12 July 2009

Die, Lance Armstrong, Die

Figuratively, that is.

I've been a Lance Armstrong fan, enthusiastically cheering him on in le Tour for years. But this is too much. At the beginning of the Tour he talked as though Astana was Alberto Contador's team, and he, Lance, was just a dometique. Now he says, "I'm a 7 time winner, why shouldn't it be my team?"

Lance won the Tour 7 times by building a team of riders who all knew that their job was to help him win--they all had to subordinate their own goals to his. If he had chosen to do so again for his comeback, I would have no criticism. Instead, he joined a team that already had a lead rider (two potential ones, counting Levi Leipheimer) and is trying to take it over. That's just bad behavior.

And a team with three lead riders doesn't have enough domestiques to support them. There's a good chance Lance is doing nothing more than destroying Contador's or Leipheimer's chances to win without giving himself a chance.

Given just how astonishingly good Armstrong is--at his best he was not just better than everyone else, but incomparably better, like Lebron James playing DII basketball--it would not be surprising if he did win again despite what he's doing to his team. But having stabbed Alberto Contador in the back, it won't be an honorable victory this time.

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