Back in August, Lance Armstrong gave up on what seemed to be an endless battle against the United States Anti-Doping Agency, which accused him of using performance-enhancing drugs. Today, the USADA announced it was set to publish a 1,000 page report on Armstrong, who allegedly was part of a “doping conspiracy” of epic proportions.
The report contains testimony from Armstrong’s former teammates on the U.S. Postal Service Pro Cycling Team, many of whom, such as Tom Danielson, Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, Christian Vande Velde and David Zabriskie, were the top American riders over the last decade. Though Armstrong has maintained his innocence, his former teammates–who admitted to their own doping–say Armstrong was actually at the center of the ring.
Whether the testimony and evidence within the report is true or not, Armstrong has already joined a large group of professional cyclists who have either been accused of using performance enhancements through drugs and blood doping or have been caught at one point or another, including former winner Tour de France winner Alberto Contador as well as Ivan Basso, Alexandre Vinokourov, Bjarne Riis, Jan Ullrich and countless others.
So, if practically every cyclist is using some sort of performance enhancing advantage, is it really cheating? Three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond talked about the culture of doping within professional cycling. Though LeMond has been highly critical of Armstrong in particular, he explains the “win-at-all-costs” mentality of the sport, and how some cyclists have paid for their ambition to compete with their lives.
(Update: At an Aspen Institute conversation, Lance Armstrong offers some interesting and choice words on the topic of doping in sports by saying “everyone does it.”)