Jeff @ DangleTheCarrot emailed me yesterday wondering what I thought of Lance after the Tyler Hamilton 60 Minutes broadcast.
I responded first with, "I am VERY biased," which then proceeded into a loooooong rant finishing with, "I should probably blog this." Jeff agreed.
So here goes:
I went to a VERY small private high school tucked up into the middle of nowhere in New Hampshire. Tyler Hamilton went there as well, but graduated in 1990; I graduated in 2001, but the same cycling coaches were there for Tyler and for me. When I was on the cycling team during '99, '00, and '01, we would always joke and strive to be the next "Tyler" since at that time Tyler was riding FOR Lance @ the TDF. On rainy days we would watch old videos of Tyler racing for our team 10 years prior and lapping the field at a crit race on an old 1/3 mile track. We would be so inspired by him! We wanted to become him! So this is why I am biased.
Tyler also had the name of "Mr. Nice Guy" in the peleton. Everybody respected him and NOBODY talked bad about him. Everyone thought he was clean.
So I think that right there gives some merit to who he is, even though he has a dark side we are all finding out about now. He did swear on the life of his wife's life and the grave of his late dog that he never doped, so that kind of worries me. Why would he do that then and tell the truth now? Is he telling the truth now? What were his motivations for lying then? What are his motivations for telling the truth now?
But now I think it is George Hincapie's testimony that will really break the case wide open. He was with Lance for all 7 tours and has a squeaky clean reputation.
Lance has enough $$$ and connections to make anything go away. His urine from 1999 tested positive for EPO in 2005 when they retested it. His lawyer's squashed it for technical reasons. It was still his urine and it still tested positive for EPO! They didn't have a test for EPO in 1999.
I now know why the Livestrong foundation got so big. It is Lance's get out of jail free card. You can't bring down Lance because then you will bring down a super successful and highly respected foundation. The Morals of society can't let that happen!!! Can it?
I want to know what the "big picture" is for going after Lance. What is the Federal Gov't gonna get out of all this? The amount of $$$ they spent on the team was peanuts compared to what they are spending overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. Is this to teach a lesson to others? Who else is sponsored by a federal agency popping pills and shooting EPO? Or will the Gov't go after ANYONE who has ever defrauded them in the past. If so, there would be a backlog of fraud cases for five centuries!
Lance is a big deal, but I don't think he is that big of a deal for the Gov't to waste so many resources on this.
I saw Lance race in the Tour de France in person up on Alp D'Huez and on the Champs Elysees in Paris in 2003, and saw him @ the Tour De Georgia in 2004 and 2005. If he gets convicted of fraud and what not, I will still remember him more by the good shows he put on over the years and how he stared down Jan Ullrich with "The Look", rather than the doping fiascos over the years.
Lance, I want to hate you but I want to love you all at the same time. Thank you for entertaining and inspiring us for so many years.