This Lance Armstrong thing is, for me, like finding out that you’ve been living next door to a serial killer: the partial-confession is bad enough, but to make matters worse they keep digging bodies out of the crawlspace, and worst of all, I can’t help but peek over the fence.
Yes I did shell out thirty bucks for the hardcover version of Wheelmen – Lance Armstrong, The Tour De France And The Greatest Sports Conspiracy Ever, and yes I will go see The Armstrong Lie, as soon as it hits theaters here in Seattle on Nov 27th. I just can’t help myself.
If you could go back in time to the nineties and walk into a bike shop what you’d see would be a whole bunch of mountain bikes a couple of cruiser bikes and maybe, somewhere in the back, a racing bike. Despite Greg Lemond, bicycle racing, and bicycling in general, here in the U.S. was obscure at best pre-Lance (all you have to do is say “Lance” and everyone knows who you are talking about – kind of like “Arnold” now that is fame); what that guy did for the cycling industry here in the States is unparalleled and undeniable. The damage that to the sport doesn’t nearly equal the benefits.
Wait a minute, it sounds like I’m defending this asshole. No I’m definitely not on Team Lance.
I guess I was a bit naive when it came to Lance, I figured that sure in his early days, maybe even the first two years he was doping, but after a few victories my thoughts were that cost of getting caught (i.e. losing his titles) would vastly outweigh the benefit (i.e. another win). In 1999, 2000, even 2001 there is no way that Lance, or anyone on Team Lance, could have thought that he would win seven Tours, no way no how. To risk losing all the success that he already had in pursuit of something unimaginable, that just didn’t make any sense.
And how could anyone lie like that. It’s one thing to lie, it’s quite another to bankrupt and destroy the livelihoods of anyone who even remotely didn’t dance to your tune. I mean that’s crazy – it just didn’t make any sense.
So when he came blubbering to Oprah (there’s another one name famer) I was honestly a bit surprised. I’m sure a lot of folks would say that you had to be stupid or intentionally naïve not to see it coming, and I guess that’s fair. I suppose I wanted to believe that it was impossible to be that big of a jerk. Now with every page I turn in Wheelmen, I discover new depths of jerkhood.