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Tuesday, August 30, 2005


It's hard to believe in Santa Claus anymore.

Or Rafael Palmeiro.

Isn't it time for us cycling fans to grow up?

If you have picked up a newspaper, watched the news or turned on the radio in the last few weeks, you've come across this quote, "I have never taken any performance enhancing drugs."

Is that a true, but misleading statement? Are performance enhancing drugs involved in blood doping? I really don't know...that's a grown up question.

"I have never tested positive for any banned substances."

Does that mean that somebody would test positive later for substances not yet banned? Substances that are essentially the same as the prohibited ones except for one or two amino acids or methyl groups added in to create a 'new and improved' but as of yet un-banned go-go juice.

A Tour winner has always maintained that he holds loyalty in high regard. In his book he tells how his team sponsor, Cofidis, did not show any loyalty towards him when he first got sick. They did not stick by him.

His wife, who did stick by him while he was sick, who nursed him back to health and gave birth to his kids, was later shoved aside for a Hollywood rocker soon after he became a multi-tour, mega star, gazillionaire. How loyal is that?

So how good is his word that he is clean?

Think of it this way. Seven times in a row, he has destroyed the field. A feid lousy with guilty doping cheaters.

He has dropped on the hills legendary, and guilty, climbers like Pantani and Virenque. He has chewed up doped-up time-trialers like David Miller. Former teammates like Tyler Hamilton who carried his water and led him out have been found guilty.

One of his coaches, Ferrari, is a drug dealer.

He has whupped former Tour winners like Ullrich who was also found guilty of illegal, recreational drug use, although Ullrich claimed those "pain killers" were merely for recreational use. Okay, that probably doesn't count.

If he is just riding away from them all, and very, very many of them are cheaters, then what is he? Superman? An alien from a more cycling-friendly planet?

I really want to believe, I do. I want to set chocolate chip cookies and a tall glass of milk on the fireplace mantle. I want to see reindeer tracks in the snow on the roof.

Personally, I don't want to grow up. I absolutely love this guy. How could a kid not?

How about you? Do you believe in Santa Claus?


Anonymous said...

I don't know much about the specifics in regard to doping and cycling. What you are allowed and not allowed, but it seems to me what these athletes are doing is quite amazing. I don't know of any drug or substance that can propel you to such success, is Red Bull illegal?
Anyway, I think he is due respect regardless of his personel life for his accomplishments. Let the man have his victory and move on already.
That's just me..

11:31 AM  
Mike said...

while i respect your opinion, every piece of "evidence" you cited is highly circumstantial...

a man gets a divorce and that means he takes drugs - huh? - a complete non-sequitur...

to be sure, the latest reports from l'equipe are disturbing to me, and i think all of lance's fans. yet also disturbing are the circumstances surrounding the test. normal procedures weren't followed and the nature of charges are not such they can be defended against.

hey, i am not an expert on cycling or doping - i don't know what to think in this case. perhaps you can call folks like me childish, and equate my views with believing in santa claus, but i also believe in the presumption of innocence...

i DO love your blog and enjoy your writing - both your book and on this journal, even if, in this case, i disagree with much of the post...

11:33 AM  
Den Mother said...

I to refuse to grow up, Peter Pan syndrome I think they call it....
Yes, I believe in the essence of Santa Claus. I was raised that "every day is Christmas" so how could I not. Everyone, at the end of the day, has to live with themselves and their actions. Right, wrong or indifferent, what we do in live eventually catches up with us, right???? Kharma I think it's called.


Den Mother

11:35 AM  
Steve Miller said...

People who hate the successful are funny! Where is the logic behind a performance enhancing drug being so good that L.A. could domininate the Tour by the margin's he did? Assume for the sake of argument that he did cheat. Are you saying that he would have been a middle of the packer without cheating? Let me tell you, if he did cheat, someone is going to make killing selling whatever he used to the weekend warriors like myself. I can see it now. Next season I will be mopping up the Elite field at my local XC races even though I barely hang on in the Beginner class I race in now.

By the way, you should really have your facts straight before you attemt to use them to make a point. Mrs. A. was not Mrs. A. during the cancer battle. Take a look at this.

4:14 AM  
fatmarc said...

that captured the entire LA saga better than anything I have read anywhere. Very well put. You know in single speeding they never test for anything.


4:12 PM  
SwiftyPA5 said...

We want our heros to live up to our standards and when something comes along that tests our faith in our heroes it is hard. Both of the athletes mentioned I always had the utmost respect for but as I get older, I realize that there is a man behind the curtain. The wizard is just as human as me.

You are spot on Marla. I think a lot of fans are having a hard time. I will still leave cookies and milk too. Just maybe organic cookies and milk.

Tim Swift
http: //

4:52 PM  
Anonymous said...

Obviously, IF Lance used drugs, they would not have moved him from the middle of the peloton to crushing all his competitors. No one, even Marla, is saying this.

Lance is a great cyclist and should be presumed innocent until an accurate and verifiable drug test proves otherwise. Unfortunately, that is not the way society works sometimes..thanks to some baseball players with egos.

On another point, Lance got cancer in the fall of 1996, met Kristin in June 1997 and they were married in 1998. It is intensly ignorant to presume that Lance's battle with cancer was over by the time they got married. Cancer is a life long battle, dude...

5:40 PM  
Rich said...

Hey Marla,

Really stepped in it this time!

I'll believe Lance until it's a proven fact that he lied, that's one of the great things about the US, Innocent until proven guilty.

Just Like OJ. ;-)


6:41 PM  
Francisco Harold Beavis III said...

yes i think we have been duped.....and they are mostly doped. tour winner? or just another guy just like Pantani, Hamilton, virenque, Riis maybe afew more like Larsen and Lemond...all had ties to Ferrari and his state of the art IV drip methods. Hey the scandinavian nordic skiers have been doing it for years. all these guys would drink each others urine and even take a transfusion from a dog if it meant they could ride "with no chain"!!
In sport,
Francisco Harold Beavis III

7:34 PM  
running42k said...

With all due respect Mike you state

"a man gets a divorce and that means he takes drugs - huh? - a complete non-sequitur..."

You have to take it in context to her earlier statement about loyalty. It states about character. If someone is of questionable character, then why should someone believe that he isn't on something just because he said so?

Is Lance a great cyclist? Yes. He was on stuff just like everyone else and blew them away. But don't try to tell me he is clean. That was Marla's point

4:29 AM  
randymar said...

How come no one is testing the "Hollywood rocker" for performance enhancing drugs???

She can sing AND play guitar, bass, banjo, piano, drums, zither or accordion. That's just not human.

The Yellow Guy is still my hero, even if he's flawed. Just like Steve McQueen.

8:34 AM  
Mike said... characterize a divorce as being a sign of a flaw in loyalty is, i think, an insensitive reduction of something complex and personal - the details of which, i'm thinking only two people really know... thank goodness, i've never dealt with a divorce in my own life. but from what i have seen from friends and relatives, such a glib simplification of an event which is painful to all parties is a low-blow...

even if you feel it appropriate to characterize it as disloyalty - the "logic" that says, well, that means he's lying about valuing loyalty, that means he's a liar, that means he's lying about drugs - well, that's pretty could use that "logic" to as "evidence" of any accusation...

i don't know the intimate details of lance's divorce - even if it was due to his "disloyalty", if anything, it indicates that folks don't always live up to their ideals. that's not a reason to dispute every word from a person's mouth. that means he's human. to use that as ammunition in this debate - well, it just ain't right...

1:58 PM  
Anonymous said...

Although you make some points that are possibley valid your argument is for the most part based on assumptions and shallow reasoning. Your statements about Lance leaving his wife for Sheryl are also childish as Lance's relationship with his wife failed for other reasons. I think it is possible that Lance has fibbed a bit but he also stands to loose a lot if caught for illegal drug use. Physiological testing on Lances shows positive proof that he has significantly higher VoMax and lactated threshold than even other elite wolrd class athletes. The fact of the matter is that although is is certainly possible Lances has doped. Given his intense drive for training and self denial and his gifted genetics he doesn't have to dopeto beat the other guys.

