Lance Armstrong may have “a couple more mountains to climb,” said Bill Saporito in Time.com. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has accused the legendary cyclist, now 40, of using the banned substance EPO and giving himself blood transfusions during his record-setting seven victories in the Tour de France. If Armstrong can’t prove his innocence, he’ll be stripped of those seven titles. Many of us simply “do not want to hear that Lance Armstrong cheated to win,” said Rich Karlgaard in Forbes.com. He became a national folk hero by first beating cancer—which had ravaged his body and left him near death—and then going on to dominate the most demanding endurance competition in the world. But 10 of Armstrong’s teammates are claiming firsthand knowledge of his doping. And during the years he blew other top cyclists away on mountain climbs, they were all doping. For Armstrong to overcome the 5 percent performance advantage that doping confers would be virtually impossible.
What’s the point of ruining this guy? said Matt Seaton in Guardian.co.uk. The USADA has no “stone-cold proof” that Armstrong cheated, and is merely saying that more sophisticated, current tests of samples deemed clean at the time are “consistent” with EPO use and blood transfusions. A federal prosecutor just spent two years trying to indict Armstrong based on the same evidence, and decided in February not to file charges. We don’t know whether Armstrong doped, said Buzz Bissinger in TheDailyBeast.com, but almost every other star of Armstrong’s era went on to be exposed as a doper. Armstrong beat them all. So even if he was breaking the rules himself, at least “the playing field was even.”
Not true, said Bill Gifford in Slate.com. “Not everyone said yes to the proffered syringe,” and many young cyclists in Armstrong’s era who refused to cheat were denied the chance to compete at the very highest level. We owe it to them, and to cycling itself, to finally learn the truth about one of the most storied records in sports. Thanks to more stringent testing, cycling is much cleaner than in Armstrong’s day, said John Leicester in the Associated Press. But for everyone to believe in this beautiful sport again, with human beings pushing themselves to the limit against the backdrop of mountains, “the dirty past needs to be exposed and then deleted.” Go away, Lance. “Make way for a cleaner future.”
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