Lance Armstrong: man who strong- armed cycling gives up fight
By refusing to mount defence in doping case, Armstrong all but concedes he won his seven Tour de France titles by doping.
So no judge in a court of arbitration will ever be called to read sentence in the case of Lance Armstrong. But for anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear, the jury was never out.
By refusing to mount a defence in the US Anti-Doping Agency’s case against him, Lance Armstrong has – whatever equivocation and claims of persecution he persists in – all but conceded that he won his seven Tour de France titles by doping. And by walking away from a defence he has ceded those yellow jerseys and lost his status as the most remarkable serial winner in the history of the sport.
There may be some small fraternity of true believers who still need the master-narrative of the heroic cancer survivor-turned-sports superstar and still cling to a conviction that he could have beaten the rap if the world had not conspired against him.
Armstrong’s statement repeats a familiar litany of disingenuous indignation – his record of wins, a lack of physical evidence, the “nonsense” of this “witch-hunt” and so on – but by this decision, Armstrong has excommunicated himself from the Church of Lance: he no longer believes in the plausibility of his own denials. The aggression that kept accusers in check and witnesses silent for so long has been replaced by weariness and resignation.
“There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ For me, that time is now,” his statement reads.
Yet even a dope cheat still needs to be a master tactician to win the Tour de France: if Armstrong decided to quit the fight it was because this was the least worst option remaining to him. This pre-emptive retreat allows him to avoid the formal process of prosecution and conviction, and the humiliation that would have gone along with that. Perhaps his Livestrong foundation, and what remains of his tarnished brand, can thus survive in some netherworld of unreason.
Posted on August 24, 2012, in News and tagged Lance Armstrong concedes & tour de france title, Lance Armstrong gives up dope fight, Lance Armstrong loses dope fight. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.