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Armstrong put victory ahead of integrity

Lance Armstrong succumbed to cancer. Not testicular cancer. He beat that. But he never even fought the cancer that will annul his cycling career: doping. Armstrong decided he’d rather be a famous champion than an honest loser. Now, he is neither.

Lance could have done more than any man alive to clean up one of the dirtiest sports. Had he, after winning seven Tour de France races, confessed that he’d doped because cycling is so sick that nobody could win the Tour without drugs, he’d have forced the Union Cycliste Internationale to admit that its doping controls are a farce.

He’d have bequeathed to future riders a sport where they could win without risking their lives and wrecking their health by doping. But that would have required a different Lance Armstrong, a Lance to whom integrity counted more than image, character more than victory.

As it is, we have the worst outcome: Armstrong’s prestige is in ruins and the UCI remains in denial. Cycling still isn’t safe for honest riders. Armstrong’s Livestrong foundation has done immeasurable good for cancer patients, but Lance is cycling’s Barry Bonds. He couldn’t beat the cheaters honestly, so he joined them. Let his “victories” be forgotten.

Eric Went



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