Armstrong to hijack cycling world again

Sean Lee Columnist

By Sean Lee, Sean Lee is a Roar Expert

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29 Have your say

    Why should the AFL keep the WADA code? Look no further than pro cycling. (AFP PHOTO / Files / JOEL SAGET)

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    Let’s start this article off a game of ‘who am I?’ See how quickly you can identify the following cyclist:

    I was a multiple Tour de France winner however I was never a favourite of the French. I was often prickly with journalists. My career was interrupted by a life threatening event. I devoted time to a cause that gave great hope to many people.

    My name is… Easy?

    Of course it has to be Lance Armstrong and I’m guessing that about 99.9 percent of you would have selected the Texan as your answer. That is totally understandable, even though the answer is former Italian champion Gino Bartali.

    Bartali was a two time winner of the Tour de France (1938 and 1948) and three time winner of the Giro d’Italia (1936, 1937 and 1946). His career was interrupted by World War II.

    He put himself at considerable personal risk by delivering false identity documents to Jewish Italians and their families during the German occupation of his country. He would roll up the documents and hide them within the frame of his bicycle to pass through Nazi checkpoints and would ride many hundreds of kilometres at a time to complete his task.

    His courage saved countless lives and yet he barely spoke of his ordeals. He was a vital cog in the underground movement during the war and was a hero to many both on and off the bike.

    Yes, my opener was a trick question and I’ll admit to being deliberately devious in the way I presented it to you, but the fact that most of us would not have even considered any other cyclist than Lance Armstrong illustrates the extent to which the world has been hijacked by the Armstrong juggernaut, even after it has plunged into disgrace.

    Instead of eagerly anticipating the first showing of the pro-teams at next week’s Tour Down Under, all attention will instead turn back to Lance with the airing of the Oprah Winfrey interview.

    Of course I’ll be watching too – my curiosity will get the better of me – but I shudder at the thought of how many more column inches will be devoted to this fallen icon in the follow up, especially as most of what is going to be said has already been revealed or at the very least highly suspected.

    I don’t particularly care for what Armstrong has to say. He had his chances in the past to come clean but chose not too, instead clinging steadfastly to the lie that the only thing he was on was his bike.

    I don’t particularly care if he tries to bring down the whole cycling world in the interview. He can say whatever he wants.

    What I do want to see however is an admission of guilt. Pure and simple, with no dancing around the topic or fancy word play. I want to see Lance Armstrong look down the camera and say, “Yes, I did this. I cheated.”

    I doubt I’ll feel much sympathy for Armstrong, even if the line of questioning brings him to tears. He has hurt too many people along the way to play the sorrowful repentant and there is no amount of spin that could possibly make him out to be the victim.

    British cyclist Nicole Cook expressed it best in her retirement speech earlier this week.

    “When Lance cries on Oprah later this week and she passes him a tissue, spare a thought for all of those genuine people who walked away with no reward.”

    Genuine people like Christophe Bassons, the French rider who in 1999 openly spoke about drugs within the peloton and as a result was hounded out of the sport and lost his career. Others such as Betsy and Frankie Andreu or Emma O’Reilly were also howled down.

    While a confession from Armstrong won’t right past wrongs, it may at least provide some closure.

    Play The Roar’s exclusive Lance Armstring drinking game while watching his interview with Oprah!

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    The Crowd Says (29)

    • January 18th 2013 @ 7:20am
      Darwin Stubbie said | January 18th 2013 @ 7:20am | ! Report

      So you don’t care what he has to say and don’t want him clogging up the TV and you shudder at the never ending column inches – yet you add to the list of articles, want him to admit to doping and you’ll be watching …

      • Columnist

        January 18th 2013 @ 7:34am
        Sean Lee said | January 18th 2013 @ 7:34am | ! Report

        Guilty as charged, Darwin Stubbie!

    • Columnist

      January 18th 2013 @ 7:54am
      Tim Renowden said | January 18th 2013 @ 7:54am | ! Report

      I’m glad you still have the patience to write seriously about Lance, Sean. I’ve given up. I’ve got no more patience for his antics sucking the life out of cycling.
      Bring on the TDU.

      • Columnist

        January 18th 2013 @ 2:59pm
        Sean Lee said | January 18th 2013 @ 2:59pm | ! Report

        It goes on and on doesn’t it? I am sick to death of it and won’t be sad if I never have to write another word about Armstrong. The TDU will bring some much needed relief and what a bonus that every stage will be shown live on the box! Cycling is alive and well and it is time to focus on the race action again.

    • Roar Guru

      January 18th 2013 @ 8:03am
      Rabbitz said | January 18th 2013 @ 8:03am | ! Report

      On ABC radio this week Kurt Fearnley summed it succinctly when said that if Armstrong comes out of this as the “victim” it would make Fearnley physically ill.

      I am sure, however, that the worshippers will find solace in his “apologies” and will continue to worship. The haters will continue to hate. The WADA / USADA / UCI / IOC / Armstrong lawyers will get richer while the rest of us will shrug our shoulders, think “who cares?” and carry on with our lives.

      • January 18th 2013 @ 9:10am
        jameswm said | January 18th 2013 @ 9:10am | ! Report

        It’s funny, I call them his disciples. There’s some sort of religious following of the guy, not sure why.

        Greg Martin (Fox Sports, ex-Wallaby) really fires up when his name’s mentioned. Marto had cancer and Lance was an inspiration, but Marto, you’re a grown man, and too old to believe in Santa Claus.

        • January 18th 2013 @ 1:52pm
          Christo the Daddyo said | January 18th 2013 @ 1:52pm | ! Report

          How can he continue to have supporters/disciples/worshipers/etc now that he has explicitly admitted cheating?

          • January 18th 2013 @ 2:09pm
            WoobliesFan said | January 18th 2013 @ 2:09pm | ! Report

            He can’t.

            What you see in people like Greg Martin is the inability – of seemingly mature and grown adults – to accept that it was all a lie because the connection to the liar is was positively affirmative.

            It’s a mental and ego thing you see…..admit he was a cheat and you admit you got taken for a massive ride. They don’t want to come across as stupid and gulliable….but the thing is, they wouldn’t as how were they to know in the first place?

            The irony is that by still defending him when it’s now proen, you actually come across as a bit moronic.

            These fan boys are crazy I’m telling you….a bit kooky.

            As for LA…..a nasty, psychpathic human…..his venegance against those that tried to expose the truth is scarey…..he literally ruined many a cyclists career…sick sick man

            • Columnist

              January 18th 2013 @ 3:02pm
              Sean Lee said | January 18th 2013 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

              That’s the bit that is hardest to forgive WoobliesFan, the way he attacked those that were actually telling the truth. He had the power to actually destroy people. And that is what separates him from ordinary dopers. He harmed others as well as himself!

    • January 18th 2013 @ 9:04am
      B.A Sports said | January 18th 2013 @ 9:04am | ! Report

      While I will probably do as you Sean and watxh the interview, I can save you some time; there is no way he admits guilt on TV. If he does, you would think he will be indited for perjury on Monday.

      I don’t care what he has to say either. The lying, the cheating, whatever we have seen all that before. The race organsiers who claim they want their money back, go away, you made money off of him and in the back of your mind new he was a cheat

      To me it was the agressive way he not only denied his drug use, but the way we went after and destroyed the character of those who spoke out about him. Those people lost a lot and did nothing wrong and should be the ones in the front of the line when the court cases start up.

      • January 18th 2013 @ 10:44am
        jameswm said | January 18th 2013 @ 10:44am | ! Report

        So you reckon he’ll apologise for the stress and drama to Livestrong, his team etc?

        We want the apology to the Bassons of this world who he pursued, knowlingly falsely.

      • Columnist

        January 18th 2013 @ 3:07pm
        Sean Lee said | January 18th 2013 @ 3:07pm | ! Report

        My sentiments exactly.

    • Roar Guru

      January 18th 2013 @ 9:19am
      DingoGray said | January 18th 2013 @ 9:19am | ! Report

      I too will be watching purely on for the Train Wreck purposes….(you know you shouldn’t be watching, but you just can’t help yourself)

      What I would love to see happen…Is an Oprah ambush….Bring in Hamilton, Landis, the Andreu’s & Emma Reilly……

      Wouldn’t be good to watch Lance squirm…..(I know, never going to happen…But I can dream)

      • January 18th 2013 @ 11:11am
        WOLF said | January 18th 2013 @ 11:11am | ! Report

        hahah that would be pure GOLD!!!

      • January 18th 2013 @ 12:41pm
        matt h said | January 18th 2013 @ 12:41pm | ! Report

        Jerry Springer style!

      • Columnist

        January 18th 2013 @ 3:08pm
        Sean Lee said | January 18th 2013 @ 3:08pm | ! Report

        Now that would be worth watching! Like your style!

    • January 18th 2013 @ 9:55am
      Adam said | January 18th 2013 @ 9:55am | ! Report

      Nevermind the cycling world

      NRL player Jon Mannah lost his battle with cancer today, aged 23.

      Mannah was diagnosed back in 2009, faught his way back onto the NRLfield in 2011 with the Sharks and was all set to rejoin his brother (rep player Tim) on the field last year at Parramatta, before the cancer returned.

      He may not have been the greatest player of all time, but never a bad word was ever said of him. A class human being who touched many – may he rest in peace.

      Meanwhile the jerk Armstrong will continue to get the headlines.

      • January 18th 2013 @ 11:03am
        Nick Inatey said | January 18th 2013 @ 11:03am | ! Report

        Vale Jon Mannah.

      • January 18th 2013 @ 11:46am
        B.A Sports said | January 18th 2013 @ 11:46am | ! Report

        Such sad news.

        They (Jon and Tim) seem like the nicest guys from the nicest family.

        RIP Jon Mannah

      • January 18th 2013 @ 12:31pm
        sam said | January 18th 2013 @ 12:31pm | ! Report

        Very well said. Rest in peace Jon.

      • January 18th 2013 @ 2:10pm
        WoobliesFan said | January 18th 2013 @ 2:10pm | ! Report


      • Columnist

        January 18th 2013 @ 3:09pm
        Sean Lee said | January 18th 2013 @ 3:09pm | ! Report

        That’s very sad news Adam. I hope he gets the recognition he deserves.

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