The Armstrong Legacy

News & Results

01/10/2012| 0 comments
by Neil Browne

The Armstrong Legacy

Can the Armstrong legacy take another hit and will cycling in America be able to survive?

Can the Armstrong legacy take another hit and will cycling in America be able to survive?

As you may or may not know RadioShack-Nissan-Trek officially unveiled their 2012 team. The newly formed squad combined the Leopard-Trek and RadioShack teams into one unit. Held in the biggest theater in Luxembourg the team was presented to the public for the first time. As techno music thumped, certain groups within the team were highlighted. They classified some riders as climbers, leaders, domestiques - you get the point. The two Luxembourg announcers conducted most of the interviews in English and under those circumstances did an okay job. To top it off the whole event was streamed live so people could watch for themselves and realize that they truly weren't missing much. To be fair, very few teams take the time to broadcast their presentation. Even America's only true WorldTour team, Garmin-Cervelo, didn't stream their team presentation last month in Boulder, Colorado. So why was there hate toward this newly merged squad?

To see the genesis of the hate you have to go back to how Johan Bruyneel and Lance Armstrong are accused by Floyd Landis of creating an atmosphere of organized doping within the Postal Service squad. I won't go into the details as they have been reported in numerous places and there's a strong chance that you know the story already. Here in the States that caused some negative blowback which was further compounded by the television show 60 Minutes and their interview with Tyler Hamilton.

Where the worm started to turn was when the team started their association with a Luxembourg squad. Cycling in the States is, and will always be, a sport designated to the back pages of the sports section. For fans of the sport the 2011 RadioShack squad, along with the afore mentioned Garmin-Cervélo team, were all we had competing in the one race that gets media coverage here - le Tour de France. And of course there is always the Lance Armstrong factor that came along with the squad. Sure, he didn't suit up to race, but that name still carries a lot of clout and with that a lot of recognition. Armstrong, while not a rider, was still closely associated with the team.

I use the phrase, "that name" instead of "his name" when referring to Armstrong. In my opinion Lance Armstrong, the name, has become re-branded from a professional athlete to a marketing term to spread the LiveStrong message of bringing "cancer awareness" to the masses. Even if you agree with the methods of how LiveStrong raises funds, when reading Outsideonline.com's "It's Not About The Lab Rats" article, you may have been surprised how little the organization contributes financially to the fight against cancer. Regardless, as more articles are written about either the controversy surrounding alleged doping or the LiveStrong charity, the more the shine comes off anyone or anything associated with the seven-time Tour de France winner.

The team is coming together and while an American company is still in the title sponsor position and the squad

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