We read the other day that young American gun Lawson Craddock was out riding with Lance Armstrong. They did a six hour ride out of Austin, Texas and both later posted the ride on Strava.
Well, in our view, that’s a bad PR move from Craddock, who is a super talented pro on the Cannondale-Drapac squad. However, he’s not the first to hook up with Armstrong for training as Tejay van Garderen has also done motor-pacing out of Aspen, Colorado with his neighbor Lance.
We couldn’t find any mention of Craddock’s reasons for riding with Armstrong but, based on his USA Today interview back in 2013, we have a pretty good idea of his thoughts on the subject.
“Lance has given me a lot of really good opportunities,” said Craddock, who went on to say that many of his colleagues “wouldn’t be here without him.” He called Armstrong’s apology for doping “sincere” and anyway, “All of that stuff, I was so young when all that stuff was happening.”
Hey, kid from Texas looks up to superstar rider from Texas. Makes perfect sense but we’d still question Craddock on the message he is sending with that choice of riding partner.
Perhaps Craddock takes the exact same view as Van Garderen, who endured plenty of media flak for working with Armstrong but defended that decision. “I just felt that it wasn’t really fair that we can go to George Hincapie’s gran fondo, we accept that Christian Vande Velde can be our commentator, I give interviews to Frankie Andreu, but Lance is the evil guy, and I just don’t see how there can be that double standard.”
What we think both Van Garderen and Craddock are missing is that it isn’t a double standard. In our book, if you want to ride with Hincapie or Vande Velde or Zabriskie, that’s your call. They doped, they were sanctioned, life goes on. Armstrong however is in a whole another category.
Besides his own doping, Armstrong bullied, intimidated, coerced and shamed riders on his teams to dope. Along with team manager Johan Bruyneel, he was in charge of an extensive and sophisticated doping program.
He viciously attacked those telling the truth, destroyed careers, lied under oath, sued critics, used his political power and vast financial resources to threaten people and wipe out their savings. He was vindictive and nasty; he took pleasure in tormenting anyone who got in his way.
So, yeah, that’s different, that’s not a double standard.
Vande Velde, Zabriskie and Hincapie don’t have an ongoing $100 million dollar lawsuit over defrauding the US Government. They don’t have books written and movies made about their transgressions, immense greed and blind ambition. They aren’t banned for life.
For whatever reason, those things aren’t a troubling issue for Craddock and Van Garderen. Now we tend to think that Van Garderen is a pretty thoughtful and genuine guy but we have to disagree with his “double standard” point of view.
And if I’m Cannondale-Drapac boss Jonathan Vaughters — no fan of Armstrong — I’d be asking Craddock what the Hell he’s doing out riding with Lance.