Lance Armstrong at 2009 Nevada City bike race, final tune up before his comeback TdFs.
The Internet has this way of bringing things back to you at peculiar times. Tonight I was researching something called “flip book” software, for our next email flyer. It’s a way of simulating turning pages on the ‘web, useful for advertisements and presentations. In searching for the most-approrpiate software for the task, Google+ reminded me that someone made a remark regarding one of my photos from the Nevada City Criterium in 2009. Someone who apparently didn’t bother to read the caption was asking where the photo was taken.
Lance coming through with 1/2 lap to go, is family cheering from the sidewalk. Should have been the stuff of life-long memories, not an endless nightmare.
Worst-case scenario, and pretty much what many, perhaps most of us, were thinking at the time? That Lance was coming back to prove that he could win “clean.” Somehow, some way, that’s how we read it. I can’t really come up with any good reason to support that thinking, but the fact that that was what we were thinking gives pretty strong credibility to our claims of earlier cynicism (regarding Lance being “clean”).
Lance probably was the best TdF racer there ever was. In a clean race, many (including myself) feel that the organization behind him and his own personal talent and drive would have prevailed, without doping. But instead we’ll have a history with 7 empty spaces, as if those tours never existed.
The ASO, the organization that runs the Tour de France, is not without blame in all of this. Their attitude, for years, had been that a positive doping test was indicative of a world gone wrong, a race out of control and in danger of becoming irrelevant as a sporting event and spectacle. Is it any wonder that, with such an attitude, they didn’t catch many dopers? Ideally, we need to recognize that it’s normal, not such a terrible thing, that those who promote the sport aren’t so good at testing for doping. Ideally, it should be the responsibility of the USADA or WADA to do the testing and sanction those caught. It just makes sense.