Saturday, July 3, 2010

le Tour de Disgrace ???

Advance Warning:  you might not like what I have to say when it comes to this particular blog post.  If that's the case, DO leave a comment.  If you happen to agree with me, DO leave a comment.  If you have questions regarding WHY I feel like this ... please, please, please ... LEAVE A COMMENT.

So yesterday over on FaceBook I posted a comment about my "status".  I said "doping be damned, I'm watching this year's Tour de France".   

That's right.   You heard me.  {although in retrospect it may sound flippant, given today's WSJ story outlining more & more details about the accusations against Lance Armstrong, et al.}

I am so tired of the hypocrisy in sports when it comes to doping.  And so, YES, I am going to watch this year's edition of the Tour de France.  Between the DVR and http://www.cyclingnews.com/, I'll get my Tour "fix" (ooh, pardon that pun) as usual this year.  

Friends - there are many, many athletes that dope.  Accept the fact, then make your choice accordingly. 

Will you stop going to baseball games, America's Favorite Pasttime, because of stories like this one: 
 http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17220752

I rather doubt it.

Will you stop watching the NFL - on TV or in person - because of stuff like this: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/sports/27iht-nfl.1.9522468.html

How about basketball: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/07/sports/basketball/07nba.html

So let's look at CYCLING.  There's not a baseball or football or basketball game in the world that can touch the stamina, endurance, fitness level, and energy needed for a 2,000 (sometimes plus) mile bike race thru hill and dale and mountain pass - over a 3-week period - with just two (yes, 2) rest days.   If you know nothing about the sport of cycling, then look into this one, friends.  It's for real.  It's grueling and gnarly.  It's not your Sunday afternoon ride in the park.  Hardly.

Take a look at the map of the 2006 Tour de France course ... how could anyone compete well and strong in an event like this ... without doping?   I'm just asking out of curiosity.   Does that make doping-in-cycling "right"?  No way.  But the race organizers, if they truly want the sport CLEAN, must stop creating these monstrous races and be reasonable.  It just can't be humanly possible, not in my humble opinion, to race a course like this one - clean.

Now, I admit - I used to be offended or disgusted or disappointed if a rider / team was caught doping.  Remember the Festina affair back in 1998?  here's a link:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Festina_affair     I might not have been a Richard Virenque fan - but hey, it made me sad for him and his team - that they would "resort to doping".   I was that naive - back then.

I will also say that having a grandson heavily into sports - mostly baseball, with some football and basketball thrown in for good measure - the topic of  DOPING IN SPORTS - frightens me.  For personal reasons, of course.  Doping - the products and the methods - can ruin a person, even kill them.   I am NOT in support of doping. 

I am, however, not in DENIAL about the reality of it.  What I really, really, really object to is the BLATANT HYPOCRISY of it all.  The "oh my goodness, he's a cheater.  how could he?!" comments.

When a cyclist goes around blabbing that he's "against doping and will never dope", I now listen with a jaded ear.  Eventually, it could - and probably will - come out that they, too - those vocally vociferous anti-doping guys - were, in fact, doping.  It does seem to be the reality of the game.  Methinks they protesteth ... overly much.

I'm really on a rant this morning, and I'm just getting started - so grab your coffee & muffin, then settle back into this.  

{Or like they say at the bottom of a forwarded-a-gazillion-times e-mail: IF YOU DON'T CARE ABOUT HAVING BAD LUCK FOR THE NEXT 382 YEARS, HIT 'DELETE'.}

So the big story in the WALL STREET JOURNAL went like this:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704911704575326753200584006.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_LEADNewsCollection

In all fairness to Mr. Lance Armstrong, here's the link to his reaction to the accusations that continue to be lobbed at him by Mr. Floyd Landis:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703881504575344550619265416.html

I am all about giving both sides a chance to speak their mind, their version of their truth.  

Landis's credibility has been under fire since the news of his email revelations broke. Until now, he had categorically denied the use of performance enhancing drugs and penned a book entitled "Positively False: The Real Story of How I Won the Tour de France". The book described the cycling world as "a place where athletes are subject to the antiquated science, flawed interpretive protocols, and draconian legal processes of the anti-doping agencies".




