Armstrong, 60 minutes, Hamilton and Edgar Allen Poe.

The Raven. Dark bird of doping.

Edgar Allen Poe was not a competitive cyclist.

However, the author of the famous poem “The Raven” would surely be laughing if he’d seen the 60 Minutes show where former US Postal rider Tyler Hamilton details the usage of performance enhancing drugs by Lance Armstrong.

What he’d find ironic, bizarre and amusing was that Postal riders used the code word “Poe” for EPO, the illegal drug of choice for all endurance athletes. How team manager Johan Bruyneel and Armstrong came up with the idea to use the name of a writer from the American Romantic Movement is a mystery in itself.

Perhaps Federal Investigator Jeff Novitzky will not only discover the truth behind Armstrong’s doping program but also explain his fascination with the famous poet and author who died early of alcoholism. Poe doped himself with hard liquor and paid the price.

Postal Poet?

Even a cursory view of Edgar Allen Poe’s life turns up certain symbolic commonalities that are so good you wonder if Armstrong knew or could now appreciate the kinship.

First, Poe died at age 40 and in September, Armstrong will be forty. You can make the case that the Legend of Armstrong died this week with the testimony of Hamilton and what appears to be collaboration from Lance’s best friend and long-time teammate George Hincapie.

Like Armstrong, Poe had no real father figure growing up. His father left the family when he was young and his mother died soon after. Both shared an early life of hard knocks.

Poe is often credited as the inventor of the detective fiction genre — which again just marinates in irony. Federal Investigator Jeff Novitzky has been working overtime on the Armstrong case since the Mad Mennonite Floyd Landis started singing a year ago this month. There are plenty of detectives on this one, trying to sort out the facts from the myth.

One of Poe’s hobbies was a fascination with cryptography and ciphers, which by definition is pretty much the same thing as a code. Is your head snapping back? Yes, Poe was the Postal cipher for EPO, the oxygen blood booster. You just can’t acquire that level of ironic subterfuge if you selected Updike, Pynchon or even Herman Melville for code words. Although Moby Dick would be a terrific cipher for a double dose of human growth hormone.

Last but not least, Poe’s famous poem The Raven tells the story of a distraught man, lamenting the death of his beloved Lenore. As he descends into madness, the black bird continues to utter the singular refrain “nevermore.”

Was the Raven taking about the end of the Armstrong Legend, the close of a dirty chapter in professional cycling, the tragic fall of a hero, the likes of which we will never witness again?

Only Edgar Allen Poe knows the answers to those questions. Or perhaps Lance Edward Gunderson

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  • jeff poe

    um, I think it is simply because E. Poe rhymes with EPO. It ain't rocket science or some deep mystery.

    • Jeez, Jeff. Have you no sense of mischief? Matt

  • Mark

    anagram jeff

  • Ron

    Yea, Jeff is a wet rag…….This blog is freaking funny!!! One of your best. Too bad hardly anyone under 30 will even know who you're talking about. "Edgar Allen Who?"

    I'm still laughing from the Moby Dick thing……

    Hey Matt, did you see the tifossi running beside Contadore up Etna dangling a steak from a fishing pole right in front of him? I cant believe u didnt do a blog on it. You gotta pay attention man, I know the race in Cali is big but dont forget the little one going on in Italy!!

    Keep up the good work….Forever more!!

    • Pal

      May Poe's lament 'Nevermore' speak to the end of the drug culture and not to the end of faith that cycling can clean up it's act. BTW, no comment on UCI's complicity….perhaps we can say 'nevermore' as Pat may finally take the fall?

      • Pal, I will note your UCI thought into the post, thanks, Matt

  • IdeaStormer Jorge

    Edgar only wrote the Raven to make money and become famous, oh and to rat on Lance. Edgar is a LIAR!

    • Edgar had some problems and I guess he has another one. Matt

  • Ron

    So, what happens is Lance gets canned by the US government and the UCI feels obligated to take away Lances's TdF victories? How far back do we go to find a clean winner? U really think Merckx and the others were racing on water and pasta? More like amphetamines and cocaine. There is a memorial to an english rider who died on Mt. Ventoux, poor guy. But didnt his heart blow up from too many amphetamines? I wish the press would devote just a fraction of the time they spend complaining drugs in cycling to writing about drugs in other pro sports, which no doubt exist.

  • Quoth the Raven: "500+ negative controls."

  • J_Dubya

    Hamilton may not have a chimera twin, but I do think Rod Blagojevich is either Armstrong's twin separated at birth or long lost bastard half brother . The Armstrong Syndicate should go into Chicago politics — they would fit right in.

    • They just added two more big hitter lawyers to the team who have success beating the feds. I say, good luck with that because it sounds like Hincapie told the truth and it that's the case, Armstrong has no case. Matt

  • Ron

    Yea, but Hincape has a clothing business so I guess he's doing all this just to sell more socks, right? LOL!

    • A good point and don\’t think Armstrong\’s lawyers won\’t be making it. \”George is just desperate because sales are down and Rapha is now the official Tour of California apparel, not George. He\’s bitter and jealous and he\’s just trying to get some attention for his lycra.\” Matt