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Thread: Lance Armstrong

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    Lance Armstrong

    Anyone watch the 30 for 30 special last night. It was part 1 of 2, finishes next Sunday. I didn't think there was much more to learn about him, but the two-hour special was full of new information. New to me, anyway, and I considered myself fairly well-versed on his story. Interesting...

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    Re: Lance Armstrong

    Quote Originally Posted by dawg80 View Post
    Anyone watch the 30 for 30 special last night. It was part 1 of 2, finishes next Sunday. I didn't think there was much more to learn about him, but the two-hour special was full of new information. New to me, anyway, and I considered myself fairly well-versed on his story. Interesting...
    Saw all of it Saturday night. Really liked it. Watched some more of it again on the rerun last night. I will say, Lance Armstrong is a hard guy to like. Even though you want to cheer for him and wish him well, he's just a real turd in the punch bowl at times. Not a very endearing teammate, unless its all about him.

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    Re: Lance Armstrong

    He definitely was a punk as a teenager and was starting to be successful in triathalons. His first coach helped him a lot, financially too, and then Lance dumped the guy when they were in Bermuda. And, Armstrong continued to be a punk, of sorts, throughout his career. He was all about winning...at any cost, and that meant using people and then dumping them when they no longer suited him. That part of Lance's story is sorry-ass. BUT! he's not too different from many, many other very successful people, including in sports.

    On the use of drugs...performance-enhancement substances and techniques. In 1993 Lance was 100% drug-free when he won the World Championship of Cycling. And, he destroyed the world-class field doing it. There is no doubt he had REAL talent and ability, and that proved it. It was in 1994 that some Italians, under the guidance of that Dr. Farrari, started using EPO and they were winning everything! Lance talked about how riders he had blasted the previous two years were all of sudden winning big races. Lance says he and his team couldn't understand what was happening so they went out and trained even harder. Another thing about Lance...no one worked harder or trained harder than he did. All the talk about the use of performance-enhancement drugs later in his career, while true, does not diminish the fact he worked hard at his sport. Well...by 1996 Lance learned the truth about others using EPO. It appeared that was the "new normal" in professional cycling, so either you did it as well, or you chose another profession.

    With the playing field level again...i.e. ALL pros using the same stuff....Lance once again emerged as the best, and his 7 straight Tour de France titles proved that. The one thing that did not change was his work ethic and his singular, focused drive to be the best. That has been my point all along. When all things were equal...1993 no one on drugs, 1999-2005 everyone on drugs, Lance was the best.

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    Re: Lance Armstrong

    Quote Originally Posted by dawg80 View Post
    He definitely was a punk as a teenager and was starting to be successful in triathalons. His first coach helped him a lot, financially too, and then Lance dumped the guy when they were in Bermuda. And, Armstrong continued to be a punk, of sorts, throughout his career. He was all about winning...at any cost, and that meant using people and then dumping them when they no longer suited him. That part of Lance's story is sorry-ass. BUT! he's not too different from many, many other very successful people, including in sports.

    On the use of drugs...performance-enhancement substances and techniques. In 1993 Lance was 100% drug-free when he won the World Championship of Cycling. And, he destroyed the world-class field doing it. There is no doubt he had REAL talent and ability, and that proved it. It was in 1994 that some Italians, under the guidance of that Dr. Farrari, started using EPO and they were winning everything! Lance talked about how riders he had blasted the previous two years were all of sudden winning big races. Lance says he and his team couldn't understand what was happening so they went out and trained even harder. Another thing about Lance...no one worked harder or trained harder than he did. All the talk about the use of performance-enhancement drugs later in his career, while true, does not diminish the fact he worked hard at his sport. Well...by 1996 Lance learned the truth about others using EPO. It appeared that was the "new normal" in professional cycling, so either you did it as well, or you chose another profession.

    With the playing field level again...i.e. ALL pros using the same stuff....Lance once again emerged as the best, and his 7 straight Tour de France titles proved that. The one thing that did not change was his work ethic and his singular, focused drive to be the best. That has been my point all along. When all things were equal...1993 no one on drugs, 1999-2005 everyone on drugs, Lance was the best.
    That's a good summary of Armstrong's professional life in Part 1. One thing is clear.....that sport (professional bicycling) has a long history of being dirty. And the fact that the race organizers ASO didn't re-allocate any of Armstrongs 7 Tour victories to his 2nd place finishers (like they did with the victories by Floyd Landis with Contador) tells you they knew Armstrong's 2nd place finishers were dirty too. Jan UIlrich would have joined the list of winners with 4 Tour wins. However, the ASO decided not to reallocate the titles won in those years, in recognition of the historic doping problem in the sport at that time - Ullrich himself having been banned for a doping violation. Ullrich, therefore, now has a single Tour victory to his name.

    On the personal front, I didn't know that Armstrong's mother was so young. She was only 17 when Lance was born. Also, Lance could have been a unique spokesman for Cancer patients for the rest of his life, but he let his competitive nature get the best of him. Now, he can never get that back.

    I can't wait to see Part 2.

  5. #5
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    Re: Lance Armstrong

    More news...to me. I found Lance's candid answers revealing and for him, refreshing. He was, and in many ways still is, a jerk.

    Floyd Landis went public and released his statement, which really started the whole investigation in 2006, just because Lance and Bruynell didn't invite him to join the newly formed Radioshack team. Petty. And...the single most important factor: Lance's ill-advised return in 2009, coming out of retirement, led to Lance's demise. Had he stayed in his original retirement, his world would be totally different today.

    Few other tidbits...

    Lance turned down $millions of sponsorship money, actually $80 million from NIKE alone, and instead had NIKE donate that money to his cancer foundation. In fact, Lance made $0 from Livestrong and he often spent on his own money in support of events. Now, you might say, well, Lance was a multi-millionaire and he could afford it (back then) and that is true. Still, he could have enriched himself even more if he wanted to.

    To me, the most poignant parts of the last night's show was the truth of how Lance conducted himself through Livestrong. Many, many times he was the last person to see cancer patients alive. He would sit for hours and hold the hand of a dying patient and just talk to them. But, he is also credited with saving lives. That interview with that woman, a cancer survivor, who says emphatically she would not be alive today if not for Lance Armstrong is inspiring. She made a salient point about the "two sides" of Lance. She said his good work in fighting cancer does not excuse his drug-use and cheating in cycling, but conversely, his cheating in cycling does not diminish his great work in fighting cancer. He should never have been removed from his board position in Livestrong. That is a travesty.

    Back to cycling...

    Bob Roll is a former pro cyclist, rode on the original American team, the 7-Eleven Team way back in the 1970's and is now a TV guy covering cycling. When all of this really came to light, and the likes of Armstrong, Landis, Hamilton, Hincappie, Ullrich, Basso, Vinokurov, Panetti, and all the other "greats" were brought down in the PED scandals...Bob Roll, on live TV, had one of the most heart-wrenching moments in sports' history. With tears in his eyes he opened up...remember, this was on live TV, during that year's Tour de France coverage on NBC Sports. Roll said: how hurtful all of this is to him, and many others like him, pro cyclists who never cheated, never used PEDs and just thought they weren't good enough to compete with the greats. No matter how hard I trained, how hard I worked, Roll said, I could never reach the level of those guys and just assumed, well, I wasn't good enough. So, assuming they were like me, I thought well, those guys are just better, naturally gifted. Bob Roll rode in the Tour de France, and in other big races, so he was very, very good, obviously. Now, Roll concluded, I learn I was cheated. That without their use of drugs, maybe I was indeed good enough to win the Tour or other big races. And mostly, Roll said, I am crest fallen...those guys were heroes to me, just like they were to cycling fans. I so admired them.

    More than we fans, who were left disappointed by the whole mess, Bob Roll, and others like him, were damaged the most by the cheating.

    So, now Lance is living in Colorado with his wife and two young kids, and his oldest son, Luke, playing football at Rice. And he is still on the hook for $100 million in damages because of the lawsuits he is supposed to pay off. His reputation and his legacy are forever wrecked.

  6. #6
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    Re: Lance Armstrong

    There is a new American rider...Sepp Kuss from Durango, Colorado, home of Bob Roll. The new "Durango Kid." Finished 4th yesterday on the most difficult stage in this year's tour. Might have done even better, but with the lead in the final miles, he sat up to wait for his team leader who is in yellow. If he can time trial, and we'll find out Saturday, he has a future as a GC contender. He currently sits 16th overall, but he has been working for the team leader.

    Would like to see a crop of young Americans make some noise in international cycling.

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