Lance Armstrong – A Fall From Grace!

Posted on March 7th, 2013 at 6:19 pm by

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A Fall from Grace Unsurpassed

When Lance Armstrong won his seventh consecutive Tour de France title, he was hailed as the greatest of all the cycling greats.  His achievement eclipsed all who had gone before him and, set against the backdrop of a very public battle with cancer, made him an inspiration to millions.  To his many fans, his was an epic story of how the human spirit can triumph over seemingly any adversity.  There were, of course, the usual rumblings of discontent behind the scenes.  Rumours of performance enhancing drugs often surfaced, as they did for many dominant sport stars.  But, surely, not the great Lance Armstrong?

Lance ArmstrongImage courtesy of Paul Coster from flickr.

Lance the Invincible

From the time of his first Tour de France victory there were many attempts to unmask him as a cheat, all of which were doomed to failure.  Those that sought to uncover his doping found themselves up against a powerful adversary; the task only becoming more futile with each passing year, as the trophies piled up.  Accusing a multiple Tour de France winner of cheating was one thing, proving it was quite another.  Lance Armstrong was a powerful, well connected figure in the cycling world, with a vast personal fortune at his disposal.  Those that crossed him soon found themselves the victim of vicious verbal attacks in the media, and expensive litigation in the courts.  Many of these former adversaries must have settled down in front of their televisions on January 17th 2013 and watched his Oprah Winfrey confessional with no small feeling of satisfaction.

A Night At The Oprah

The show was billed beforehand as the moment that Lance Armstrong finally came clean about not racing clean.  Aside from the obvious shock that he had finally capitulated and admitted doping in all of his seven Tour de France victories, Lance gave a thoroughly predictable performance.  Not everyone watching was convinced it was the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  Bradley Wiggins very publicly denounced Armstrong’s claim that his comeback podium finish was clean.

Denial and Damage Limitation

After the news broke that he was to be stripped of his seven Tour de France titles, Armstrong’s behaviour indicated a lack of comprehension of the scale of his fall from grace.  Shortly after the announcement, he defiantly tweeted a picture of himself reclining in his trophy room, surrounded by his framed yellow jerseys.  Although he has held his hands up to doping in all seven of his Tour de France victories, he still flatly denies doing so during his comeback races.  It is suggested that to do otherwise would expose himself to a further torrent of litigation, as he cannot hide behind the statute of limitations for these more recent events.

Lance Going Forward

Since the night of his televised admission of guilt, Armstrong has sought to draw the media focus away from his past misdeeds and onto a possible future lifting of his lifetime cycling ban.  In doing so, he has again revealed his breathtaking lack of insight into the seriousness of what he has done.  He has harmed not just himself, his reputation and his family, but also those fellow competitors denied the lucrative and prestigious victories he stole from them.  It seems that his real motivation for coming clean now may not be his stated desire to spare his offspring from further hurt.  Instead, it now seems more likely that this is no more than a cynical attempt to wrest some control back, in the face of a tidal wave of lawsuits that are coming his way.

About the Author

Brad Chambers is a keen mountain biker and blogger at Sealskinz.com, a leading UK provider of thermal cycling gloves for all weathers. Brad enjoys biking across the south downs in his spare time and gardening, when he is not on twitter.

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