Greg Lemond, winner of three world championships and Tours de France, was an iconic figure in American bicycling in the 1980s. He set the bar that all other American cyclists would be compared to. In 1987 Lemond was involved in an accidental shooting while hunting with his brother-in-law. Just two years later he would win the Tour de France by beating Laurent Fignon on the final stage time-trial in Paris. His eight second victory over Fignon remains the closest finish ever in the Tour de France. He placed the United States center stage in a sport that has been dominated by the Europeans. Why is it then that Mr. Lemond finds it necessary to continue taking shots at Lance Armstrong? Because he’s a tool, that’s why.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know by now that Lance has announced his plans to come out of retirement and return to professional cycling. He will be re-united with his old friend Johann Bruyneel and race on the Astana squad. He will not be paid for his racing but will instead use the exposure to promote cancer awareness around the globe. Mr. Armstrong is a cancer survivor himself who overcame testicular cancer to return to the sport of cycling and win seven consecutive Tours de France.
Once he started winning the Tour de France his critics came out of the woodwork. The doping record of professional cycling hasn’t helped. He has undergone test, after test, after test and there have been no conclusive results that have linked Lance to illegal performance enhancing drugs. It never fails though that rumors will begin circulating anytime Mr. Armstrong is in the news regarding cycling. His announcement to return to cycling after a four-year absence is no different. Lance is receiving more criticism in the area of drug use even though he has committed to making his blood tests public following his return. Don Catlin, former head of UCLA’s World Anti-Doping Agency accredited laboratory, will post Armstrong’s biomarkers online for the entire world to see.
Mr. Lemond decided to show up at an Interbike Trade Show press conference last week where Lance was set to outline the details of his comeback. Lance allowed Lemond the first question and he immediately set to questioning Catlin’s testing methods. The press conference was moved along by Armstrong after an exchange between Lemond and Catlin but Lemond wouldn’t let it die stating, “So, the whole history has just been passed over?” Yes, Greg, it has. The investigations, the countless tests, and the court appearances are over with. No charges have been filed. No substantial evidence has been produced. No bans have been issued. No wins have been stripped. You need to get a grip and move on. I almost wonder if you’re not jealous of Lance’s success. Where’s the Lemond I grew up with that was fighting the politics of the European peloton to establish himself? Where’s the Lemond that overcame a horrific hunting accident to win the tour? Where’s the Lemond that put USA cycling on the map? Wherever he is you need to find him, have him step up to the plate with Lance, and make the sport better instead of continually trying to re-open old wounds.
In short, don’t be a tool.