The Tour de France. The most difficult, treacherous, crazy sporting event known to man. It takes endurance, speed, teamwork, strategy, intense training and apparently, doping.
I was a believer. I remember watching Lance Armstrong in various news stories during and after his cancer, talking about his motivation to return to cycling. His intense desire to reach the heights of a champion as a cyclist. How could someone who went through chemotherapy and other cancer treatments, survive, and then seek out doping? IN addition, Armstrong has an oversized heart that can be faster than most humans. His heart can also hold more VO2MAX, pump more oxygen through his lungs than other people. The man has genetic advantages. And he had the motivation. Why did he have to dope?
I watched every Tour de France that he won. I would be amazed at his ability to dig down deep, overcome and succeed. He was like no other athlete I had ever watched. I guess now we know why. It wasn't legitimate. It was doped. The fat that everyone in cycling knew of Armstrong and most other teams doping issues does not make this any easier. I was a believer. I read Lance's book. I wore the yellow bracelet. I stood up for him when others accused him of racing dishonesty. "No way", I would say, "There is no way Lance Armstrong is doping. He is the real deal."
Cycling is a farce. Is anyone in the sport for real.? Working within their own body limits? After the fiasco in baseball with steroids, and the debacle cycling has faced over the last few years, Marion Jones among others in track and field, are there any true amazing athletes that are for real? I am a cynic to start, but also naive, and I have always wanted to believe in the fairy tale.
You know, the one where the above average but not championship cyclist, overcomes amazing odds by beating testicular cancer that spreads to his brain, makes the comeback of a century by winning seven Tour de France races and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for cancer? At least the last part is for real. Armstrong ruined the fairy tale ending. And no one likes a broken fairy tale.