The Death of a Professional Cyclist

News & Results

10/16/2012| 1 comment
by Neil Browne
Lance Armstrong Fotoreporter Sirotti

The Death of a Professional Cyclist

Showing character doesn't mean you are perfect.

may seem small to you the reader or small in comparison to those of some pros who spoke out, which resulted in them losing their jobs. I'm not trying to make it all about myself - but at the end of the day people who spoke out got squashed. I wish I could say it isn't continuing, but it still is.

Nike is continuing to back Armstrong. Not a huge surprise as they continue to sponsor football player and convicted felon Michael Vick. Oakley is taking a wait and see approach to the situation as Armstrong's endorsement sold a lot of eyewear for that company.

Some journalists are taking a hard look at themselves, but a few are still making excuses for themselves or have their heads jammed into the sand, as they continue making excuses for Armstrong. This is just as bad as the coaches, directors and wives who covered up this disaster.

I know I come off as angry, but this is a sport I sat down with as a kid and watched together with my dad. It's a sport that I loved and I watched it grow from a fringe sport here in the United States to something larger when Greg LeMond won the Tour de France for the first time in 1986. It continued to sit on the periphery of America's vision until Armstrong came along. From there the sport's popularity grew exponentially. The general population recognized what professional cycling was. I loved the sport and was proud to be a part of it during its growth.

So where does it leave the sport now? It will rebuild, but the fallout isn't done.

If you've read the riders’ affidavits you see some names redacted. These names will start to come out during Johan Bruyneel's hearings. At this point, and with overwhelming evidence against him he still wants to go forward. Some of those blacked-out names are already becoming public, like Matt White who rode for Postal and is now a director at Orica-GreenEdge. While the tidal wave might have passed through, there are still some strong waves heading to shore.

With all this damning evidence you have to wonder what Armstrong's end move is going to be. There is no way he can stand in front of a crowd, like he did just a couple of weeks ago and introduce himself as a seven-time Tour de France winner. He'd be laughed off stage. These are my thoughts on what the disgraced rider does next.

Armstrong still has sycophantic writers. In a couple of years Armstrong will have one of them ghost write his side of the story and through personal stories of coming back from cancer, the pressure to perform and how he substituted training hard for a father's approval he would never get. It will present a sympathetic character like Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman.”

I hope that's not the case - it's just a gut feeling.

In response to Ryan Trebon's tweet, “You know what takes more courage to do than coming forward and

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Vindictive yes, in just about every story Neil writes you can sense it.