Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Drug scandal weigh-in

Okay, time for me to weigh in on this drug scandal and Lance Armstrong. People don't seem to be getting what's going on here. Actually, those that do are probably just keeping quiet. So here's the deal. Remember when Lance pulled the very unsportsmanlike move in the 2004 Tour on Simeoni? If not, see this article or this for a recap.
__Armstrong's words are telling: "Simeoni ... it is a long history and (with) a guy like that, all he wants to do "Simeoni ... it is a long history and (with) a guy like that, all he wants to do is to destroy cycling ... to destroy the sport that pays him. Given the background, what he's saying can be interpreted in one of two ways, and recent events have shown how it is. One way is that Simeoni, as Armstrong stated, is a liar, and is falsely accusing Armstrong and anyone involved with Ferrari of doping. The other is that by making his testimony, he's illuminating the dark underbelly of pro cycling and thus undermining the complicit silence of everyone who dopes. The effects of that were seen during the Festina affair, and are being seen now. Basically, no one, including Armstrong, wants to undermine the secret of pro level cycling, which is that most everyone dopes, and has to dope in order to compete against those that do. Doing so "is to destroy cycling ... to destroy the sport that pays him" and everyone in the peloton that cooperated with Armstrong's tactic.
__This was admittedly one of Armstrong's shrewdest moves. He was able to take personal revenge by recruiting others' self interest (the breakaway's interest plus the threat of exposure of doping). However, many saw the move as being unsportsmanlike. Although he sounds whiny, Simeoni sums it up by saying "Today Armstrong showed the whole world what kind of person he is...I've suffered another big injustice from him with the whole world watching. A big champion like him can't possibly do something like that to a small rider like me and the other riders in the break who are looking for a moment of glory in the Tour de France."
__Of course it's clear that Armstrong has more than a small defamation lawsuit from a nobody rider at stake. Just like countless others he's strongarmed (get it?), Armstrong's move was a bid to silence anyone who's come forward to testify about his own doping. If it isn't clear now, I believe it's a matter of time before Armstrong's complicity will be shown.