I continue to be amazed at the shock expressed by people who should not be shocked about the recent Lance Armstrong news.
The most notable quote is from the International Cycling Union president, who stated “Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling.”
My presumption is that he intends a broader meaning that people like Lance Armstrong who regularly and deceptively used performance enhancing drugs have no place in cycling.
OK, I’m fine with that. However, consider the impact of this statement. For my entire adult life, I’ve heard regularly about rampant doping from within cycling’s highest circles. At this point, Tour de France officials don’t know how to appoint a winner for Lance’s seven years because the rest of the leader pack seems to have been implicated for their own alleged doping.
So, if you only include those who have a “place in cycling,” the vacated Tour de France championship should be awarded as follows:
1999: Pee Wee Herman. He loves his bike. He loves riding his bike, and his escapades in adult theaters do not disqualify him from competitive cycling. Pee Wee is free to cruise through Paris while rocking-out with his… Well, you know how this ends.
2000: Sister Mary Catherine, Teacher, Our Lady of Perpetual Control Elementary School, Nice, France. Riding well behind the pack onto the Champs Elysses, Sister Mary Catherine wanted to inspire her elementary schoolchildren by riding on the last leg of the course, unnoticed, on her Schwinn Roadmaster. Of course, she never completed any of the other legs, but that doesn’t matter. She clearly never doped, except for a few extra nips of communion wine. The Catholic Church is currently challenging her win based on her role in outing certain parish priests for their own, special version of the “Tour de France.”
2001: Rosie Ruiz. Shamed after the 1980 Boston Marathon, Ruiz gains respect here. While accused of riding the subway for much of the Boston Marathon win, she was never proven to have taken performance enhancing drugs. After all, subways are legal in most civilized countries, whereas most PEDs are illegal. Tour organizers stage a mock finish line with 3000 spectators to watch Rosie break the tape in Paris. Subways=good. PEDs=bad. A mantra for all of us.
2002: E.T. Sure, he’s riding in a basket on the front as they pass the Arch du Triomphe, but find me the rule where it says you can’t ride in the basket of a bicycle. I dare you.
2003: Chuck Norris. If you have to ask why, you just aren’t worthy. Specially-engineered bicycle allows him to perform roundhouse kicks. One kick provides enough energy to complete all 21 segments of the Tour in less than 1 minute.
2004: Jason Statham. Because Chuck Norris let him.
2005: The European Union. And why not? If a big mass of people and governments can win the Nobel Peace Prize, why not the Tour de France? Considering that the reasoning for granting them the peace prize is, essentially, that they did stuff, I’ll presume that one of the stuff is winning the Tour. Luckily, fitting them on the podium is France’s problem, not mine.