Twisted Spoke. My cycling confessions.
Twisted Spoke hates to be left out of the confession-athon in the post-USADA world of pro cycling.
Riders, team managers, former riders and even journalists are suddenly spilling the dirty beans on the floor.”I’m sorry I doped” and the media version, “I’m sorry I was a cheerleader instead of a journalist.”
Now, we’ve only covered the sport in a media credential way for three years but that doesn’t mean we aren’t bursting with guilt for mistakes we made ten years ago. So I deeply apologize to my family, my fellow journalists and fans because I have a few admissions to make.
I hooted like a drunk frat boy when Lance won those seven tours. I punched the air, I got teary eyed, I was thrilled to see those Postal boys smack the Italians, Spanish and French all over the Alps and Pyrenees. I was inspired and proud to be an American. Please, forgive me.
When the Livestrong yellow bands first came out, I wore one for a period of several weeks. I had bought it from a good friend who had a whole box. I don’t like wearing things on my wrists but it was a cultural phenomenon and it was Lance. I now realize that during those weeks I was an unwitting accomplice in spreading the legend of Lance. There is no way I can undo that damage.
I bought It’s Not About The Bike and Every Second Counts in hardcover at full retail price. I read them both several times and found the books inspiring and empowering. I kept thinking, I wish I could have half the drive and personality Lance has. I have come to accept that if I had that personality, I would have been bullying and intimidating my friends into illegal acts. I have to accept that these two books were filed with lies and deceit and now have no possible re-sale value. My heart is heavy for it is hard to ask for this much forgiveness.
I thought Sheryl Crow was super hot. Suddenly pro cyclists were rock stars and us guys in lycra could all dream of scoring a sexy babe like Crow. We had Armstrong to thank for that. I admit now that was a mistake and if I’m honest, I’ve never liked county music. I’m sorry and I can’t say that enough. It’s a regret I will have all my life.
I got sucked in my Lance’s whole Hollywood entourage of comedians and stars. Ben Stiller, Robin Williams and even Owen Wilson. I realize that I should have perhaps looked deeper, taken a few steps back and figured out what was happening. Williams is certifiably drug crazy and Wilson had some substance abuse issues. But I believed Lance’s story that they were just friends. It’s not easy to admit I was fooled. I ask forgiveness.
I am not proud of the way I rooted from Armstrong to beat Contador when they were on the same Astana squad and battling for the tour win. I loved the way the wily Armstrong was playing those psychological games with the Spaniard, hoping to stress the Pistolero and mentally wear him out. It was tacky gamesmanship but I let myself be pulled in. For this and many other things, I beg your understanding. I was wrong and I’m not proud of myself.
Later, when I knew he was doping, I still got excited about his comeback and his third place in the Tour. I couldn’t help myself — he was the Boss, he hung out with Bono and Desmond Tutu, he had these expensive art bikes he’d auction off for charity and it was fun to see him toy with Alberto. I know that I’ve hurt a few people with those actions. Please, forgive me.
When I covered my first Tour de France for Cycle Sport magazine in 2010, I was working the team buses when the Boss rode past me to sign up. I was thrilled to be within 10 feet of the the greatest endurance athlete in the world — dirty or not. That was a childish reaction that I now profoundly regret.
I have been terribly humbled by my behavior and the wrong choices that I’ve made concerning Lance Armstrong. I do not blame Lance or Johan Bruyneel or any of the riders from US Postal. These were bad decisions I made on my own and I must shoulder that responsibility. Today I ask for your forgiveness knowing full well how hard I must work to regain the trust I have lost.