Controlling the Narrative
Lance Armstrong has launched a kinder, nicer offensive.
of cycling is naïve. He wants quid pro quo – I give you something, now you need to give me something back. What he wants is to be able to return to competition.
You may be wondering, why does he want to return to competitive sports at 42 years of age? It's not like he's going to join a WorldTour team. No - it's all about the money.
You don't need to look any further than other disgraced professional athletes. They do the crime, serve the time - and all the while the fans are outraged by the behavior of their star athlete. However, once their time is served they return to their sport and the sponsorships return. Right now, Armstrong could use some sponsorship love. You are sadly mistaken if you don't think that Armstrong could get himself into an IronMan event (if his lifetime ban is repealed) and find a full sponsorship ride.
Sure it will be a slow start, but once Armstrong gets his name in the public and is competing as an “example of a clean athlete” the money will start. Even if he competes for a couple of years, every race gives him the opportunity to have a platform to repeat, much like his now infamous “Most Tested Athlete in the World” phrase, that doping was a level playing field and he was just a cog in a corrupt system.
He's smart enough to parlay his appearances into bigger deals. Yes, he'll never amass the same wealth he had after he won his seventh Tour de France title, but it's a start back into normalcy of making appearances and conducting training camps for fan boys. I'm sure these are just tip of the iceberg ideas and his advisors have a long-term strategy planned out.
This past Sunday, Armstrong met with Emma O'Reilly, his former U.S Postal soigneur and one of the first to break ranks to say Armstrong was cheating. The reason for the meeting was for Lance to say he was sorry to Emma, but he also dropped a few warning shots to those who he now considers his enemy – the UCI.
In the sit down interview Armstrong tells the Daily Mail reporter accompanying O'Reilly that the backdated prescription was former UCI president Hein Verbruggen's idea. Hey Verbruggen – you hear that? That's the bus Lance is throwing you under. I'm sure the Texan has some other salacious tid-bits in his back pocket. For those of us who follow the sport we already had our suspicions about how the UCI was working hand in glove with the U.S. Postal Service team to keep the doping program on the down-low. It looks like this will now be aired in public.
So what's next? Johan Bruyneel is scheduled to go before USADA in London in December. My money is that he'll back up Armstrong's claim that the UCI took the lead in covering up doping practices and just like Lance, the Belgian was just working within the system that was already in place when he got there.