Armstrong’s punishment has changed nothing for cycling
Lance Armstrong has both energised and tarnished US Cycling - can it continue to grow? (AP Photo/Franck Prevel, File)
The vilification of Lance Armstrong continues.
What have the authorities proven by stripping Armstrong of his titles? We all knew or suspected that cyclists were doping. We already watched Le Tour and the Giro with suspicion.
Doping has been defended in the past. Some people have even blamed the fans for wanting a better, faster spectacle.
And now we have someone upon whom to pin all of the blame. It was Armstrong, the evil American, who single-handedly thwarted the pure motives and saintly innocence of a pristine world, forever tarnishing the European love of competitive cycling.
Please. What puerile and unmitigated rubbish. Lance is no more than a scapegoat.
Those seven Tour de France titles, and many others, should be marked with an asterisk. History should place the blame on tournament organisers, whose blinkered determination to run successful international events created the environment for illegal practices.
The principles of any company, club, team or organisation set the boundaries of acceptable behaviour. Despite what is written on the notice boards, it is those in charge who establish the norms.
Will we see pure justice here? Of course not.
Will next year’s racing be clean? Of course not.
Should all the governing bodies of these events be disbanded and others be installed? Realistically, that is the only way to deal with this problem.
Should teams have their own medical staff? Probably not.
Should possession of any medical equipment (apart from bandaids) be cause for suspicion? Sounds like a start.
Should any team involved with illegal behaviour be banned? Absolutely.
Will any meaningful thing happen to change cycling’s image to one of clean and natural competition?
Of course not. There are too many dollars, too many egos and too many careers involved.
The cycling apparatus knows it can rely on the mug punters to rock up next year. If they do, are those fans condoning the behaviour of a rider who does what he feels he must in order to win?
Only the high and mighty with their politically correct banners and paper shields will have won. It is a shabby, shallow, hollow, spineless victory much akin to Blackadder’s clump of World War 1 sod.