Lance Armstrong after the 2009 Leadville 100 mtbrIt is funny how two months can change things. On August 23rd I posted a blog entitled “I still support Lance Armstrong”, and at the time I meant it. But things have changed over the past two months.

The first, and most important thing that changed my opinion was that I read Tyler Hamilton’s book The Secret Race. It provides a very eye opening look into the world of cycling and the doping culture. It also provides some very opinionated insight into Lance Armstrong as a person. If you are at all interested in the story of the Postal Team, check out the book. I also recommend that you read David Millar’s Racing Through the Dark.

After I read Hamilton’s book (finished it on the way to a conference last week) I really began to question my support of Lance Armstrong as a person. Don’t get me wrong, I still think Lance has done amazing things, they might take his titles away, but he still won the TdF 7 times. I also still believe that LIVESTRONG is a great organization, one which I continue to support, but I don’t know that I can be a Lance Armstrong fan again until he mans up and takes responsibility for all of this.

Last week with the Reasoned Decision that was released by the USADA, the cycling world, and Lance Armstrong’s world has been flipped upside down. He has lost most of his major sponsors, and has stepped down as the chairman of the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LIVESTRONG). One of the most interesting things I have read in the past week, I read last night.

Levi Leipheimer did an interview with the Press Democrat this week and talked about the events of the past week, and of course Lance Armstrong. What strikes me as the most interesting part of the interview (there are many interesting parts) is the discussion around his “friendship” with Lance. I remember back in 2009/2010 when Lance was riding and tweeting, he talked about Levi on a regular basis. But, as with Tyler’s story, Levi basically says that Lance will cut you as quickly as he will befriend you.

LL: It was never that. I think it's been a little overstated that we were friends. We were just colleagues basically.

I find that to be very telling of the story of Lance Armstrong. It is all business, it is all about succeeding, winning, at all costs, friends be damned. I wonder how many others have been cut from the inner circle of Lance?

I really don’t care that Lance Armstrong, Tyler Hamilton, David Millar, Levi Leipheimer, George Hincapie and countless other pros doped. I think it was what you had to do back then to compete (I am not convinced that the current crop of riders are clean, hopefully time will tell). What I do care about is the lying.

It is time to stop the lying, time to come clean, time to stop dragging people through the mud.

Dear Lance Armstrong,

Please come clean. For the sake of all of your fans, past fans, and cycling fans. Just admit it, let us all move on. I will forgive you if you do, I still want to be a fan, but I just can’t right now, not without you owning your past.

Sincerely,

Chris Hammond