- Posted October 17, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Lance Armstrong speaks out
It's the Tour de France, Yo!
'I will support Livestrong because it is a great resource for cancer survivors, it helps people learn about the disease, the ways to fight it, the ways to have a fulfilling life,' he says. 'Although I am not a cancer survivor, in 2007 I was diagnosed with a lung tumor that doctors believed could have been cancer and watched carefully for a few years. For that reason, I know to some extent how someone feels when faced with the possibility of cancer. Not the same thing as having cancer, but certainly evokes sympathy.'
- Jamescia, CNN iReport producer
Yes, I own and wear my Livestrong bracelet proudly. The first one was given to me by a brave cancer survivor, now sadly gone, days after they were first introduced by Lance in the Tour de France.
Endurance cycling is a brutal sport. Performance enhancing has long, long, been part of its culture. Lance won against some of the best cyclists who were also some of the best dopers. There was a level playing field at the top of the sport. Lance won against these other dopers by his talent and technique. A New York Times graphic this year showed how during the last decade of the Tour de France there were only a couple podium finishers who had not been implicated in a doping scandal. Most of the doping was directed and run by team management (how else to shuttle refrigerated blood packets to riders around France?) and was made a condition of employment.
I will not pass judgement. But if the Tour de France and the public wanted less doping, it would have to be a shorter race with shorter stages. It is the grueling nature of the event that makes it difficult for professional athletes to compete without an edge. I hope the sport can move toward cleaner times. But as a fan, I understand the culture of the riders and cannot blame Lance any more than I would blame Jan Ullrich, Joseba Beloki, Roberto Heras, Ivan Basso, Christian Vande Velde, Jonathan Vaughters, Tyler Hamilton, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, David Millar, and countless other riders, coaches, and staff.
"I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!" — Captain Louis Renault (Claude Rains) in "Casablanca"