The Lance Armstrong Intervention

09.9.2005 | 11:52 pm

Lance, have a seat. We need to talk. No, not later, son. Right now.

Lance, your friends and I have seen news stories about you coming out of retirement and racing in the Tour de France next year. To tell the truth, you’ve got us all worried.

No, we’re not worried about whether you could win an eighth Tour. The fact is, none of us care. Well, that’s not true. Your friend Al Trautwig cares, but he’s not really the guy you want to impress, is he? The truth is, you’ve definitely hit the point of diminishing returns on Tour wins. Not a single person in this room — put your hand down, Al — will think you’re a better man for winning eight times instead of seven.

I know what L’Equipe said. Yes, I know it was rude, and you’re striking back the only way you know how. But you need to start looking at the bigger picture.

Think back for a minute, Lance. A year ago, you were hinting that you wouldn’t race the Tour in 2005 — that you’d take a year off. You milked the "will-he-won’t-he" publicity for all it’s worth for as long as you could, then went on Oprah — Oprah, for crying out loud! — to reveal the stunning news that you’d once again do the exact same thing you had been doing for the past six years. And you said you’d be done after that.

And now you’re doing the same thing, Lance. You’re coyly telling us maybe you’ll race or maybe you won’t. Your reason may be different, but if you show up on Oprah again, nobody will be on the edge of their seat about why.

You know, Lance, it’s not even so much that you’re coming out of retirement. It’s why. If you had said, "I thought about it and I love racing too much and I don’t want to quit after all," we would have understood. But racing for revenge? Lance, you’re not in high school anymore.

Think hard for a second, Lance. A magazine in a different country said it thinks you took EPO. So how will racing again prove them wrong? If you win, they’ll say you’re doping. If you lose, they’ll say you lost because you finally came clean. And meanwhile, you’ll have demonstrated that all anyone needs to do to get Lance to jump is write an accusatory article. That’s hardly a position of power, Lance.

You know what we think really bugs you about that article, Lance? It’s that the article isn’t about what you’re doing now. It’s about what you did — past tense, Lance — six years ago. That article made you realize that the only Lance they care about is the one who’s racing. That no matter what you do from now on, it won’t matter to most people as much as what you’ve already done.

I think that you’re not afraid articles like this one are going to continue to be published. You’re afraid articles like this are going to stop. And then, sometime after that, articles about you will stop altogether. And you know what? They probably will. This year, next year, whenever.

Unless you come up with that cure to cancer you keep talking about. I suspect you’d get a fair amount of publicity for that. Maybe you should focus on that for a while.

And there’s one more thing, Lance. You kind of wore out your welcome last year. It’s not like by the end of the Tour last year anyone was saying, "I wish we could see Lance do this one more time." (Al, now’s not the time. Sit down, Al.) Phil and Paul were exhausted from saying your name nonstop. Your teammates were exhausted from riding for you nonstop. The American public was just glad that the Tour was over and that now they could forget about cycling forever since no other Americans race bikes at a top professional level.

Oh, they do? My bad. What are their names?

Huh. Never heard of them. We’re getting off-track here anyway.

We threw you a retirement party, Lance.  You see Jan standing over there by the lamp? He was there. See Phil and Paul by the window (cute of you to wear matching shirts, guys)? They were there. See George in those wacky Oakleys he wears? He was there. We were all there. We let you give a speech.

We gave you presents, Lance. It will be awkward if we have to ask for them back.


(Lance, my weight today is 163.8 lbs. Just thought you should know.)



  1. Comment by Michael | 09.10.2005 | 12:10 am

    I would like to see Lance take on mountain biking and win everything there is. Would be good publicity for the sport and he could probably even race more in the US too.

  2. Comment by Fat Cyclist | 09.10.2005 | 12:12 am

    michael – if he did that, i would root for him like a madman.

  3. Comment by Unknown | 09.10.2005 | 12:17 am

    Well, it was worth the wait… and the trip over to Bob’s was great, too, so all in all, it’s been a good day for the blog rounds, except for waiting for something from Errorista… a crumb, an unfinished sentence, anything (whatever can be accomplished in the free hour between 3 and 4 AM by the working mother of a small baby.)

  4. Comment by Ariane | 09.10.2005 | 1:16 am

    Hahahahaa…Dude, that’s great. If he took on mountain biking, that would be awesome. Maybe OLN would even dain to televise it once in a while if that were the case. He could even look outside cycling, to bring his popularity to other sports…say, curling or shotput or something. Can’t you see the headlines? "Armstrong Advances to Curling Semi-Finals…" Okay. I’m dizzy, and should go lay down.

  5. Comment by Bill | 09.10.2005 | 1:27 am

    Actually…I heard that Lance had considered to ride the Giro & Vuelta and snub the Tour. The idea being that he’s criticized for not having riden the "other" Tours (w/ exception of Vuelta in ‘98), and it allows him to show the French "I can win any race, and I have the power to take attention AWAY from your Tour".He said he’s retiring for his kids…no other reason. Hmm…he must REALLY miss those kids if he wants to ride the Tour again. If he can’t keep his word for his kids…how are we to trust him when he says "I never doped"? Personally, as much as I admire and idolize the man, I want to see him stay retired…his reputation will be kept in much higher regards for a lot longer if he does.

