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?