group winners.

Even with all the juicy info he could give under oath, an even if he got the lifetime ban lifted or cut short, I still think he will be only competing in unsanctioned races that want him, or maybe checkers! For at least a few yrs to come!

by Darren on January 24, 2013 at 3:56 am. Reply #

Leave your comment

Required.

Required. Not published.

If you have one.



Get Adobe Flash player