NO MATTER which way you look at it, yesterday’s call by seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong to stop fighting doping allegations was a dark day.
It’s not just cycling that was rocked by Lance’s stance, but sport in general.
For years there were whispers Armstrong could not have achieved his Tour triumphs without help – whether it be the performance enhancing drug EPO, blood transfusions or some other chemical assistance.
Those whispers persisted and eventually became a roar.
Despite no positive result to doping from hundreds of tests, Armstrong was under attack from several quarters.
By yesterday he declared the fight was over.
He had won the greatest fight of all – for his life – but this battle with the US Anti-Doping Agency is one he no longer wants to wage in.
Armstrong’s call to surrender the battle raises more questions than it answers.
He is adamant he is no “drug cheat”, but does not want to face any more scrutiny. “Enough is enough,” he wrote on his website as he went some way toward explaining his decision.
USADA has declared Armstrong would be stripped of all wins, not just the Tour de France, dating back more than 14 years.
That call has to be ratified by cycling’s governing body, the International Cycling Union.
Just who they declare the winner from the titles stripped from Armstrong will be tough as several were or have been implicated in systematic doping.
A sport which has worked so hard to weed out cheats has had its reputation belted by the “biggest pin” being struck down.