Lance Armstrong — Hero, Doping Cheater and Tragic Figure: The Case Against Him
In Silicon Valley where I live, biking is the new golf. On any weekend, the roads around Palo Alto and the surrounding Santa Cruz Mountains are thick with cyclists of all ages and levels. But this being Silicon Valley - which is to say super rich and competitive - a high percentage of cyclists ride hard-core, Tour-caliber $9,000 Trek Madones or similarly priced steeds from Specialized, Bianchi, Cervelo, Colnago, Cannondale and the like.
We all want to be like Lance.
Lance Armstrong stands on the highest podium of heroes who inspire middle-age men and women to get off their duffs and sweat. Facing a 19 mile, 4,000 foot climb up Mt. Hamilton near San Jose, as I did on Memorial Day, plodders like me will think of Lance. An image of Lance in full grimace will come into our heads. Because Lance suffered to become the greatest Tour de France rider in history, and suffered before that to defeat a cancer that had gone into his brain and lungs, and suffered still more as a youth in a single-mom home, well, maybe we can suffer some, too.
Lance made suffering cool. Lance is like a secular Jesus. His suffering and ultimate triumph gives hope.
This hope is why most weekend cyclists, along with most cancer patients and survivors throughout the world, DO NOT WANT TO HEAR about the possibility of Lance and steroids, Lance and human growth hormones, Lance and EPO, Lance and blood transfusions. We do not want to hear that Lance Armstrong cheated to win. Millions of us have too much invested in Lance Armstrong to learn otherwise.
Yet here it is, the case against Lance Armstrong, as laid out by the United States Anti-Doping Agency on Tuesday.