Lance Armstrong & the Doping Scandal

 

In attempting to set the moral precedent for a generation, we like to see people destroyed on our behalf, taking on the sins of all the rest of us so that we have guidance about what is and isn’t acceptable. Lance Armstrong is no exception. He was massively successful – and now he has been brought down. His behaviour has been deemed illegal and unacceptable. He has had his wins erased and his legacy obliterated.

Except that of course, in reality, neither of these two final things has really happened. Whether he partook in, and masterminded, the “biggest doping scandal sport has ever seen” does not matter. He did win seven Tours de France. Perhaps you wish he hadn’t, but he still did. Maybe he used illegal methods and years of bullying to achieve them, but he still won them.  He could have been the only rider using illegal doping or he may have been just one of a many within the peloton. He still won seven Tours de France.

His training regime and riding style were revolutionary. His wins did not come about solely because of regular doses of EPO and other concoctions. They were an additional tool: one which has been part of cycling since its early days; always present but never really frowned upon. It was the death of Tom Simpson on Mont Ventoux that really brought to light the dangers of doping. But it was for the danger to health that doping became a target – not because of the advantage it gave to those who used it. According to many reports, doping was perhaps even more prevalent amongst those in the peloton simply struggling to survive the day to day rigours of a Grands Tours, not those pushing for jerseys and podium positions.

I do not in any way condone cheating or bullying, but Lance Armstrong was an inspiration to many young people like myself and this revelation about his years of  systematic doping does not alter what a massive impact he had on my life. I do not think we will ever know the true extent of doping throughout the Armstrong years, and the UCI is probably glad that we will not. Times have moved on and, in the main, doping is now a minor distraction for a few amongst a peleton of clean riders. This is most welcome.

Armstrong displayed some sublime riding, dauntless descending, and aggressive climbing. He inspired a generation of cyclists, continues to raise millions of dollars for charity, and promotes cycling in all its forms as a life-affirming and  life-improving activity through his shop Mellow Johnny’s. He seems to have moved on. Perhaps we all should as well.

 

 

So in an effort to move on, here’s some more music for your enjoyment! Recorded over at Kamikaze FM this is my latest show. All sorts to take in from Cumbian loveliness to Matmos lunacy, stonking blues and grimy beats. Keep riding and keep on listening.

 

26.01.13 Kamikaze FM: DJ Gotanyusher by Ferretboy on Mixcloud

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