Bob Stapleton, head honcho at Columbia HTC said in a CNN interview that Lance Armstrong was ‘passing the mantle’ to Columbia sprinter, Mark Cavendish.
“I think it is very interesting that the biggest name in the sport is embracing, and indeed passing the mantle, to the second biggest name in the sport. From Lance to Mark.” So sayeth Bob.
Twisted Spoke news analysis: uh, no. Don’t think so.
The most dominate endurance athlete of the modern era and winner of an astonishing seven Tour de Frances does not pass mantles to anyone. That’s part of what makes Lance the man. If you have a YouTube scoop of Lance in his bathrobe outside his house in Austin handing over the mantle to anyone, you let us know.
Remember the 2004 Tour when the Texan refused to throw T-Mobile rider Andreas Kloden a small bone and let him win the Alpe d’Huez stage? Armstrong accelerated hard and wiped out the German. Commenting on the win, the Badger himself, Bernard Hinault, a ferocious five time tour winner, congratulated Armstrong. “No gifts,” said Bernard.
The mantle ain’t going anywhere. If you want it, bring a crowbar, shotgun, bazooka, a flame-thrower and enough dynamite to blow Texas to China. Lance will not part with the mantle. He likes the mantle. He ripped it away from Greg Lemond years ago and Greg is still ticked off about it. Until the next great American stage racer shows up, Mellow Johnny isn’t gift wrapping the goods.
According to Stapleton, there are a number of common points between Armstrong and Cavendish. “There are many similarities between the two, both in their attitude and the way they look at themselves. Both are very confident and highly capable, but also very, very self aware,” said Stapleton.
But there is also one big difference. Armstrong has mantle in hand, ain’t handing it over. Sorry Manxman.