I watched a video on YouTube the other day that labeled Lance Armstrong cycling’s greatest fraud. How true is that though?
Look, I’m not going to try to explain away what Armstrong did. He doped and he’s a cheater, he lied about it. On the other hand, has anyone ever not lied about it until they were absolutely f***ed into a corner? No. He also did just like most in cycling back then – lest we forget the huge French doping bust the year before he first won a TdF. There’s no doubt and no arguing against the fact that he cheated, but cycling’s biggest fraud?
Please. Let’s back off from the hyperbole for just a second.
Eddy Merckx, the greatest cyclist of all time, was caught doping three times more often than Armstrong (that’s 3 for Eddy, 1 for Lance). In 1998 a French team was caught with a whole entire car-load full of dope. If you actually listen to those in the know, the vast majority of teams were doping back then, it was just what you did. There’s a truckload of athletes in the mix with him, too. Cyclists, football players, baseball players… Take your pick.
See, here’s my problem: With all of the hyperbole surrounding Armstrong, and the “he is the worst cheater ever” crowd, it never rises above emotion. There’s no reason he’s the worst ever, he just is and I’m at fault for some crazy reason because I actually need a reason, not just a bunch of emotion.
I watched that whole documentary and I didn’t see anything that resembled evidence making him “worse” than any other of the cheaters except… that he was a better liar than Floyd Landis. Floyd admittedly sucked at lying.
In other words, take the emotion out and you’ve got another doping cyclist and a great liar. Just like every other doping cyclist. Except Floyd Landis.
Armstrong isn’t cycling’s greatest fraud – any cyclist who dopes fits that bill.
Call him the sport’s biggest “liar, liar, pants on fire” or even “cycling’s nastiest meany pants” but he’s no more a fraud that everyone else who cheated… which is basically almost every pro.
Look at it this way, prior to 2007, I know of two male pro cyclists who didn’t cheat. Two. Greg LeMond and that other guy. I don’t remember his name. Ironically.
One final note… if you have to hate Armstong, hate him for this: