UPDATE: Latest details of Oprah interview appears here.
It's not about the bike. It's not about the individuals whose reputations were impugned for challenging the official narrative. It's not even about helping those with cancer.
It's all about Lance.
Lance the victim. Spinning his tragic tale of woe to the queen of self-help media. I guess there just wasn't enough time to produce a Lifetime special...
I can't say that I was shocked or even surprised to read late yesterday that Lance Armstrong would be giving his first interview about the "alleged doping scandal" to Oprah Winfrey on OWN, Thursday, January 17th from 9 to 10:30pm EST.
"Oprah Winfrey will speak exclusively with Lance Armstrong in his first no-holds-barred interview. Armstrong will address the alleged doping scandal, years of accusations of cheating, and charges of lying about the use of performance-enhancing drugs throughout his storied cycling career."
No holds barred? So she's going to ask him point blank if he ever took any PEDs? If his testimony under oath in the SCA Promotions lawsuit was untruthful? If any "allegation" made by his former teammates, as well as the latest revelation by Travis Tygart that Lance offered to make a $250,000 donation to USADA, has any basis whatsoever?
As a fan of professional bicycle racing, I no longer hold out hope that Lance has any interest in helping the sport that made him famous. While he may finally be willing to offer testimony against his former director and mentor Johan Bruyneel, his motive is likely based more on vengeance than an obligation to restore cycling's integrity for future competitors, fans, and sponsors.
There are a lot of victims in this saga, but Lance isn't one of them.
Thankfully, it doesn't appear that bicycling is one of the victims, either.
Sure, Lance used bicycling to propel himself to fame. But, it was merely a vehicle to launch his celebrity - much like Tom Cruise's Risky Business. Greed and outsized egos propelled both the rest of the way. Perhaps it's appropriate that Lance be given his rightful opportunity to jump up and down on Oprah's sofa...
When I first started writing about the Lance controversy, my concern was purely for the reputation of bicycling. I was genuinely worried that average, everyday cyclists would be judged harshly due to a very loose association with Armstrong. I was concerned that cycling enthusiasts and amateur racers would be harassed because of Lance's bad behavior. Thus far, I haven't noticed this happening.
Fortunately for all of us, Lance has no interest in just being a cyclist. He needs to be a dominating athletic competitor. He needs to be a celebrity. He needs to be a brand, a household name.
By taking his story to Oprah, Lance Armstrong can continue his pursuit for the adulation of the masses and leave bicycling to those of us who truly love it. Maybe Oprah can give Lance what he needs in order to live with what he has done.
Maybe there will be a set of car keys taped underneath his sofa cushion...
Chronological Perspective on Lance Armstrong: Lance Armstrong Cleared, Controversy Remains, Public Perception and the Cost of Keeping Cycling Clean, Lance Armstrong Seeks Day in Actual Court, Lance Armstrong Seeks GOP Congressman's Assistance, Defending Cycling: Lance Armstrong Edition, Lance Armstrong Will Not Fight Sanctions, Will Amnesty Save Lance Armstrong, Entire Era of US Cycling Erased from History, Time for Lance Armstrong to Come Clean, Lance Armstrong, Mitt Romney, and the Piftalls of Trusting a Winner, Lance Armstrong Goes Down, Greg LeMond Steps Up, Greg LeMond Wants to Take Over International Cycling, Last Chance for Lance Armstrong, Will It Really Matter If Lance Armstrong Confesses, Lance Armstrong's path to redemption starts with Oprah
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Keep riding and be safe.