Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 22 November 2014

Do the Tour de France organisers have no shame?

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong
Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong

It's almost as if Travis Tygart, the US Anti-Doping Agency, the investigative work of David Walsh and Paul Kimmage and the seedy, bullying peloton culture never happened.

Unbelievably, incredibly, Stephen Roche said this week of the list of Tour de France winners: "Armstrong should stay on that list.

"In the history of the race you can't not have a winner for seven years. Doping has been a part of sport, not only for cycling, for decades."

Quite the turnaround for a man who said he was unaware of drugs during his entire career. The timing of this is strange for some.

We understand the apathy sometimes towards 'The Lance Problem'. As huge and enormous as it was and remains, there is something about the reams of newsprint about blood transfusions, EPO and cortisone ointments for saddle sores that can be hard for the man on the street to grasp. Eyes tend to glaze over.

Some might vaguely acknowledge that Armstrong was a cheat, but because so many were doping, it was almost unfortunate that he was caught.

Over at the Tour de France, the former UCI President Pat McQuaid has said Armstrong was a victim, and instead deflected blame onto USADA.

What is this guy still doing at the Tour? Do the Tour organisers have no shame or sense of credibility?

Years ago, Kimmage said of Armstrong's return: 'The cancer is back'. It was perhaps an unfortunate metaphor that Armstrong himself twisted to good effect. But as true as it was then, it remains now because of contorted revisionism.

The sport is ruined. What a shame.

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