The Lance Era

This post is sort of a follow up to another post and comments about Lance Armstrong and doping in cycling. It’s a topic that has been discussed to death but even the dead can still be interesting.

First of all, I can say that I haven’t been much of a Lance fan in the past. It wasn’t whether or not he doped but more about how I perceived his approach to racing. As a cycling fan, his approach approach didn’t strike a chord with me. Lance boiled racing done to just one race a year and was precise and mechanical in how he went about it. I suppose those same methods could be equally revered as they can be dismissed. More than just his approach, I didn’t like how Lance’s teams were structured. Consider some of the most important team mates of his: Roberto Heras, Manual Beltran, Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton. They have all been found guilty of doping. I think it would be naive at best to think that more team mates were not doping as well. Whether or not Lance actually doped in the past is mostly irrelevant to me. Certainly large numbers of the peleton were doping during this time so it’s difficult to say that Lance may have had an unfair advantage. Riders that were considered to be direct threats to his winning of the Tour de France include Marco Pantani, Ivan Basso, Alex Zulle, Jan Ullrich, Joseba Beloki, Raimondas Rumšas, Alexander Vinokourov and Andreas Kloden. Of these rivals, all of them with the exception of Kloden were either convicted of doping, admitted to doping, or implicated in Operation Puerto. Kloden on the other hand was simply identified as a doper by a team mate of his. That list constitutes almost every top 3 finisher of the TdF in the years that Lance won. The only other top 3 finisher in the TdF during these years was Fernando Escartín. Escartín was never implicated with doping although his team, Kelme, was found in subsequent years to have had systematic doping. Again, even if Lance was doping you cannot say that he had an unfair advantage.

The problem isn’t whether or not Lance doped. The problem is that pro cyclists still have not taken owenership of the issue. Very few cyclists have come forward and confessed to doping. I’m not aware of anyone that has not done this without first having evidence presented showing their guilt.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *