Lance Armstong was not only the greatest rider of our time but also, among his many talents, the luckiest. To see him cradling his arm on the side of the road in Spanish was to know that luck has finally deserted him. The cycling Gods have spoken: there will be no great comeback.
You have to remember that in winning seven tours Lance was the strongest, fastest, smartest, toughest and also luckiest rider in the peloton. He dodged almost every crash, never got sick and when he did hit the tarmac, he bounced back up. Lance was the human rabbits foot. Ullrich flew off the side of a hill, Beloki broke every bone in his body but Lance simply took a detour across a farmer’s field and rejoined the race. Luck has always been on Lance’s side.
All that changed with the Lance comeback: he’s crashed in every race he entered. The Cycling Gods are trying to tell Lance something but he’s not listening. They’re sending him a message: go home to Austin, do a few marathons, hang with Hollywood celebs, run for President, whatever. Just don’t race your bike anymore. There is a yin and yang to this, a buddhist balance. Lance reminds me of the old Tyler Hamilton: crashing constantly, unable to keep his bike upright.
Lance beat everyone there was to beat: Ullrich, Basso, Heras, Simoni, Cancer, the UCI drug testers and muck- raking journalists. He has triumphed over every possible adversity. But the Cycling Gods will not be over-ruled. They’re slapping him upside the Giro helmet. They’re reading him the road-rash riot act. The good fortune good old days are over. Meet the unlucky Lance.