Awful truth finally catches up on Armstrong
But Hamilton was ‘just’ a cyclist. Armstrong, through his epic personality and story was – and probably remains – a Christ -like figure for those whose lives he has touched through his work for cancer. It is understandable that there has been such a strong resistance to any voice which tarnished the Armstrong story.
People wanted and, in darkest hours which went beyond sport, needed to believe it.
His return to cycling was tied in with his ambitious Global Cancer Campaign. At that point, he was a like an athlete/saint. Hundreds of thousands believed, fervently. There were protest voices. Former champion Greg LeMond has spoken out against Armstrong when it would have been more prudent and easier to remain silent.
The Irish sportswriter and former cyclist Paul Kimmage has long pricked the conscience of professional cycling and now faces the bizarre – and frightening – scenario in which he is being sued – personally – by the UCI, cycling’s governing body, for articles he wrote in The Sunday Times.
Just a couple of days ago, Kimmage posted a message in his Twitter account which read: “This conflict with the UCI may seem like a game, and a game I’m enjoying but the truth is that it’s destroying my life.”
In the light of the shattering case presented by the Usada Reasoned Decision report, the most sensible thing for the UCI would be to surely forget about chasing an individual journalist around the courts and to assess openly and honestly where their sport went wrong and where it should go from here.
It is supposed to be one of the simple and enduring pleasures in life: cycling a bike. They all started out like that: kids on a bike, in love with the speed and solitude and the thrill of the race. But wrong turns were taken and it looks like Lance Armstrong has run out of road. Coming Up Roses is song number six on the eponymous album Elliot Smith, on which the last song, funnily, is called The Biggest Lie.