Sunday, 17 June 2012

Lance Armstrong Charged


I read this week that the US anti doping team have finally brought charges against Lance Armstrong.  Lance has obviously denied all the charges and said he will fight the claims.

What makes this case not quite sit right with me is not the fact they have charged him or whether he actually did take performance inhancing drugs but to question, why now?

I appreciate that many of the authorties have tried to to pin the drug charge on Lance and now it looks like they believe they have enough data and evidence to actually get a conviction. What though will they achieve by following this through? 

Its now 5 years since Lance last won a Grand Tour.  He retired 2 years ago from cycling and whilst he still competes in iron man race he is unlikley to win given his age.  You have to remember that he does a huge amount of work for  charity through his Livestrong campaign.  He still now creates a desire for others to take up the sport and acts as a huge role model for many would be professionals and young cyclists.

Should he have got away with it if he did take drugs to win, no he should not.  But to attempt to convict him after all these years seems a bitter and very delayed attempt to ruin a reputation that even if created unfairly still has a huge positive role to play in the sport.  Great role models are difficult to find and ones that do great things outside of their sport even harder.

Lance armstrong competed at a time when if you believe some almost all of the top level cyclists were involved in some level of performance enhancement.  It seems too late and wrong to seek a conviction now.  What would happen to all the results, do we have 7  tour results with a star next to them like Alberto Contidors scrubbed result.  Forr most Alberto is still seen as the winner and Andy Schlek as a loser?

Lance Armstrongs victories were often iconic, devilish and dominant results.  Lets remember them for that and allow the sport to move on.  It has aired enough dirty laundry recently and the sport genuinly seems to have taken huge strides foward and it genuinely appears to be a drug free sport for the most part.  Let the old be the old and lets look forward.  It will hardly affect Lance Armstrongs bank account, in fact a conviction would allow him to sell a book, maybe with a different angle.  What a conviction would do is destroy an awesome Charity and have a gigantic impact again on the reputation of cycling.  The sort simple does not need it.  If he did get results unfairly he can atleast in his heart sy he has used that wealth and influence positivly for others.

Cheats should be punished, but lets do it at the time not afterwards in what is looking more and more like a witch hunt!

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