Category Archives: Cycling

The Lance Armstrong Story Concludes?

Lance Armstrong in 2011

Today marked a momentous day in the world of sport. One of the most successful sportsman in the last two decades had revealed all and finally confessed to his many wrongdoings on a televised interview with talk show host Oprah Winfrey. I am of course talking about the man once identified as the greatest road cyclist of all time Lance Armstrong.

His career has been one of great question from the media and his fellow professionals. I for one am not the biggest fan of road cycling, however Lance Armstrong’s story was one that has always intrigued me. I often pondered why someone who has become such an icon of the sport could encourage such negative media publicity. He was at one point the face of US sports-merchandiser Nike and from what I heard at the time a survivor of cancer from 1996, so what influenced such publicity? If anything he should have been idolised.

Well the story of Armstrong goes much deeper than that, yes he did start the Lance Armstrong Foundation, now known as the LiveStrong Foundation, an organisation which provided support for those suffering with cancer. However his Tour De France victories, came with the assistance of performance enhancing drugs.

I remember reading Joey Barton’s quite elaborate but surprisingly insightful take on the issue and it did put things into perspective. Maybe Lance Armstrong doped to get back to the level that he would have been at, had he not been diagnosed with testicular cancer, maybe he was playing catch up with his peers and was offered drugs by his trainer for those purposes only. I wouldn’t know, after all I’m not Lance Armstrong nor am I his confidant.

After every victory posed more questions, those questions prompted more allegations and those allegations encouraged more denials from the Lance Armstrong camp. It wasn’t until 2012 that the real inquest really began and he was found guilty of doping and trafficking of drugs  from the USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) after blood samples were taken from 2009 and 2010 as well as being stripped of his record seven Tour De France titles. Armstrong did the only thing he deemed necessary at the time and yet again pleaded his innocence, but to a now growing majority fell on deaf ears.

Former team mates of Armstrong soon began to find their voices and admitted to doping themselves as well as being threatened by the former seven time Tour De France winner. To add more insult to injury Nike turned their backs on the Texan and ended their association with the now shamed Lance Armstrong, ironically after pledging their support six days prior.

Every story I read about Armstrong seemed to suggest to me that a confession was ever closer, he was public enemy number one and the many excuses and denials were only delaying the inevitable.

The inevitable came last night in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, the interview according to reports was very heartfelt and left an emotional Lance Armstrong finally feeling somewhat guilt free.

Journalists will show their delight that ‘The Cheat’ has finally confessed, close friends and family of Armstrong will feel that the worst is over, road cyclists both past and present will feel angered knowing that one man could tarnish an at one point clean sport, that is unless you are as nonchalant as our very own Bradley Wiggins, who couldn’t really care less about what has transpired.

My take on this however will be adjourned until I see the interview for myself, scheduled to take place  on Friday at 2:00 AM our time on the Discovery Channel. Until then I guess I will have to conform myself to further media onslaught of one of the most controversial figures recognised in the world of sport.

Reece Ravalier (@ReeceRav)