Watching 60 Minutes this weekend, I caught an interview with two former teammates of Lance Armstrong admit to using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) and that they witnessed Lance Armstrong also using them as well. Â Not surprising, these teammates testified to these facts recently.
Lance has categorically denied ever using PEDs and every test he has ever taken has been clean. Â That has not stopped allegations from repeatedly popping up, 8 different times, since 2004. Â Teammates, friends and competitors have all eluded to or admitted to knowing Lance used PEDs. Â So why can’t Lance just come clean?
My theory on why he keeps denying the truth is that it would implicate much more than himself. Â It is clear that the international cycling community may be just as complicit in ignoring and covering up the test results as anyone. Â Interest in cycling was waning in the late 90s, but in 1999 Lance Armstrong started to change that when he won his first Tour de France and his story about his battle with cancer came out. Â For most Americans, the only cycling race they know is the Tour de France, so it was a great story, and as he realed off 7 consecutive Tour de France titles.
It was in cycling’s best interest to keep Lance in the lead. Â I believe that as fellow competitors tried to keep up with Lance they learned the only way was with PEDs and that because international cycling officials allowed Lance to do it, that they would be allowed too. Â I find it nearly impossible to believe everyone was cheating around Lance, they could not keep up with him, and he remained clean. Â What biological condition or bionic condition gives him that ability?
Armstrong has done so much for the sport of cycling, for cancer awareness through his Livestrong foundation, but his greatest contribution maybe his ability to lie to himself that he used PEDs. Â He has done a better job avoiding getting caught than anyone in modern sports history.
Perhaps it is time for the all drug cycling competitons like SNL suggested a few years ago.