8.09.2014

Is the Toure de France Sullied Forever Because of Lance Armstrong?

Lance Armstrong argues that there is no way to win the Toure de France without doping and I have verified this with an independent credible source.

So I think that means one of two things for athletes in the bicycle racing realm.

1. Don't dope. Do it for the love of the sport and support your cycling team. Never aspire to win or achieve more than your personal best.

2. Dope.

I am not making a case for letting Lance Armstrong off the hook. He still cheated and lied about it. The latter is probably the more heinous crime. He did eventually come clean. He has to live with the fact that his wins (subsequently revoked) were unfairly achieved. One could argue that many of his competitors were also doping, thus perhaps somewhat leveling the playing field for the handful of top contenders. But it is still an artificial win that diminishes the true human strength and skill needed to win a bike race.

Yet, if it were not for Lance Armstrong's TDF wins, would we have Livestrong, the charity he started to raise money to fight cancer? If he were just a non-doping 5th or 6th place loser bicycle racer, would he have had the media presence to raise awareness about cancer? Would the cyclist who would have won the TDF in this alternate universe have struggled with cancer himself and dedicated himself to fighting it? We don't know.

What we do know is that Lance Armstrong continues to do good via his charity. He is a fallen angel in bicycle racing, and thus imperfect. Are any of us perfect? Maybe now Lance should be recognized not as a champion cyclist but rather as a champion in the fight against cancer.

In any case, who is winning the Toure de France these days and should they be more carefully scrutinized?

Because it is without a doubt that doping continues amongst the top contenders.

I am even curious to know if maybe Lance came clean in order to expose the issue of doping in bicycle racing. Maybe all that anti-cancer charity work gave him a conscience and he saw what is really important in life.

On RAGBRAI, my friend Sherry and I got up close and personal with Lance Armstrong because he was slinging beers in the beer garden in Rock Valley IA, where the week long pedal across the state of Iowa began this year. Sherry even slapped a TEAM CRAZY BIRD sticker on him...quite a coup.

It was exciting to be near this infamous celebrity and his checkered past did not diminish the thrill of seeing him in the flesh. Heck, I would probably be excited to see Al Capone or Chuck Manson in the flesh, just for the spectacle of it all.

Your thoughts?

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