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Tick's Blick 20 April 2005
By Tick
Date: 4/20/2005
Tick's Blick 20 April 2005

Oh, say can you see...

What will be the future of American professional cycling? The sport received two major blows this week, as the two biggest participants in the sport took their leave.

Actually, it's hard to compare in any respect the two athletes, their accomplishments, and their methods of leave-taking. But together it adds up to not much good.

Lance finally decided to call an end to his spectacular career. Will he win the Tour this year, his swan song, an unbelievable 7 in a row? I expect he will; frankly he will probably be more motivated than ever. Will anyone ever tie or break his record? Probably - nothing lasts forever. And who will that be? Now that's a question I can't answer. It may well be someone who is not even born yet.

Lance is leaving the stage with standing ovations, while Tyler Hamilton is slinking off to boos and catcalls, with only scattered support. "Guilty, guilty," ruled the arbitrators, and condemned him to a two-year ban. The 20 page decision made for fascinating reading, even if much of the scientific reasoning was far beyond my comprehension.

So one goes out on top and the other on the bottom. Which will stick in the minds of the greater American public - meaning that large portion of it which doesn't follow pro cycling? When they see the fellows out there in their brightly colored shorts and jerseys, will they think: Oh yes, bike racing, Armstrong, cancer, or will they think: Oh yes, bike racing, they all dope. What was the name of that guy?

Or will it all blow over and the US cycling scene will rest quietly another 10 years - as it did before between Lemond and Armstrong - and then produce another champion?

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