Would You Ride With Lance Armstrong?

Thanks, Lance Armstrong; you were bad for sport but you were good for many others. Kevin Norquay, a cyclist and cancer sufferer

Cancer survivor and champion

By Roger Childs

armstrongThere is probably no sportsman in the modern era who polarizes public opinion more than Lance Armstrong.

His heart-rending story of surviving cancer, immortalised in the best-selling book It’s Not About the Bike, made him a hero around the world.

His subsequent establishment of the Lance Armstrong Foundation: LIVESTRONG which raised over $US30 million for cancer research and support for sufferers, further enhanced his reputation.

This was followed by his successful return to competitive cycling and an amazing seven consecutive Tour de France victories.

Irrefutable evidence of sustained performance enhancement

Tyler Hamilton: one of many of Armstrong's former team mates who blew the whistle
Tyler Hamilton: one of many of Armstrong’s former team mates who blew the whistle

Then came the unfolding revelations of Armstrong’s systematic drug-taking and blood doping.

Following exhaustive investigations in America and Europe, the verdict was clear.

According to USADA (US Anti-Doping Agency). chief executive, Travis Tygart, the evidence shows beyond doubt that the US Postal Service Pro Cycling team ran the most sophisticated and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen.

Armstrong had not only used EPO, testosterone, human growth hormone, steroids and cortisone to beat his rivals, but had also put considerable pressure on team mates to do the same.

This resulted in his being stripped of his titles and banned from competitive cycling.

Surveying opinion on riding with Lance

lance-armstrong-in-aucklandArmstrong was recently in Auckland and hundreds of local cyclists went for a ride with him. This opened the debate about whether people should get out on their bikes with one of the greatest sporting cheats in recent history.

Te Horo Beach cyclist, Bruce Jenkins, decided to canvas the views of local Kapiti bikers on the issue.

Would you ride with Lance Armstrong?

He surveyed 40 people and in an 85% turnout, 17 said “Yes” and 17 said “No”.

Bruce’s conclusion: … people are more interested in cycling than politics. Brilliant, ride on.

I’m not a cyclist, but do run a bit….so I asked myself the question “would I run with Lance A. if he came this way and had a run and invited folks to join him?”

My answer to that question is “No”. I would see that, from a personal viewpoint, as condoning his actions. However I do forgive him for what he has done. Plus if he is sincere in his wish to move on and do some more of the good things, for others in life, he has my support and good wishes. I also appreciate that there are those, that by riding in Auckland, were expressing their forgiveness in that way.

Bruce’s survey was a great idea and initiative. Bruce Jenkins, like Kevin Norquay, are in my view “Real Deal” sportsmen who have both competed at a very high level. So it has been good that they have put some of their input into “Lance’s NZ visit”

Tony Fraei