Can I get a show of hands, people who like cycling?
*puts own hand up* I’ll assume I’m not the only one. I see plenty of individuals each day riding their bikes to and fro.
Can I get a show of hands, people who don’t like it when professionals screw over the system.
I suppose that’s a lot of people, given the whole Androstenedione use in baseball fiasco years ago.
So, last night, Oprah
interviewed raked Lance Armstrong over the coals, confronting him with the allegations of doping during the years he won the Tour De France. This situation, which has been lingering in the sport for quite a few years was finally brought to the attention of the larger masses, courtesy of Oprah and her OWN network. What bothers me about this situation is that, it likely took Oprah’s influence to shame the Livestrong mastermind, but that this situation is going to pan out to be NO different from when she tore James Frey apart.
Remember him? A million little pieces. Why do I get this weird feeling that there is a theme here… OH YEAH, BECAUSE THERE MAY IN FACT, ACTUALLY BE ONE! Question: What do Armstrong and Frey both have in common?
Answer: THEY BOTH LIED TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC AND IN BOTH CASES THE SITUATIONS INVOLVED DRUGS.
The weird part is, because Frey lied about the content of his memoirs, doubt is cast even upon whether or not he did them in the first place. But Lance… Oh Lance… You actually used them. And instead of using drugs to supposedly punch cops and crash vehicles, you used them to win one of the biggest sporting events on the planet: The Tour De France.
Note: The Tour, is technically, figuratively and literally speaking the world’s largest (annual) event. Given that it nearly circumnavigates the country of france, takes 23 days to complete and has 21 separate stages. Combine these facts with the tour being around for 100years, this year, and we have quite the media spectacle on our hands.
At this point, I would also like to point out that the Tour has a long history of doping. You can read about it on the Tour De France Doping wiki.
WAS LANCE’S APPEARANCE ON OPRAH’S SHOW A PUBLIC RELATIONS STUNT?
Personally, the whole situation stinks like an unwashed pair of bike shorts. On one hand, Lance has lost his credibility (theoretically at this point) and Oprah has scored another one for the common person (and more so for her own ratings). The truth is, I’m looking at this with a critical eye and the synapses in my occipital lobe are sending messages to my frontal lobe saying “This is a giant PR stunt”
Why could it be that such a PR stunt would happen now? Hmmm… let’s think.
Oh yeah… because Armstrong is facing some serious financial problems connected to his exposure. Or at least, he has been reported to be by the Telegraph and probably a half-dozen other newspapers and magazines (Notably, Rodale’s Bicycling)
So… Going on Oprah? PR Stunt? Yeah, probably.
No doubt, getting the exclusive interview meant OWN shovelling a nice sum to line the pockets of Armstrong. These sorts of big-time interviews usually involve money, don’t they?
As I mentioned before, I am an avid cyclist, but I prefer my bikes with fat tires. Nevertheless, I’ve watched the TDF a few times in the past. I however, have never been a fan of Lance Armstrong because I always thought the circumstances behind his return to cycling and subsequent first TDF win were a bit fishy.
Here are the facts.
– Lance began his pro career at age 16 (1989).
– He had “notable” successess between 1993 and 1996, with a few stage wins in various races in Europe, including the Limoges stage of TDF
– October 1996 (at age 25) he is diagnosed with Cancer (testicular) which had spread to his lungs and brain
– In the subsequent months, Armstrong is treated by University of Indiana.
– February 1997, he was said to be cancer free… WAIT, WHAT?? Cancer Free in 5months after the cancer metastasized??
– January 1998, he begins his cycling training again
– July 1999, he competes and wins his first Tour De France
– c.2004 Armstong signs sponsorship deal with Bristol Myers Squibb, who then produce two different commercials. View them here and here.
– July 2005, after winning seven consecutive TDFs, he “retires”.
– July 2006, former teammate Floyd Landis wins the TDF and then tests positive for EPO. He is subsequently stripped of his win.
– c. 2009, Armstrong announces a comeback to racing
– Beginning in 2010, a federal inquiry is started into the possibility of Armstong engaging in doping.
Now, given that he had undergone chemo and orchioectomy, this would’ve meant that his testosterone levels would be low. So, given that testosterone is really needed by the body to maintain musculature and what not, this should’ve raised some flags. We all know that he was receiving a replacement therapy, but why did it not occur to officials that whatever he was being given had the possibility of masking other chemicals he was taking.
THE FUTURE OF TOUR DE FRANCE
2013 marks the 100th anniversary of the historic race. With the race being 6months away, it will be interesting how things pan out and how many people watch this year. I certainly hope to watch this year. I was only able to catch 2 stages last year and they were both mountain stages, which I find extremely boring. I prefer the flatland races because there is more manoeuvring between cyclists.