This is my take on the whole Lance Armstrong doping issue. I watched the first part of the interview this morning and to be honest was not surprised by any of his admissions. Disappointed yes, surprised, not at all. I read Tyler Hamilton’s book towards the end of last year and had also read much the USADA report last year. So truthfully would have been surprised if he denied it all again.
I don’t know Lance Armstrong so I can’t vouch for his character but what I can say is that I was a huge fan while he was racing. Some of my favourite cycling memories are from the seven tours he won. I actually think that one of the reasons I love riding my bike stems from that time. I fell in love with the Tour de France back then too and to this day can watch every minute of every stage.
I’ve seen a lot of anger aimed at Lance over the last two days and broadly at the sport of cycling and it got me thinking. It is like that era of cycling never happened but it did. Even though everyone was cheating there was some great racing. As Lance put it “It was one big lie”. What it reminded me of was of Christmas. Weird I know, but it did and in particular Santa Claus. That is probably the best way to describe the way I felt this morning. It was like I found out Santa was not real.
As a kid I think you know long before you actually know that he does not exist. Do you know what I mean? I see it with my son now. He is at that age where his friends at school have told him Santa is not real, he probably knows Mom and Dad are Santa but deep down he wants to believe that he is real. He loves the idea of it and doesn’t want to give up on it just yet. Now that I am an adult I love Christmas even though I know Santa isn’t real.
I feel exactly the same way about cycling. While those tours were happening they were magical and mesmerising. But now that I know that Lance Armstrong wasn’t real it hasn’t changed the way I feel about the tour. I still love those magical three weeks in July but most importantly I still love riding my bike.