Lance and Drugs and the Future

June 5, 2011

It’s being covered nearly every day in the press. Mostly Bicycling Magazine’s recap of court proceedings and purported discussions by George Hincapie and real comments by Tyler Hamilton. What seems to be happening is a consensus that Lance was certainly involved in a doping situation on the teams for which he raced. What is not clear – and it probably doesn’t matter – is whether Lance doped or not.

Here’s my stance…

I don’t care. While I was a soapbox fiend when baseball players started getting caught for using drugs, I was at a different and more enlightened stage of my fandom when I learned what pro cycling was doing. You see, I never knew pro cycling to be any different.

From my first real experience with the Tour de France in 1998, I understood there was animosity between the UCI and the riders. And I understood that many – if not the majority – of the riders took drugs. So the playing field for me was always tainted.

This didn’t make me, as a fan, any less involved or passionate about watching the sport or desiring to attend the races. It didn’t move any of the riders down in my eyes, because it was all apples to apples at the top end.

So, if Lance did dope, does it matter now? And if they decide to sanction or remove his awards, does it matter now? Finally, to be fair, how could they (UCI and other governing bodies) be sure that riders #2, #3 #4 and beyond didn’t also dope?

The powers that be would have to effectively remove all awards and trophies and records from the books and start anew. And that isn’t going to happen.

I want to bury that part of cycling in the sand and go forward in the post-Lance era. I still yearn to attend the TDF every year (and I’ve already been a number of times). And I still am excited to put my life on hold for 20+ days in July every year while I blog, watch and eat, drink and breathe the event.

This hasn’t changed my outlook, it’s just given me one more topic to write about. Now go get clipped in and let the races continue!