• People Talk and My Ear Bleeds


    from Twitter


    Friday, August 26, 2005

    Lance Armstrong

    Why is there such deep animosity between the Americans and French?? America won its freedom because the French helped us by attacking the English navy and making a war against the colonies too costly for the empire to maintain. Years later, the Americans became the straw that broke the camel's back and pushed Germany to capitulate in World War I. A mere twenty-something years later, our invasion onto the beaches of Normandy with the British spelled the first death-throes in an evil Nazi Germany occupation and the eventual second liberation of France.

    Do the French feel they are less manly or strong because America played a large role in liberating France twice in recent history?? Do Americans feel hurt in their "we are the only superpower" machismo because we owe our genesis to a country that we had to bail out twice?? Or maybe it's culinary--American cuisine will never have the taste or become the art that is French cuisine.

    Whatever the reason (and we could extend this into Vietnam...that American's harbor animosity to France because we had to bail them out in Indochina only to take a beating ourselves for almost 20 years after Dien Bien Phu), L'Equipe, has taken this absurd rivalry to cycling with its often written accusations about AMERICAN and 7-time Tour de FRANCE winner Lance Armstrong taking banned substances. Does he dope? Use EPO? Other performance enhancing drugs?

    I am saddened by the newspaper's lack of ethics. The cycling world is already divided between those who see doping as universal, and thus Armstrong obviously doped like everyone else, and those who see Armstrong's genetic and physical gifts as his claim to fame. It will always be that way. What cycling doesn't need is a pissant newspaper huffing and puffing about something that does not matter. The samples used for testing were B samples.

    Working in a microbiology lab, I feel very qualified to tell everyone that the way something is stored can drastically alter its constituent parts, and even something like a typical freeze-thaw freezer can destroy any biological sample. Without an A sample to compare it to, and meticulous records detailing how the sample was stored over the last seven years, and research on the stability of EPO in Urine while frozen, makes even the slightest accusation nothing more than mudslinging.

    There are many reasons for the heightened level of EPO recorded, not the least of which could be residual EPO from Armstrong's chemotherapy. Another reasonable explanation is that yes, he did use it. Ultimately, nothing can be proven, except that Lance Armstrong did what no man has ever done--win 7 tours--and on French soil. A prideful France must be stung by a prideful American winning something a Frenchman has not won for almost 20 years.

    I wish all the accusations would go away. The tour next year will be wide open, and one of the most entertaining in recent history. Let Armstrong ride off into the sunset and embrace the new generation of cyclists. More importantly, address not old doping allegations, but the fact that cycling will continue to be suspect as long as doping is not curbed in the here and now. The sucess of Armstrong is merely the whited wall hiding the rot of pervasive drug use in the sport. And most importantly, let's all put down the pride that ruins what could be a great friendship between the French and American people. Lord knows there's too much pride in this world anyway.

    No comments: