I love American cycling. I grew up watching Greg LeMond, who was Lance Armstrong before Lance Armstrong was Lance Armstrong. Except that LeMond simply won races, and opted out of becoming a "symbol" of anything or a public "inspiration" to anyone. I remember watching LeMond battle his French nemesis Laurent Fignon (ponytail, John Lennon glasses) up and down the Champs Elysees; though I'm sure it wasn't, the whole thing felt a little more innocent. I had a road bike then. I bought spandex. I took long training rides through the country with my dad. I even raced a little.
Fast forward to this week and the downfall of another modern idol, Lance Armstrong. Armstrong won seven Tours De France, after winning a highly publicized battle with cancer. There's nothing we love more than winners in this country, except, maybe, Inspirational Figures. Armstrong was both. Like anyone who loves sports and competition, I was thrilled when he stared down his rival, Jan Ullrich, on the side of a mountain before powering away and leaving Ullrich in the dust in what is now just referred to as "The Look." When I see it I still get chills. Honestly, I speak for most athletes when I say I'd love to do that to someone in competition.
Like anyone who loves marketing (are these people out there?) we were thrilled when Armstrong made the little rubber wristband a permanent part of American culture, and helped make Cancer Awareness a part of our everyday vocabulary and consciousness. In fact, it was becoming the de facto Godfather of Cancer Awareness that may have helped Armstrong keep the anti-doping dogs at bay.
We found out this week that Armstrong was the greatest cyclist in an ...1
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