Armstrong fired back before the start of yesterday's Tour of California stage saying, "With regards to the specific allegations, the specific claims, they're not even worth getting into it. I'm not going to waste my time or your time".





"We have nothing to hide. We have nothing to run from. It's our word against his word," Armstrong said . "I like our word. We like our credibility."




Hincapie also commented on the matter in a statement yesterday that said, "I have been a professional on the circuit for 17 years – which is one of the longest careers in the peloton. During that time, I have earned the respect of my peers and a reputation for working hard, honestly and honorably. I'm really disappointed to hear these accusations."

Ah, George.  Really?  You're disappointed to "hear these accusations"?  What? Because you've never heard them ... before?  Is this the first time for you?  Give me a break. 

"Landis is part of a long list of former Armstrong teammates and former U.S. Postal Service riders who have either acknowledged or been caught doping.



Frankie Andreu has said he used EPO while preparing for the Tour de France on Armstrong’s team in the late 1990s. Olympic gold medalist Tyler Hamilton tested positive after the 2004 Athens Games, kept his medal on what amounted to a technicality, then retired last year after telling the AP he knowingly took a banned steroid. Roberto Heras was stripped of his win at the Spanish Vuelta in 2005 and Spanish rider Manuel Beltran was kicked out of the Tour de France, both found to have used EPO." {excerpt from article by By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press, updated 8:02 p.m. PT, Thurs., May 20, 2010}

And if anyone believes that George Hincapie hasn't heard this kind of allegation before, well then, I offer up this link:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankie_Andreu   Granted, Wikipedia wouldn't be my first choice for having all the facts quite right.  So I'll include a link to an interview done on NPR that addresses this same situation concerning previous doping habits of Mr. Lance Armstrong: 
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5516287

If George Hincapie was "disappointed", then I'd have to dub him "out of touch" ... it's nothing new to the sport, George, these accusations and allegations.  If George is any kind of professional athlete, then I'd bet my last nickel he stays in close touch with ALL these stories.  Disappointed?  Maybe because all those years of hard work could be tarnished if there's something true about the Lance story accusations.I find it interesting that an esteemed publication like the WALL STREET JOURNAL chose to run with this story - talk about credibility! My money's on the WSJ when it comes to "credibility", Mr. Armstrong. Way way back when Floyd was charged with using testosterone in the 2006 TdF, and ultimately had the title of TdF Champion stripped from him - the Journal was taking the hard road - they were (then) questioning Floyd's credibility.



Interesting, then, that the WSJ is not questioning his credibility now?  Rather, they're now questioning Lance Armstrong's credibility? 


I will, at this point, remind you all that I posted to this blog earlier this year - a daily reading published in Living Faith (a Catholic magazine that Mark and I read each morning) - written by Mr. Lance Armstrong's ex-wife, Kristin.  

I have a lot of respect and admiration for Kristin Armstrong.  If you didn't read that blog post I created - here's the link:
http://dh2travelers.blogspot.com/2010/05/removing-falsehood.html

Maybe I read too much into Kristin's writing.  Maybe she wasn't trying to purge herself of the deceitful life her ex-husband was (now allegedly) leading "back in the days" of their marriage.   Maybe those of us who love cycling would be the only ones that would make a connection between what she wrote - and the news that's hitting the world's newstands this morning.  Maybe, maybe, maybe.  {read: blah, blah, blah}

Personally, for all you naysayers out there, I have this to say - in my opinion, the powers that be in cycling and in sport will have a tough decision to make:  do we take Armstrong down if it can be proven he's been doping?  or do sweep this under the rug, because Armstrong has done such a good job promoting the "cancer recovery is possible for anyone - if I can do it, so can you" message ???  Hmmm?  

Think about it:  what is going to be "better" for the world's cancer patients - just diagnosed, in treatment, in remission, cured - to have the "hope and inspiration" of a Lance Armstrong dangling out there for them to believe in?  Or the truth about doping in cycling coming to light?  
{back when I was a believer in the possibility of 'clean cycling'.  Floyd's first season with USPS and Lance ... that's us with Floyd AND Lance.  do you think I want all this to be true? to be happening?  just because I am now a believer that many cyclists dope, doesn't make me happy about it.  au contraire.}

My money's on this:   It's going to come down to a bit of a moral dilemma, don't you think?  A "we should consider the greater good / we should do damage control on this for the good of all the cancer patients out there in the world, who look to Lance for the answer they all want".

