Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Monday, July 16, 2012

Boiling the Lance?

Lance Armstrong has been in the news again recently, with the allegations that he took performance-enhancing drugs during his career as a racing cyclist receiving much publicity as the US Anti-Doping Agency are pursuing charges.

Did he use drugs? And if so, does it matter? Here is the evidence in a nutshell.

This article contains a lot of sense from an author who admits he is personally disillusioned with Armstrong. I nodded sagely at this paragraph (which taught me something I hadn't known about Jacques Anquetil's 1961 TdF as well):

His ultimate legacy most likely is out of our hands. Fans who may not yet be alive will decide who he was. To us, today, Eddy Merckx is the greatest cyclist who ever lived, not a fraud who tested positive for a stimulant while leading the 1969 Giro d'Italia and had his 1973 Giro di Lombardia win stripped for the same. Joop Zoetemelk is the hardman who started and finished 16 Tours—a record—and won one. He's not a reprobate who was caught doping at the 1979 Tour, received a paltry penalty of a 10-minute time addition, and maintained his second-place podium spot. Jacques Anquetil is the five-time Tour winner who in 1961 took the yellow jersey on Stage 1 and wore it all the way to Paris, not a boastful cheater who said, during a French television interview, "Leave me in peace—everybody takes dope." And Fausto Coppi is il campionissimo, the champion of champions, not an admitted doper who said on Italian television that he only took drugs when necessary—"which is nearly always."

This writer makes a number of good points about evidence versus anonymous delation.

Finally, there is this excellent piece in the Guardian's blog. It, too, contains a quotable nugget, which I will let stand as the last word in this post:

The odd thing is that with each succeeding battle against assorted doping agencies, federal investigators, judicial authorities, and former teammates who've "turned" and talked to the media, (Armstong's) stock retort of "vendetta" actually starts to sound less hollow. There is almost the weird effect of his gaining credibility, the longer this all goes on.

Like many others, I felt I knew all I needed to about Lance Armstrong long ago. Perhaps it's time to let him keep his Tour titles, and move along. I want clean, dope-free cycle sport now. Scrubbing obsessively at supposed stains of the past is doing nothing for that.