3:10 PM  
Anonymous said...

After coming across your blog the other day, and being impressed, I decided to make it a part of My Yahoo so I could check out your new postings. But after only my second read, I can honestly say that I am truly disappointed in you. I'm trying to figure out if you wrote this blog with the clear intention of striking a heated debate or if taking one of the greatest figures we have in cycling today down a notch was truly important to you. I was on your side in regards to the inequities of prize money for women but I'm definately not on your side when it comes to finding someone guilty without any reasonable proof. I've read your book and both of his; knowing what he describes as the ongoing witch hunt that some of the French have been conducting for years, coupled with the fact that said positive sample is no longer in existence-I find it distasteful that you would engage in speculation given that YOU yourself are an ambassador to the sport of two wheelers. I can't help thinking that you have abused the priveledge of being one of the few figures that young cyclists look up to for such a low and short-sighted purpose. Now if you'd just been looking to open up a discussion based on facts rather than over-simplified speculation you may not have lost me as a fan. As it were I'll care not to read your opinion knowing that you don't seem to put a great deal of thought into the repercussions of your actions.

3:52 PM  
Christine said...

The way I see it, he dropped a nice gob of weight in the course of treatment, which helps; he had testosterone supplements, which are said to help but I imagine they just brought him up to normal levels; he's been an athlete from an early age; he has a ridiculously masochistic work ethic; he's got one helluva team.

And as he put it, cancer treatment gave him an edge, in that he understood *real* pain and suffering. Climbing an Alp= good pain. Chemo= bad pain. Pain= living. Feeling nothing= not a good sign!

If he's been taking some new wonder drug, it was legal as far as the TdF standards are concerned, if all that testing didn't find it. While I'd be profoundly disappointed if that were the case, I'd sure as hell want what he's having. ;-]

10:22 PM  
Anonymous said...

do people not have the right to think? what is wrong with stating your mind on "your" blog? we all have questions. we all think we have the right answers... haven't any of you stuck your foot in your mouth before? i wouldn't sweat the details. we all make character judgements everyday. is it better to keep it mum and just let it ride out, or is it better to write down your thoughts and see what comes of it?

everything that was stated in the original post was for the most part true. so what gives? unfortunate circumstances or just media wanting to make a bigger deal of it. maybe the editors of l'equipe dislike US foreign policy, and by beating this dead horse are doing what they can to stick it to us and using press as their one weapon against us, maybe this is symbolic of much more than the little sport of cycling? maybe not. maybe they just have to sell papers and have a little vendetta against LA? maybe this is all real and he has doped? these are all posibilities.

i want to believe as much as the next. i want to believe that there was no dope. i want to think that if everyone is doping, then he would still win. if you think about it, his approach is much different than most. all he has to do is keep up with the race and have a couple of bursts... he came in second in the prologue and lost to valverde on the that climb where he regained the lead.

unfortunately there is just a lot of shady things and these make anyone with a rational mind question.

we may never know what happened. but we can make educated guesses and hope that this is all water under the bridge. thanks for reading. im going to get some performance enhancing coffee. -elias

8:36 AM  
Anonymous said...

it's all a mirage. mirrors and smoke. you know some people do have naturally high hematocrit. and no body has mentioned altitiude tents- but are these contraption anymore ethical than injecting epo or taking a blood transfusion from a baboon?

Harold Beavis Esquire the III

6:20 AM  
Anonymous said...

lance didn't meet his ex-wife until he was finished with chemo, so I don't understand how you can say she stuck by him while he was sick.

7:39 AM  
Anonymous said...

Marla - great blog..
LA's training was unparalleled and TDF specific. Combine his training regimen with a near perfect cycling specimen (mentally and physiologically) and you have a very Dominant cyclist. Let's not forget l'equipe has paper to sell and have been hunting LA for a better part of 6 years. Lance is tested more than any other cyclist on tour, its going to take a lot more than 6 year old B samples to convince me.

12:56 AM  
Anonymous said...

