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Another Entry in the Lance Armstrong Diary(2 posts)

Another Entry in the Lance Armstrong Diaryno excuses
Aug 3, 2001 7:08 AM
Thought this article from the Washington Post would be appreciated.
Still Spinning His Wheels
Armstrong Getting a Hero's Welcome on His Victory Tour

By Rachel Alexander Nichols
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 3, 2001; Page D02

NEW YORK, Aug. 2 -- The stroller moms in Central Park could barely contain themselves this afternoon.

The same went for the skaters, the joggers and especially the cyclists who noticed Lance Armstrong among their ranks, calmly rolling along and enjoying the summer breeze. This is the man who just four days ago won his third consecutive Tour de France, hacking through more than 2,100 miles in three weeks, the man who in the last 24 hours has run through nearly as exhausting a schedule, appearing on four talk shows, meeting the mayor and throwing out the first pitch at a Yankees game.

On Friday, he will make a stop at the White House, but for a few stolen minutes this afternoon, he was simply a man on his bike, taking a ride through the park. And people loved it.

"It was fun," Armstrong said slyly afterward, smiling at the commotion he had kicked up. "Everyone was really nice. One woman on a corner started screaming 'Three-peat, Three-peat.' "

The idea that any professional cyclist would be recognized on the streets of New York is a grand testament to just how much Armstrong's exploits have captivated a sporting public that until recently considered a "peloton" a kind of South American fruit. But the questions Armstrong has been fielding throughout his visit here have been just as telling -- along with the congratulations have mingled a probing curiosity at just how long the 29-year-old Texan can keep his streak going.

Can he match Miguel Indurain's astonishing record of five straight wins? Can he beat it? David Letterman wanted to know. Derek Jeter wanted to know. Even Armstrong is curious.

"In a lot of ways, that's what I've been thinking of," Armstrong said. "The first year, I was thinking back for months about what had happened, and what it meant to me and meant to different communities. But this year, I seem to be looking forward more than in the previous years.

"I just hope I can be aware enough and smart enough and intelligent enough to walk away when it's time. I hope I can say that reaching a number of victories won't motivate my decision to keep forcing something that doesn't want to be forced."

To serious cyclists, Indurain's record is near-mythic, a sacred mark of dominance that no one else has approached. While other riders have won five total titles, winning five in a row is an entirely different accomplishment, just as Armstrong's three in a row have now been raised over the three Tour victories American Greg LeMond accumulated over a five-year stretch, from 1986-90.

For a long time, Indurain's record was a notch Armstrong didn't even want to consider. But if his first Tour victory was about a staggering comeback from testicular cancer and his second was about proving his consistency, the third has forced him to think about his legacy and the true scope of what he can achieve.

Even his rivals seem convinced of his inevitability -- on Sunday German Jan Ulrich all but bowed his head at Armstrong. In fact, one of the only voices of dissent has, surprisingly, belonged to LeMond, who sharply criticized Armstrong's relationship with an Italian doctor who has recently been embroiled in a doping controversy.

Armstrong has never failed a drug test, but his success has often elicited questions in a sport littered with abuse. Today, Armstrong reiterated that he is reconsidering his work with the accused doctor, although he also took a poke at LeMond, saying "I just hope that when I'm 10, 15, 20 years down the road, I can look at the new generation with class, dignity and fairness and just say, 'spectacular performance.' I don't want to have any bitterness to the sport, toward the new generation."

Armstrong said
Rest of articleno excuses
Aug 3, 2001 7:13 AM
Still Spinning His Wheels (Continued)

Armstrong Getting a Hero's Welcome on His Victory Tour

Armstrong said he spoke to LeMond on the phone about the accusations but did not receive an apology. Still, the issue is not dominating his thoughts. Instead, he is concentrating on his wife, who is pregnant with twins. He is concentrating on his record, pondering just how far it can stretch. And he is concentrating on afternoons like this one, when he can simply hop on his bike and take a ride.

"I just love it, this is a love for the sport, a love for the cycle," he said. "Hopefully, it'll always be that way."

© 2001 The Washington Post Company