Today Greg LaMond, previously the most accomplished US cyclist, came up with an opinion that the federal case now being built against Lance Armstrong may be quite overwhelming.
I know we've had some threads on this before, but now with a more serious investigation in the works, there will probably be a number of stories coming forth.
Armstrong is generally defended in the media - he's a good-natured guy who's been open with the press. He's also a major figure in the fight against cancer and a truly remarkable survival story, which makes criticizing him difficult.
I've been watching cycling pretty seriously for over half my life now. My opinion is that Armstrong had to be using some outside substance to make the sort of progress he did, given the context. I say that because of the unique situation cycling is in as a sport when it relates to doping.
Nearly everyone was doping during the late 90's in cycling - a number of major figures have admitted as much, others have been uncovered beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Do I believe Lance Armstrong could have won all seven Tours de France without doping? Yes and No. I believe, against a field of the same riders, all clean, he would have had a good chance to win each and every Tour he won. Against the field as they were actually racing, most of them on a serious regimen of performance enhancing techniques? No. I don't think he could have beaten them - the drugs provide too much of an advantage in the most important parts of the Tour de France.
I think this is less of an issue with cycling than say a sport like baseball, since so many cyclists were involved. There's little speculation, as in baseball, about who was cheating and who wasn't. In cycling, pretty much you were doing something or you weren't even riding at the top level.
I believe we'll begin to see Armstrong's coat of armor unravel a bit as we go along. I don't know if they'll have enough to charge him with anything - we have to remember Barry Bonds seems to be escaping federal trouble. I don't think this should put a mark on his cancer fundraising. He supports a worthy cause and I hope he continues to do so.