What is wrong with you people? This is not a newspaper that claims to be unbiased reporting, Marla can write however she feels on a "Web Log" which was, as I understand it, originally meant to be an online diary. I think some of you have good points perhaps about Marla's logic, but that's really beside the point. To look at someone's journal is a priviledge, not a right. And finally, how much have any of us paid for this? Oh, that's right, nothing. So there's not much right to criticize.

Thank goodness we have an american champion to cheer on: apparently in 7 victories he's taught cyclists who used to be friendly how to tear each other to shreds.

Just my thoughts.....?

8:23 PM  
Anonymous said...

Sounds like Marla is jealous. Perhaps she should get off the computer and go out and do something with herself. I used to like this blog, but now it sounds like the whining of a 2nd rate athlete. God, I can't stand people who throw out stupid arguements that just make no sense.

Your facts are wrong and your logic is pretty funny. Perhaps you should look into comedy as a future career path...

10:56 PM  
Anonymous said...

"I used to like this blog, but now it sounds like the whining of a 2nd rate athlete."

How does it sound like Marla is whining? I just reread what she said and I don't see it at all.

If anyone in this situation (which I say because Lance and Marla really have no connection, but for the sake of argument, they do here) should be accused of whining, it would have to be Lance. His many theories of French conspiracies seem a little far-fetched to me. I think it's as simple as the French not liking an American consistently winning the race.

That said though, I can understand why he's mad about it all. Why would L'Equipe even bother publishing this story, guilty or not? He's retired, leave the man be! (I know, I know, to sell papers, but that ain't right)

1:18 PM  
Anonymous said...

I would have to argee that Marla sounds pretty jealous. She's got the right to her opinion, but her arguement is very weak and really poorly thought out. And oh yes, the facts she states aren't even correct.

If she bases her opinion about a fellow cyclist this way, I feel sorry for her.

7:49 PM  
elfling said...

I am happy for Marla to have the courage to question the validity of our friend Santa, and in my mind, this only strengthens her character with her examination of facts, innuendos, and suppositions. Yes, there is a LOT that is NOT proven with Mr. Armstrong or others in the professional peloton (but can you really PROVE that Santa does NOT exist either?!)

Unfortunately, I know for a fact that it's just my parents putting the presents under the trees. No magic, no fairy tales.

So, it is up to all you readers to form your own decisions and
re(affirm) your own beliefs. Don't attack Marla for her own personal set of beliefs and I won't get mad at you if you still expect Santa to come down your chimney. Coal make a great re-gift!!

10:48 AM  
Juice said...

It's really amazing what some people will write in order to get some attention.

Just because you are in a position such that speaking will get some people to listen doesn't mean you SHOULD speak and it obviously doesn't mean you are intelligent enough TO speak.

11:52 AM  
Mike said...

i think that there is a big difference between criticizing a person's position and criticizing a person. therefore, i disagree with those posts that call her jealous or today's society, public discourse has gotten to the point where one demonizes those with which one disagrees...that is sad - one ought to be able to discuss issues in an atmosphere of mutual respect...

when one publishes something online and invites comments, it is perfectly acceptable to disagree with it...though one ought to be respectful... my issue is less with her "belief" (i mean, who knows for sure), than with her reasoning and evidence - which seems sketchy - ok - doping is hard to prove definitievely - does that mean one simply accepts innuendo as a substitute for hard evidence...

12:00 PM  
Anonymous said...

When did US and World Champions become second rate riders? What's that make the rest of us?

1:19 PM  
biff said...

> Anonymous said...
> When did US and World Champions
> become second rate riders? What's that > make the rest of us?

I'd say when they get to the point where they make wild accusations and throw around stories like this without any proof or evidence.

The lack of class on Marla's part makes her a second rate person.

8:56 AM  
Anonymous said...

expectations are a bitch, eh anonymous (and other) bitches? go back to the couch and believing "one day i'll be quarterback". marla is not your mom, nor your girlfriend, but she can stack you in the corners on a mx bike, so be nice. if you don't feel nice, then you really are dumber than your nicely writen blahg comment.


10:01 PM  

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