Lance, Please Back Out Of Tour
When cyclists line up in Monaco on Saturday morning to start the Tour De France, I hope you'll be there where you should be - cheering on the sideline.
I know this won't happen because you've shown no sign of turning back, but I thought it was worth giving it one last try.
It's me. A journalist who has never accused you of cheating and has only had a great relationship with you over the past few years.
I know the shoe and apparel company that supports you says the exact opposite, but don't do it.
The reason is simple: You have absolutely nothing to gain.
If you win the Tour De Francethis time around, so what? You're Lance Armstrong. You're supposed to. If you don't, you become another one of those athletes who couldn't leave on top.
MJ with the Wizards. Favre with the Jets or Vikings or wherever he lands and you.
I thought you actually had the perfect formula to moving on. You found something to train for by running the New York Marathon a couple times. And you had plenty to preoccupy yourself with as the world's best athlete fundraiser.
Not only that, I thought you had more to lose than any other great athlete coming back for just one more go. You're one of the most polarizing athletes in the history of sports. You are loved by so many but also hated by plenty in a country where you've celebrated victory seven straight times.
You might not put something in your body, but who is to say the lab technician won't taint your sample? Your recourse? You know it's nothing. It's over. Your accomplishments are forever compromised.
If three weeks from now, it's you with the yellow jersey with another glass of champagne in your hand riding down the Champs Elysees, I'll stand up and cheer. If it's not, I hope your legacy will be more defined by your contributions to the fight against cancer than the guy who challenged the field one too many times and lost.
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