  6. Comment by Unknown | 09.10.2005 | 3:43 am

    But would you watch if he did come back to do the tour de frace 2006? Or another of the major tours, for that matter?

  7. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 09.10.2005 | 3:57 am

    Just to shut up the rumblings, I think Lance should undertake the following activities for the next 13 months:1. Pee in a jar under controlled conditions every day until the end of next July.2. Have a camera crew filming 23 and a half hours every day. Half an hour of privacy each day should be enough but would necessitate the cubicle being searched and Lance being frisked before entering and again upon exiting.3. Selective preparation will again be vital. A couple of small warm-up wins in March and April. May will require a small modification to his usual schedule with a 22 day stint in the Maglia Rosa vital to shut the French media up.4. June will see him at home doing a combination of tapering and schmoozing – easily achieved with a mix of GWB and MTB.5. July wear the Maillot Jaune from the prologue to the podium. Peeing in every jar that gets put in front of him and peeing on every French journalist that gets within 10 feet of him. Retire again.6. August have a massage and coffee.7. End of August – turn up at the Vuelta and spend 3 weeks working on fitness for the worlds. 8. Forget the Vuelta is a training ride and accidentally win.9. Win World Championship and retire for the third and final time.10. French press find an aspirin box in his trash and fire up again. Lance holds a press conference to suggest that France should attempt to host the Olympics as they have enough of his urine to fill the diving pool.Whatever you do Lance, do it for yourself.cheersBIG Mike (skinny on the inside)

  8. Comment by Christina | 09.10.2005 | 4:18 am

    I had a dream last night that Lance started his own televised cooking show. I would definitely watch a show of him standing at the Iron Chef podium moderating the Tour of Iron Chefs between German, American, and French cycling chefs. And when the French inevitably won, maybe they’d stop being so post-championship career-pissy about everything. Can you picture Iron Chef domestiques doing all the sweating, chopping, boiling, running, pan-searing? It would be like watching the Tour all over again. :-) -The Beast Mom

  9. Comment by Fat Cyclist | 09.10.2005 | 4:36 am

    bill – i actually had a paragraph about the kids in an early draft, then killed it because i couldn’t figure out a way to say it in the "intervention" tone. i might’ve figured out a way to say it if i weren’t lazy. but i am lazy. lazy and snarky.spinecho – i’ll watch the TdF 2006 whether he comes back or not. when available, i watch all the grand tours. can’t get enough of them. that said, i look forward to a 2006 TdF more without lance than with him. on the other hand, i’d enjoy a giro or vuelta more with him than without him. big mike – oddly enough, that’s MY itinerary for 2006. are you stalking me?beastmom – i’m trying to decide whether to use a freudian or jungian approach to interpret your dream. from a gut level, though, my impression is that you are obsessed with food and cycling to about the same extent i am. except i don’t recall ever dreaming about anyone famous. except myself, of course, because i am very, very famous.

  10. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 09.10.2005 | 9:34 am

    Fatty – The defence objects strongly to the word "stalk". "Intensive subject familiarisation program" is a phrase that sits more comfortably. If your paranoia kicks in you can chant yourself to sleep with the sentence – he only lives 10 time zones away.cheers from Kangaroo and Koala landBIG Mike (skinny on the inside)

  11. Comment by Ariane | 09.10.2005 | 4:32 pm

    Hey, Good luck today Fatty! Sure, it’s not a race, but, you know, take no prisoners anyway. Yaaah! (pronounced, "yaw")

  12. Comment by Unknown | 09.10.2005 | 4:58 pm

    Perfect entry thank you. I concur. (Leipheimer is still my guy though, no dissing Levi, he’s from here -MT- you know). I think: 1) He’s messin’ with the Europeans right now (cute and clever ruse, don’t you think?) and 2) we’ll see how much of an attention junkie he really is (I think he’s a HUGE attn junkie) by how fast he goes into politics. He’s so much of an attn junkie I’m sure he’ll actually read your blog post…

  13. Comment by Unknown | 09.10.2005 | 8:49 pm

    If I haven’t said it before, I think your blog is great. I have no life (I am a resident) and am stuck living vicariously through others for the time being. As for Armstong — for some reason I thought that all that Americans were enamored with him, especially bicyclists — shows you how much I know.Anyway, have a great ride!

  14. Comment by Unknown | 09.11.2005 | 4:05 am

    Congratulations, BTW, on your weight loss numbers this week!

  15. Comment by Unknown | 09.11.2005 | 4:13 am

    Hey spinecho, you thought that Americans loved LA because that’s what you saw on the news and in the media. We Americans are much more diverse than what the media presents. The American media, especially TV, can’t be trusted.


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