24 August 2012

Lance Armstrong was part of history

The news came big and sudden
You know how some things seem to drag on to the point that you almost ignore them? Little bits of news flowing in over time, over years really. Opinions forming, then almost forgotten, only to resurface again. Then suddenly whamo ... stop fighting, give up, striped of all awards since 1998, and no more competitions.
Am I shocked? No. Is it how I thought it would play out? No. 
The results I completely expected, but who swung the final hammer was unexpected. It makes perfect sense to me now; by Lance giving up the fight no one can say he lost, only that he quit. Public opinion will sway his way, and the hearts that followed him all along will still stand by his side. History that was once laid so decisively and proudly will have to be rewritten. But most importantly, no more names will be dragged through the mud, no more wallets plucked of money going to lawyers, no more statements of I never doped only to be withdrawn later with fingers pointing at the next guy.
Is this behind us now? 
I am not sure because I will have to go back and see who came in second at all those Tour de Frances and whether the second guy has been striped of his titles in the interim. It gets confusing, all I know is we have the present and the future and perhaps these are the better places to reside. I am sorry that Lance Armstrong wasted so much of our time. I am sorry that a phenomenal athlete could not do it unassisted. I am sorry that we may never really know the truth.
Did it make a difference to every bike rider who hopped on his bike today and rode across town to meet a friend for a ride, or every fan that cheered like mad today at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge or the Vuelta a España - no, it didn't. It is surely sad news, tragic really, but not at all unexpected. Oh well. Men have had to live with worse offenses, Lance Armstrong will be fine.
For me, my opinion hasn't changed since I first realized many months ago that this would be the outcome. Still it is unsettling and may take some time to fully comprehend. I hope it doesn't internally damage this sport that we all love so much. I hope that changes in recent years are enough to hold onto our credibility as an excellent sport for future generations.
My earlier blog posts about doping:  
Contador and Armstrong 06 February 2012
Doping never ends well 09 February 2011
Go get the Dealers 01 December 2010
Would your friend cheat? 28 November 2010

The history of the winner of the yellow jersey of the Tour de France - let's hear it for the 3 winners in 17 years of the TDF.
2012: Bradley Wiggins 
2011: Cadel Evans 
2010 Alberto Contador - DOPER
2009 Alberto Contador - DOPER
2008 Carlos Sastre 
2007 Alberto Contador - DOPER
2006 Floyd Landis - DOPER  / [Operation Puerto]
2005 Lance Armstrong - [DOPER] 
2004 Lance Armstrong - [DOPER] 
2003 Lance Armstrong - [DOPER] 
2002 Lance Armstrong - [DOPER] 
2001 Lance Armstrong - [DOPER] 
2000 Lance Armstrong - [DOPER] 
1999 Lance Armstrong - [DOPER] 
1998 Marco Pantani - DOPER / [Festina Team doping scandal]
1997 Jan Ullrich - DOPER
1996 Bjarne Riis - DOPER

Texas Fold ‘Em Lance Armstrong gives up, but his saga is likely still not over. By Joe Lindsey