Last week, the bubble finally burst on the whole Lance Armstrong thing. I’d long since given up the idea that he’d raced clean, or that, in fact anyone had raced clean. Reading Tyler Hamilton’s “The Secret Race”, @Vaughters’ tweeting this summer, and the earlier USADA leaks had pretty much convinced me that cycling had been doped for most of the Postal/Disco run.
Reading some of the raw testimony, reading the statements of the confessed riders, and reading the continued denials from Armstrong himself were really kind of getting me down. On one hand, without a critical mass of cyclists confessing together, it’s really easy to keep the omerta going – reference Floyd Landis, Tyler Hamilton, and Bassons getting the cold shoulder from the entire cycling industry when they tried to shine a light (yes, after years of lying in the cases of Floyd and Tyler) on doping. So, giving out light punishment to lots of riders who confess at the same time has the effect of encouraging confessions.
On the other hand, think of a rider like Chris Horner – currently not implicated in any of the scandals – who spent the late 90s and the early 2000’s riding at the top of the US pro circuit, bringing in literally hundreds of dollars at races in office parks and beer primes, all because he chose to race clean. No podium girl wife for him, no villas in Girona, just a second shot at a EuroPro career once the peloton cleaned up.
The darkness was threatening to consume me – Armstrong’s story played a huge role in my becoming a cyclist.
Then, I got on my bike, and realized I had new yellow to ride for in the golden light of fall.