Do we care if Lance Armstrong doped?

Teammates Tyler Hamilton (L yellow jersey) and Lance Armstrong compete in the last stage of the Dauphine Libere cycling race in Sallanches in this June 11, 2000 file photo. Hamilton, who was allowed to keep his Athens Olympics gold medal despite failing a doping test, has finally confessed to cheating and accused other top cyclists, including Lance Armstrong, of doing the same. In an interview to be aired by “60 Minutes” on Sunday, Hamilton, ended years of denials by finally admitting to using performance-enhancing drugs but insisted he was not alone. REUTERS/Files (FRANCE – Tags: SPORT CYCLING)

In an interview that was shot for “60 Minutes” and broadcasted on “CBS Evening News” on Thursday, Tyler Hamilton said he used performance-enhancing drugs with his former teammate Lance Armstrong.

“I saw (EPO) in his refrigerator…I saw him inject it more than one time,” Hamilton said. “Like we all did. Like I did, many, many times.”

Hamilton told “60 Minutes” reporter Scott Pelley that Armstrong “took what we all took…the majority of the peloton.” Hamilton went onto say that there was “EPO…testosterone…a blood transfusion.”

EPO is a drug that boosts endurance by increasing the number of red blood cells in the body, which obviously would help cyclists like Hamilton and Armstrong. This is now the second time that a former teammate of Armstrong’s has accused him of taking drugs to improve his performance on the bike, as Hamilton’s accusations come one year after Floyd Landis made similar allegations.

People are going to believe what they want to believe, but the fact of the matter is that Armstrong has never tested positive for PEDs. The question in my eyes is do we care?

The thing about performance-enhancing drugs is that they allow an athlete to perform at the absolute best of his abilities. Granted, if I were to juice for a year and tried my hand at professional football, I’d probably get killed – same as I would if I didn’t dope. If your skill level was low to begin with, sorry, but drugs aren’t going to turn you into a professional athlete.

But they will turn a special athlete into a superhero, which is where the problem lies. Barry Bonds was already one of the most gifted baseball players to have ever played the game, which people tend to overlook when his name is brought up. People forget just how good he was before he started taking PEDs, which only made an incredibly gifted athlete perform to the max of his abilities. He could already hit major league pitching, but thanks to the steroids his bat speed never decreased, he was able to hit the ball harder and farther, and was able to keep playing into his 40s.

It’s the same concept with Armstrong. He was already a gifted cyclist. If he took them, all PEDs did was make an already gifted cyclist max out his abilities on the bike (which includes being able to ride faster, longer, etc).

Here’s my take on PEDs: I actually don’t have a problem with athletes using them. I have a problem with the fact that they create an uneven playing field. Guys like Bonds and Armstrong are already special and if they use drugs, then they’re creating an even bigger gap between them and the next guy.

I don’t mind the alpha male when it comes to sports. Tiger Woods has been great for golf for over a decade. Lance Armstrong has been great for cycling. The pure act of watching Barry Bonds hit a home run every 10 at bats in 2001 was fun.

But in the end, I want to see athletes go toe-to-toe with only their God-given abilities and their dedication to their craft at their backs. If Tiger puts on an amazing display to win a major, I want to know that what I watched was an athlete performing at his best not because he was on drugs, but because he was more special than the next guy on that given day. The same goes for Armstrong, Bonds or whomever.

So if Armstrong did dope, he was wrong. Again, I don’t care that the best cyclist in the world used drugs to make himself superhuman. I care that what I witnessed wasn’t natural. I want my sports to be 100 percent pure.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Lance Armstrong doing well in Tour de France


Since returning from retirement, Lance Armstrong hasn’t been able to reach the level of dominance he displayed during his entire career. That’s expected, obviously, but he’s currently showing signs of his past ability at this favorite race, the Tour de France. Earlier today, Armstrong jumped from 10th to third place.

Britain’s Mark Cavendish won his second straight stage. He and Armstrong and overall leader Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland kept up with a breakaway group that bolted from the pack with 18 miles left in the 122-mile third stage.

Armstrong, a seven-time champion coming out of retirement, is 40 seconds behind. He was able to make his big jump because riders in front of him at the start of the day got trapped in the main pack.

The race is set for a shakeout featuring Cancellara, Armstrong and Germany’s Tony Martin in Tuesday’s team time trial. Each team is strong in the 24-mile event, which starts and finishes in Montpellier. If Astana wins, Armstrong could take the yellow jersey. The race ends July 26 in Paris.

Like Roger Federer, Lance Armstrong is an institution in his sport. It’s nice to watch the “old guys” succeed, though neither is old in general by any means. As far as spectator sports are concerned in America, cycling is about as popular rugby. Nevertheless, Armstrong’s story is both interesting an inspiring. The fact that he’s won 7 times is proof enough that he’s both a phenomenal athlete and the greatest cyclist of all time. That he’s come back is a product of his determination and frustration with the minutia of everyday life. There’s only so much one can do before they need to partake in the things they love.

Lance Armstrong criticizes Wall Street Journal using Twitter and Blog

A new case of Twitter becoming more powerful than we can possibly imagine (especially for those of you who imagine The Wall Street Journal Board of Directors as possible Sith Lords). Deadspin has the scoop:

Last month, Lance Armstrong boycotted the media, speaking directly to his fans in 140-character chunks. He tried to break the ban by writing a letter to The WSJ, but they “butchered it,” and instead, he printed it on his blog.

The Wall Street Journal ran a story June 10 about an alleged feud between Armstrong and Greg LeMond. Armstrong called the piece “sensational,” and not in the good way. He wrote a letter to the editor. The editor made some edits. Armstrong didn’t like the edits. He said the editor “removed the pertinent and topical parts. Frustrating.” I bet!

It’s interesting that Armstrong was able to post his own rebuttal of a major international newspaper using a form of communication as easily (if not more so) available as a newspaper. Power to the people on this one. It’s important everybody gets checked, and possibly called out, when things get a bit fudged. Of course, if The WSJ merits Lance Armstrong getting involved. My previous post may get me a gang of 200 pound 7th graders out for blood. Yeesh.

Who knew cycling could be a contact sport?

I fail to see what this guy did wrong:

You’re telling me you’re not allowed to do that in cycling?? The game has changed so much…

I want to ride my…

…badass Supercross bike, baby!

Okay, normally we don’t use this blog to promote stuff the way that the publicists would like us to, but this one seemed too cool to pass up. and we’re not even Supercross guys at heart. Amp’d Mobile is giving away two Chad Reed motorcycles (full disclosure: I have no idea who Chad Reed is), along with some other stuff. And as daredevil Lance Murdoch said on “The Simpsons,” bones heal, chicks dig scars, and the US has the highest nurse-to-patient ratio in the world. You’d be crazy not to enter this contest. Just don’t tell your wife until after you’ve won.

To enter the contest, click here.

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