Saturday, June 24, 2006

Armstrong

Unless you've been living under a rock, you have at least caught glimpse of the allegations against 7-time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong. The latest is the Andreu's sworn testimony suggesting that Armstrong admitted to using PEDs prior to 1996.

For the sake of the sport, I really hope Armstrong was clean. Cycling simply cannot take another major blow to it's image. Not to mention sponsors getting cold feet due to the obvious problems of being associated with a cheating rider and a "dirty" sport. All across the world, the "man in the street" thinks of Lance Armstrong when they think of professional cycling. We need him to be clean...

It's a pity that many people think that all pro cyclists have to use PEDs to stay competitive or even to do their job. I can see how people may be lead into believing this, but it's really as far from the truth as you can possibly get. I'm not saying the sport is 100% clean, no sport is and cycling is certainly not perfect.

My point is that every day there are professional cyclists all over the world that go about their job of training and racing - without using banned substances. The vast majority of competitors are clean. Period.

Cycling's challenge will be to translate this fact into something the public can see and understand. It's one thing for me to say this as an "insider", it's a completely different, and much more difficult, task to paint this picture accurately to the fans.

One effective measure would be to increase testing and increase penalties for testing positive. The feuding between the UCI and WADA/IOC has to stop as well, it does nothing but disrupt and undermines the procedures that are in place to test and punish, if required.

10 Comments:

Anonymous Phil said...

All good an well Mags, and I have no doubt this is true, but can you win at the highest level (not to mention to the extent Armstrong did) without some kind of booster.

BTW, I did a post back on the 16th about WADA's annual overview on testing numbers, It was hardly reported anywhere, least of all the cycling press. It contained some positive observations about the overall rate of positives, but once again cycling was at the top in most returned positives.

Scarily, overall the increase in testing brought a large percentage increase in positives.

Track and Field, which I view as being far dirtier than cycling was tested the most, but cycling had yet again a higher rate of positives.

That as you say is a bad PR number.

15:37  
Blogger mags said...

Phil,

Without a doubt, 100%, unequivocally, yes - you can win at the highest level without ANY type of PEDs.

I did see that report from WADA, no big surprises there - unfortunately. But still, to claim that all successful cyclists have to use PEDs in order to win is just silly. Such a comment is only based on the very twisted image the sport has gotten in the media. If everyone had all the facts, they would quickly realize what most pro cyclists already know - hard work and luck is the only required ingredients for victory.

Mags

15:52  
Blogger Keith said...

Nice to see you post again Mags.

I'd agree with you that I'd really like for Armstrong to have been clean. That being said, it's also a little hard for me to believe that all of these allegations have been fabricated. But maybe they have.

09:17  
Blogger mags said...

Keith,

I think most people would like to see Armstrong clean. For nothing else, than for the sake of the sport.

Mags

12:44  
Blogger Skibby said...

Armstrong WAS NOT CLEAN and we all know it. People want to believe in fairy tales go right ahead.

11:09  
Blogger mags said...

Skibby,

Well, technically we don't know that... That whole debate is a bit "over-dramatized" by the public. Chances are we will never know for sure with regards to Armstrong.

Mags

12:09  
Blogger Skibby said...

Technically, do we know that Ullrich wasn't clean? He hasn't failed a drug test has he? Sounds "over-dramatized" to me also.

btw: welcome back, I missed you! ;)

15:39  
Blogger mags said...

Skibby - no, you are right. We don't know if Ullrich has been using PEDs right now. Hopefully we will get a clear answer in the coming weeks/months - but it's too early to stamp him a cheater right away. Lets get all the facts on the table first.

It's that "innocent until PROVEN guilty" thing. Have you heard about that before? :)

Mags

11:43  
Blogger Sophist said...

From what I understand, physiologists have measured Armstrong as simply off the charts for most of the genetic characteristics that would allow him to excel on the bike.

Armstrong also centered his entire racing season around peaking for the Tour, trained with a singleminded obsessiveness, had the best cycling team in the world at his command, and had gobs of money to employ engineers and coaches to optimize every millimeter of every aspect of his equipment.

With all of these advantages, it seems perfectly plausible that he could have achieved all that he has achieved without resorting to PEDs. Why should we invoke an additional factor for his success, when it can already be accounted for by what we know? I favor the simplest answer. :-) Then again, I just finally learned how to ride a bike a few years ago, so I don't have an intuitive sense of "what is possible" from years of observing racers.

18:01  
Blogger mags said...

Sophist,

You are both right and wrong. Unfortunately, his physical stats alone would not "clear" him 100%, but of course, the fact still remains that Armstrong never tested positive during a very long career...

Mags

08:47  

Post a Comment

<< Home