I'm in your shoes...I want to believe so much, I am just going to go ahead and believe until Lance himself admits to it.
I know that's probably not right, but I really like the guy. I don't share political leanings with him and yes, he can be real arrogant, but I really like him. And I think what he has done with LiveStrong is beyond reproach.
In a sport that has rampant drug use, it's hard to defend any cyclist. I'm not naive to think that it NEVER happened, but I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. And that may be wrong, but it's what I am willing to give a guy I admire not necessarily for his skills as a cyclist, but for surviving a nasty disease and helping many many others to survive it. I think that's more important than any sport.
at this point, Lance Armstrong is more famous for this scandal, then his foundation (which my take a huge hit) and then in a distant 3rd, his tour de france wins. I want to believe him, i do.
I think he's a victim *and* a cheater. Sortof. Everyone involved in cycling (except Armstrong) seems to acknowledge that there's excessive doping in the elite levels of the sport.
In my mind, to some degree, that levels the playing field a bit - if everyone was doping, he's still the best of the dopers. And I don't believe he'd have beat other top cyclists who have either admitted to or found guilty of doping if he weren't doing it himself.
I do think it's a bit unfair to specifically go after Armstrong though. They can strip his titles, but why not give everyone participating in cycling until now the equivalent of a participation ribbon, rather than ranking in the tour, and put the black mark on the sport, rather than picking on a specific athlete.
Personally, I don't think there's one pro cyclist out there that isn't doing the exact same thing.
I want to believe that he is a victim of all this too. But like you and the other comments have said - it's kind of hard because it seems like EVERYONE was doing it.
It just feels like the way they've gone about it is such a witch hunt. Like the USADA was just not going to let it rest until they found him guilty. I wonder why? Was it really that important to them? I'm more disturbed by their zeal to convict rather than by the fact that he possibly doped.
Personally I think it's a sport that cries out for trying to get an edge! I used to ride road bikes in my 20s and was fairly fit but there were some hills in the bay area where we would ride and I'd be in the lowest gears possible and standing, thighs screaming. My husband would slow down, get next to me, put his hand on the bike seat and PUSH me up the hill. I can't imagine having to ride up the mountains of France!
I don't know if he's guilty or a victim, but I think if he's guilty he should man up, and if he isn't, he should continue to fight to clear his name.
A cheater in a sport where everyone cheats. You can't be the lone non-doper and win that many times. Sad, but true.
Long time defender of Armstrong but I heard a fascinating take on this on NPR this morning. When your teammates testify about it...the same guys who helped him win those Tours...the ones who also doped right along with you, well? Sounds like he might be guilty of lying and cheating after all. I will hate for this to go down under "that depends what you mean by doping" but using clearly evasive tactics to provide questionable substances to yourself and your team and then promoting a culture of intimidation and groupthink to get everyone on board? Sounds like doping to me. Another hero falls from grace.
He's a cheater. I would venture a guess that all pro-cyclists are or have been.
I lost all respect for him several years ago, and it doesn't really matter to me anymore.
A complete and total cheater.
And where was this evidence 5 years ago?
I don't know either way. I tend to believe as most do, you would be hard pressed to find someone who has not use some sort of illegal performance enhancing drug(s) I am always amazed at how we as a society seemingly love to build some one up and take just as much pleasure in tearing them down, we did the same thing with Phelps.
I went through the exact same feelings when this happened to Roger Clemens. It's like a personal attack when you cheered for a guy, tried to believe him, and they are proven cheaters. :(
He probably was doping but apparently everyone else was as well (not that this makes it right). My point is that the issue with banned substances is that is provides an uneven playing field. If, as the accusation holds, everyone was involved in this sophisticated and widespread doping then wasn't the playing field leveled? He was the best of all the dopers. :)
I'm at the point that I don't care so much anymore, but his foundation has raised almost 500 MILLION dollars which I hope have gone toward cancer research and not in his pocket.
I really would like to believe the best of everyone until proven otherwise.