Lance Armstrong has left the velodrome. It's more accurate and intellectually honest (and way less dramatic) to use a lower case "v". And in an era where New York baseball writers wear black armbands because Andy Petite has decided he's had enough but their gridiron counterparts have a pool set up for how far into whatever season the NFL next has, before Brett Favre unretires (again), I wonder, based on the headline, if he shouldn't have left before so many wondered why he stayed.
There's always been a disconnect for me with professional bicycle racing (what we did as kids, I hope, is amateur; except for the hitting parked cars part, which I did a lot)--and living in Europe for quite some time (that's a picture of me 'stayed too long at the fair') I came to see a LOT of bicycle racing on TV. Way too much. Never really got it or how you made a living at it.
Actually what I kept seeing was a person checking into a hotel and under 'occupation' writing 'professional bicycle racer' and the concierge smiling wanly and ripping the check-in blank in half. In the interests of furthering Franco-American relations (insert your joke here), I will note, when registering in a Parisian hotel in response to that same 'occupation' question, the correct answer is '1940 until 1945.' Any bets me and Nicky S do NOT go shoe shopping over the Presidents' Day Holiday weekend? He'll probably ask for the Statue back.
No matter how you may feel about Armstrong him as a bicycle racer, this is a large story that overshadows the (nearly as) important smaller stuff. What does he do now? What are you qualified to do after winning the Tour de France multiple times consecutively (seems to me he did that; he kept winning it). Does he have to get a new wardrobe with actual trousers? Can he get an endorsement with one of the shampoo companies that helped him get rid of his 'helmet hair'?
On a more personal note, do you think he has an exercise bike in his basement and will now disappear down there for twelve to sixteen hours a day, coming upstairs for meals wearing a yellow tricot. Who will Floyd Landis point at now when he flunks urinalysis?
Sheryl Crow would've really needed Steve McQueen and a heart like a wheel, and not a bicycle tire, had she reached this point. "See that man-he's all alone, looks so happy but he's far from home. Ring my bell and smile at him-then knock over his garbage bin." Thank God for opposable thumbs! How else would he ring the bell, John Irving?