Thursday, October 18, 2012

More on the Lance Armstrong affair

OK, I was wrong when I did not include Lance himself in the list of guilty parties at the end of my rant about doping in pro cycle racing. And I was wrong about the USADA. In the face of a conspiracy worthy of a Robert Ludlum novel, the USADA finally cracked cycling's culture of "omerta."

As long as the secret held, Lance was good for the sport. His was a heart-wrenching story of personal triumph. The Lance Tour era was great for the bicycle business, and a US-labeled team was great for the growth of the sport.

Only the United States could support a market for hobbyists buying $10,000 disposable plastic race bikes, "like Lance rides." What other country would have such a huge market for US Postal, Discovery Channel and Radio Shack kit in size XXL?

On reflection, none of us should have had any more confidence that the UCI would be stricter on doping than the NFL or Major League Baseball. The Lance Armstrong was a fairy tale we could all buy into, so the ruling powers of cycling decided to let Lance dictate the agenda.

Maybe now we will see some real effort to clean up pro sports-- all of them.

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