This will prove you raced clean, Lance?

Sep 08 2008 Published by under Cycling, Doping

Now this is interesting. VeloNews is reporting that Lance Armstrong is coming out of retirement to race the big races again next year.

Lance Armstrong will come out of retirement next year to compete in five road races with the Astana team, according to sources familiar with the developing situation.
Armstrong, who turns 37 this month, will compete in the Amgen Tour of California, Paris-Nice, the Tour de Georgia, the Dauphine-Libere and the Tour de France -- and will race for no salary or bonuses, the sources, who asked to remain anonymous, told
VeloNews

Interesting sporting angle, what's all this about the doping, DM?


It should not be news that Lance was accused numerous times of doping. He was not, however, ever found guilty of doping and likes to say that he never turned in a positive test.
There is still a lot of muttering by fans, especially as each new revelation of doping or heavy doping suspicion for a former close competitor or domestique of Armstrong hits the news. Which is what makes these comments in the VeloNews report so interesting.

According to sources, the Texan will post all of his internally tested blood work online, in an attempt to establish complete transparency and prove that he is a clean athlete.
-snip-
Armstrong re-enrolled himself into the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's out-of-competition testing pool prior to August's Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race, where he finished second to Dave Wiens, said USA Cycling chief operating officer Sean Petty.

Oh boy, this doesn't sound good. No salary, no bonuses. Just doing it for the love of the sport. Oh, and "Ima gonna prove I din't dope, y'all!".
I just don't see upside here. Coming out of retirement is a dodgy business in cycling. 37 years is pretty old. Not the oldest high-performer evah. But old. So if he can't return to the high level of excellence he did before, people are going to observe that he can't even compete against the present level of undoped athlete. (Vanvelde had a comment in a recent print version of Bicycling magazine in which he said something about the speed in the hills this year being dramatically slower.) If he does kick butt, great. But there is no way he's going to crack off another 7 years of dominance is there? So there will still be muttering.
Oh well, should be entertaining anyway.
__
Update: Bruyneel sez, whut?; Astana sez, not us.

12 responses so far

  • juniorprof says:

    Entertaining indeed. And good for him, should at bring some general excitement back to a few more races next year. Moreover, I'm feeling a bit motivated from this news to get back on my training schedule for this year's Tour de Tucson. I'm gonna score this a win all around (and a big win for my waist-line). Time to hit the road!

  • I'm not sure what Lance's motivation is for wanting to make a comeback - he doesn't need the money so maybe he's just bored. It's always a little sad (and more than a little pathetic) to see past champions return to the sport that they left while on top or due to injuries (the latter is my own sad and sorry tale ... **sob**).
    Keep your dignity Lance and scrap the comeback. Follow my lead and retire as an unconquered enigma.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    All snark aside, PiT, I think the approach he had in the past what with all the testing and watt profiles and all that means that if Lance comes back he will not be an embarrassment. Not the way lead-boy was anyway. They'll know if he's close to what is necessary or not.
    Not only does he not need the money, the report said he wasn't taking the money. salary and prizes anyway, he may have ownership interest in the team, I don't know.

  • randy says:

    his level of fitness has been shown in his shift to marathons. clearly not a marathon runner, but he put up some damn good times for an amateur. I think he should learn to swim and do Iron Mans.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    umm, randy? You ARE kidding right?
    homie started as a trigeek.....

  • Nic says:

    He turned in an impressive performance at Leadville so I think he still has a few good years left. I mean Jeannie Longo is still kicking tons of young bums being half a century old.

  • Markk says:

    Bryneel never heard of this. Astana Management neither. No confirmation as yet.

  • crf says:

    Can you cycle while blind?
    He didn't seem to notice any of his team-mates or competitors using a variety of drugs, supplied by team doctors and masseusses, nor did he insist upon a reliable, verifiable testing system: all this despite the fact that as the top rider in the world, his income and reputation were tied to the sport's image as clean: deliberate naivete?
    Since his retirement, he's also been steadily spewing pseudo-scientific bs about drug testing. His sport was a cesspool of dopers, and, even if he is clean, he willingly jumped right in: it's perfectly legitimate, in such a situation, for people to question whether he is clean, and he knows that know, and knew it then. He could have banked his own blood through third parties for instance, if he was so concerned about his future reputation, as some athletes are doing now. He could have insisted his team-mates bank samples, or follow some testing protocol.
    He's either managed his career in a blindingly stupid way, or a doper. The doper theory has physical and testimonial evidence to support it (it's well laid out on Armstrong wikipedia entry).
    Lance Armstrong is part of the problem right now. Everyone from 2007 backwards is assumed TAINTED by the sport's more realistic fans. He has to decide what's more important: his reputation or cycling's. Other cyclists from his era have admitted to doping on their own accord, to try to salvage the honour of the sport, but not Lance.

  • natural cynic says:

    randy: Armstrong was a triathlete before taking up cycling alone. He won some minor triathlons in the open age group [beating all adults] while still in his early teens.

  • Ian says:

    It's not about doping. It is about addiction.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    you mean to fame or something? Why didn't he run for political office then?

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Armstrong has confirmed the news:

    What team he'll ride with and in what other races he'll compete are undecided, Higgins said.
    "I am happy to announce that after talking with my children, my family and my closest friends, I have decided to return to professional cycling in order to raise awareness of the global cancer burden," the 36-year-old Armstrong said in a statement released to The Associated Press. "This year alone, nearly eight million people will die of cancer worldwide. ... It's now time to address cancer on a global level."
    In an exclusive interview with Vanity Fair, Armstrong told the magazine he's 100 percent sure he's going to compete in the Tour de France next summer. "I'm going back to professional cycling," he said in the story posted Tuesday on the magazine's Web site. "I'm going to try and win an eighth Tour de France."

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