And who in their right mind would take all that away from a cancer patient ???  Lance has done a magnificent job of building his empire, my friends. 

I COULD GO ON AND ON FOR DAYS, here.  I'll leave it at this, though:

Before I hear you all railing against Floyd Landis for deceiving the public about any doping he might have done during his career as a pro cyclist, let me suggest to you:  there probably isn't a person in this world that hasn't lied at one time or another.  To save a relationship, to save a job, to save their reputation, to protect someone or something so dear and precious to them that they "just had to".   Admit it.   So please don't get all high and mighty and overly-moral over this one.  Just because Floyd's deceit was on an international level, doesn't make it any worse than what you and I have probably done, day in and day out, sooner or later, somewhere along our life's path. 

It's no secret:  my heart and support go to Floyd on this one, friends.  How could it not?  {This photo of Mark and I, Floyd and Amber, was taken on the Champs Elysees in Paris - at the conclusion of Floyd's very first Tour de France: 2002.}  

Some will say that I am 'biased'.   Believe me, I am not.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I consider all angles before taking a stand.  Some will even say that I "knew" something all along.  Again, not true.  Really, doesn't knowledge of an action come down to the person - and their God?  They either know what they've done, or others might also know because they witnessed it.   Without having witnessed anything relative to this doping matter, what could I have possibly 'known' ???

And my heart and support goes out to any and all cancer patients in the world who looked up to Lance for their inspiration, for their "kick some ass, Lance, kick it good and hard for US, Lance" attitude.  They were lifted up by that hope.

Now that the 'Emperor' might have just stepped naked out of the team bus into the world - I pray that anyone who looked up to Armstrong will put their faith in something a little more 'not of this world' - after all, we are ALL only human.

And let me add this to my say-so on the topic.   I don't want ANY of these athletes to be guilty of doping.  But if it IS the reality, then let's shed the light, for everyone's sake, and do what we can to support CLEAN SPORTS going forward.  And let's not have one set of rules for most athletes, and an edited version of those rules for the more 'powerful' athletes.  That's all I want.

Whether or not Lance is found guilty of doping, I want those patients to find their hope, their inspiration in something less 'human'.   Get my meaning? 

--  Davielle

and if anyone's got a rebuttal, please, let's start the conversation.  I am, after all, about hearing all sides and opinions ...

3 comments:

ann said...

once again, you've proven to be the researcher extraordinaire. I admire your courage for taking such a strong stand. I just wish I knew someone that followed biking so I could share it with them.
Enjoy watching every minute!

Schatzie said...

I whole heartedly agree. I strongly believe Lance gave himself cancer by doping. Could you imagine if the truth came out about Lance, it would KILL the sport. So I believe it's a dirty little secret that's being kept by everyone to keep the sport alive. Lance has a lot to protect which I believe was all built upon doping and lies. GO El Contador!!!! And by the way he had brain cancer + brain surgery....

I Am Princess Magpie said...

if i have to watch the Lance (er, VERSUS) Channel for much longer, I'm going to be sick to my stomach. honestly, are they serious? it's like Lance and Company own (?) a piece of VS television. that, or they pay bucketloads of $$$$ into running their own PR campaign, full out, during the Tour. am I the only one who notices this? oooh, let's run a(nother) profile on Lance. oooh, let's make comments that support Lance and insult Landis, because - gosh - Lance is, after all, PAYING OUR FREAKING salaries, our cushy jobs would be in danger of elimination if, as we so strongly believe, CYCLING WILL DIE (perish the thought - it would DIE) if LANCE were to be found dirty. R U Kidding Me ??? please, someone, put me out of my miserable misery. well, it's time once again to view today's stage of Le Tour. IF NOTHING ELSE, it's good for this - it ruins my appetite, and that can only be a good thing !!! LOL