Time out: Something's not quite right in cycling circles

Lance Armstrong is either very, very guilty. Or exceptionally lazy.

His reason for ceasing to defend himself against accusations of using performance-enhancing drugs: “There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, ‘enough is enough’.”

I don’t know the man personally and admittedly have not ploughed through his autobiography, which may now be hoisted out of the Dewey Decimal system and into the fiction side of the library.

But I have seen his cameo in the movie Dodgeball where he states how he overcame various forms of cancer to win seven Tour de France titles.

He is the poster boy for smacking adversity in the face, for overcoming the odds, for fighting the good fight and winning.

And now, when his credibility and lifetime of achievements are on the line, he decides he really can’t be bothered any more.

It all seems a little suspiciously out of character.

Lance Armstrong is not the man I normally associate with the word “lazy”.

Lazy is Bernard Tomic’s forehand.

Lazy is a Nicky Dal Santo 50-metre pass which effortlessly hits the chest of  a Nick Riewoldt streaming full-pace down the wing.

Lazy is a crushing 36-goal win by Bendigo Advertiser’s Tuesday night mixed netball team against a group of Year 12 school students.

Lazy is not a man who hops on a bike for three weeks, pedals  like buggery over thousands of kilometres, up and down mountains in very tight shorts, no less than 13 times.

The way he has given up disputing doping charges makes me suspect Lancey may have been popping the pills, or injecting the juice, or whatever the cyclists call it these days.

It doesn’t help his cause that his main titles have come in the most scandal-plagued race in the most steroid-filled sport there is: the Tour de France, aka the Tour de Pharmacy or the Tour de Farce.

The first two runnings of the Tour de France, in 1903 and 1904, read something like a slapstick comedy from the silent film era.

In 1903, the first two placegetters were accused of taking trains throughout the race. 

In 1904, there were 12 cyclists disqualified in all, including the first four finishers and all stage winners. 

After four months of discussions, the fifth place-getter with an exquisitely French name, Henri Cornet, was awarded first place.

There are similar problems  facing tour organisers more than 100 years later. 

Are they going to award Cadel Evans the 2005 title because all seven people who finished in front of him have been investigated or convicted of drug use?

The Armstrong debacle is particularly stinging because it is so soon after the 2010 title was stripped off another big-name cyclist, Alberto Contador, after he tested positive for steroids.

Contador claimed his red blood cells were unusually high because beef he had eaten was contaminated.

Ah, the old piece of steak defence. A classic for sure, but it rarely holds up in a court of law.

And for those of you who are defending Armstrong with the whole “he never tested positive” thing, I have two words for you – Ben Cousins.

Ben Cousins, high as a kite for the majority of his playing career and yet never tested positive.

He had more ice in his system than a Mr Whippy van, but it was only after his playing career was well over that he came out and admitted himself he was a drug addict.

But hey, such is life. Or, according to a man I once met at a public establishment who decided to get a tattoo on his back in honour of the 270-game champion – “sutch is life”. 

Seems like the tattoo ended up more a commemoration to his lack of spelling prowess.

But back to the point at hand.

It’s a true shame for sport as a whole if Lance was on the drugs, but something about the whole thing seems quite fishy, or steaky, if we’re to fly with the  Contador thing.

Something needs to be done to change the culture of cycling.

And they may also want to alter that now misleading scene in Dodgeball.

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