If it's true, then he's done.
For any fan of American cycling over the past 10 years, Lance Armstrong was your guy. After Armstrong, there weren't that many American men who had a proven and "clean" track history that made you proud. After all, guys like Tyler Hamilton and Floyd Landis were disgraced. No matter how good they were, ultimately they're always going to be known as cheaters for getting caught doping in a sport rife with it.
That's why news that broke today is so damaging and heart-breaking to American cycling fans. It's not like we never suspected that our American teams cheated as much as the rest of them. It's just that we preferred not to look too hard at the situation. Because the great Lance Armstrong never got caught doping, we could squint our eyes at the situation and still feel proud that "our" Lance was so much better than everyone else.
Today's news, if true, squashes what remains of any pride that we may have had. It looks like some of the most well-respected members of Armstrong's former teams are in negotiations to testify against the seven-time Tour de France champion. American cycling stars George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, David Zabriskie, and Christian Vande Velde are all reportedly going to testify against Armstrong in the USADA's doping case.
For me, that would be the last straw in defending Armstrong. Over the years I've gradually become accustomed to the idea that Armstrong probably doped. I didn't want to believe it. I wanted to believe that he overcame life-threatening cancer that physically altered his body and hardened his will so that he grew into the greatest cyclist the sport has ever seen.
I can't turn a blind eye to what's happening now. Armstrong's most trusted compatriots are going to come forward and say they ALL doped. The jig is up. It would be one thing if the USADA case was built upon the testimonies that we've already heard. I could care less to hear from guys like Landis and Hamilton again. But the guys who are willing to testify now are still in cycling and are, outside of Armstrong, some of the most accomplished American cyclists ever. They are to be believed.
Julie is a disillusioned cycling fan who watched every Tour de France that Armstrong won starting in 1999. She will still watch the occasional stage, but takes no rooting interest in it anymore with all the doping scandals that have permeated the sport.
- Lance Armstrong
- Floyd Landis
- Tyler Hamilton