We all make stupid comments - I know I sure have. The important thing is to acknowledge those mistakes and move on. When I say “move on” I realize that it's easier said than done.
Lance Armstrong made a half-hearted attempt at acknowledging his mistakes of cheating throughout his professional cycling career as well as being a bully. I say half-hearted because he is still unable to apologize to everyone who deserves it - like Betsy Andreu.
Andreu, who was in Austin last week to take part in a panel debate titled “The Real Price of Winning at All Costs: A Discussion about Elite Cycling” at the University of Texas in Austin along with Bill Bock, Greg LeMond, and Wall Street Journal's Reed Albergotti. Armstrong had been in communication with Andreu with the purpose of apologizing to her during her visit in Austin. But at the last minute the discredited cyclist texted her and said he didn't trust her and the meeting was canceled.
Armstrong can't move on, nor will he ever be able to. Some of it is probably legal as there's a line to sue him as long as Mont Ventoux. However, I'd wager that the reason he can't apologize to everyone is that he feels shame. Deep down, somewhere in his soul, he is embarrassed. To apologize would show weakness and weakness isn't in the Texan's vocabulary.
I'm done trying to figure out what Armstrong's next move is. A book co-authored by him that only tells his side of the story? A movie starring Matt Damon? End of the day, no matter how his story is spun he's never going to feel entirely free until he acknowledges his mistake and moves on.
I'll admit, I wasn't that much of a Bradley Wiggins fan. He didn't exactly go out of his way to treat the media in a respectful manner (and at times failed to act civilized). He was stand-offish and kinda douchy to people. And by his own admittance realized he'd made some mistakes back in 2010.
In an interview with David Walsh of the Sunday Times he realized that standing behind Armstrong and staying with the mob-mentality of bashing Floyd Landis was “stupid.” Wiggo defends his actions by saying that Armstrong was still a powerful figure in the cycling world and he didn't want to feel his wrath. I don't have a lot of sympathy for people who say something to just be able to sit down and eat lunch with the cool kids. The Englishman would have been better served to have kept his mouth shut and not comment.
Now as a Tour de France winner, gold medal Olympian, and a knight, he's admitting his mistakes and setting the record straight. Wiggo is lining up in the 2013 Giro d’Italia as a strong favorite and is also racing this year’s Tour de France in “support” of teammate Chris Froome. I use quotes around the word support because if you read between the lines of the Walsh interview:
“I will be preparing as seriously as I can for the Tour. Tim [Kerrison, Sky’s performance director] believes there is no reason I can’t be strong in both.” He continues, “I believe that I can come out of the Giro in the same shape and be seriously competitive in the Tour.”
... this does not sound like a guy who is willing to go to the front and chase down a dangerous break or shuttle water bottles from the Team Sky Jaguar.
Mr. Froome I have a little bit of advice for you. Call Greg LeMond and ask him for tips. Or better yet, reach out to Hinault. That's a guy who knew how to screw with a person's head.
One other mistake that I took pleasure in seeing being somewhat rectified was Cycling Ireland's decision to nominate current UCI president Pat McQuaid to another term as president. Initially the board approved of McQuaid's nomination, but needless to say there was plenty of blow-back. In protest of Cycling Ireland backing McQuaid their vice-president Anthony Moran resigned. Here's a guy who didn't give a crap about drinking a Guinness at the cool kids’ pub. He stood his ground and said he didn't want to be a part of it. Professional cycling needs more people like Moran who aren't afraid of standing up for what is right.
Eventually, the nomination of McQuaid for another term as UCI president created too much pressure on Cycling Ireland and an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) was called, which is like another meeting the We F**ked Up And Need To Fix This (WFUAWNTFT), but less official sounding with more boozing and dart games.
Now it is up to Ireland's cycling clubs to decide whether McQuaid goes on to the next round of, “So you want to be a UCI President.” They will take a vote and if the majority approves, he'll be an official candidate for the UCI presidency. As of this writing there are no other candidates - which should send a shiver down your spine ...
If McQuaid doesn't get the nod from his home country he must ask for the nomination from the country he now lives in - Switzerland. It is an embarrassment to have to ask another country to endorse his candidacy because his own country wouldn't. Another person might take that snub as a sign, but not Pat. He'll ask Switzerland to endorse him without batting an eye.
McQuaid needs to apologize and move on. Under his watch we've had numerous suspicious activities to accepting money from Armstrong, from continuing to support the American even as everyone else knew that something wasn't adding up.
Like Armstrong, I suspect that McQuaid will never fully admit what he did was wrong and self-centered. He will always claim what he did was for the best of the cycling sport ie: the ostrich strategy of sticking the head in the sand to avoid seeing the truth. That's not a very effective policy and it put the sport in the position it is now.
What I can say to these gentlemen is own your mistakes, grow from them, and in the case of Armstrong and McQuaid - go away from the sport knowing this is the best move for everyone including yourself.
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