The Giro d’Italia is reaching its latter stages, Cycling only becomes bigger and bigger in my household. The worst thing about professional cycling gaining a higher profile, is the speculation surrounding one of my all time hero’s and the truly inspirational Lance Armstrong.
Lance Armstrong began his career as a tri-athlete, before becoming a professional road cyclist. In 1996 at the age of 25, Armstrong was diagnosed with brain, lung and testicular cancer. He was given a 40% chance of survival by his doctors after his first surgery. Not only did Armstrong survive, he battled back to win Le Tour de France 7 consecutive times, earning 22 individual stage victories. An impressive feat after an inspiring story of survival.
In recent years Lance Armstrong has come under scrutiny from many, claiming that his success was due to him taking performance enhancing drugs, most notably EPO. These claims have gained alot of weight in the last few days, with former team mates Tyler Hamilton and George Hincapie both admitting to taking the drug alongside Armstrong. Hamilton made these startling claims for American TV show “60 minutes” due to be broadcasted tonight. View a clip of the show here.
The claims could potentially destroy the reputation of the great cyclist. A federal investigation into Armstrong has bought claims from three former team mates of Armstrong who claim he used EPO, Testosterone and blood transfusions in order to gain an advantage over his fellow riders.
Armstong denies all of the charges from Hamilton and Hincapie. He hit back at the accusations on Twitter saying “20+ year career. 500 drug controls worldwide, in and out of competition. Never a failed test. I rest my case.”
I don’t know whether it is just my romantic, rose-tinted viewpoint that makes me believe Armstrong’s innocence. Is it because he has been a hero in my eyes for so long? Is it because of the lack of hard evidence?
Whatever the reason for my view is, it doesn’t really matter. I am set in my stubborn viewpoint. Untill I see some real, factual evidence of this supposed ‘doping’ I can’t bring myself to believe it. I may be being naive, I may be bringing a romanticised view to the table, but I believe in his innocence.
Anyone can say anything to me. I will believe in Armstrong untill I see a confession or some hard evidence to support these claims. Time will tell as the evidence stacks up, but I’ve convinced myself of his innocence. If I found out he was guilty, I think I would feel crushed by my hero.
Feel free to comment your opinions in all the usual places.