Greg LeMond once said something to the effect that the Lance Armstrong story was either the greatest miracle of all time or the greatest fraud of all time.
By the way, does anyone remember Greg LeMond once had his own successful brand of bicycle built by Trek, and Trek stopped making LeMond bikes because Greg kept on insisting that Lance Armstrong (Who Trek were sponsoring at the time.) had doped.
Not good when a man has a business ruined and a steady income taken away from him for saying something that turned out to be right all along.
The other person I find myself having some sympathy with is Floyd Landis. Although far from "Lilly White" himself, the poor guy really got screwed. When it was found that he had doped, he was immediately stripped of his Tour de France win in 2006 and suspended for two years.
Other riders serve out their suspensions then return to the pro pelotons, but not Landis; his career was over. Compare the way his case was handled to that of Alberto Contador.
Contador also found to have doped in the 2010 TDF, was not immediately stripped of his win. In fact we didn’t even know of the positive test for clembuterol until the fall of that year, when someone leaked the story of a positive lab test.
The UCI (Union Cycliste International.) then managed to drag out the case for another year, and Contador was allowed to ride and win the 2011 Giro d’Italia, and compete again in the 2011 TDF. Eventually Contador was found guilty, stripped of his 2010 Tour de France and 2011 Giro win.
However, his two year suspension was retro-active all the way back to the end of the 2010 Tour. After only a little over six months out of competition, Contador is now back riding in the Vuelta a Espana. So it appears there is one set of rules for the rich and famous, and another for lesser riders like Floyd Landis.
Lance Armstrong could have helped Landis out and put some money his way to pay his legal fees. He could have also given him a place on his team after his suspension was over, or used his influence to get him back in the pro ranks. Not being a little kinder to Floyd Landis is probably one of the biggest mistakes Lance Armstrong made.
We have not heard the last of this saga. I am now reading stories that the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD.) regularly tipped off Armstrong when random drug test were about to happen, and that the former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who he regarded as a personal friend, pulled strings for the rider.
Another story of a drug raid by French Police on a hotel where the US Postal team was staying during the 2005 TDF. That raid was mysteriously called off at the last minute as police were actually outside the hotel waiting to go in.
Only when the full extent of the corruption that there appears to be in this case, is revealed, and top officials including those at the UCI are held accountable, can the sport of cycling start to become fair and clean.
On a totally different subject are you following the Vuelta a Espana? It is turning out to be one of the best of the Grand Tours this year, and with almost two weeks to go the race is still wide open. Above was the highlights from last Saturday’s stage.
Today is a rest day, you can watch the Vuelta live on Steep Hill TV. Go to “Live Coverage” click on EuroSport.