Just when you think we might get through an entire Tour de France without mention of the word doping, the Associated Press reported on Thursday that Lance Armstrong spoke with cycling investigators about his doping history.
Armstrong, who won seven consecutive Tour de France titles that were later stripped when a report detailed his use of performance-enhancing drugs, set up a meeting with the officials in May to talk about all of it; the using and everything he could answer.
From the AP:
"They asked him about everything ... If you made a list of all the questions people would want to ask about Lance and his activities in cycling and everything else, those were the questions that were asked and answered," [Armstrong's attorney Elliot] Peters said.
The probe has been expected to center on the International Cycling Union's handling of doping in the late 1990s and early 2000s, especially its links with Armstrong. Armstrong's willingness to meet with investigators has been seen as crucial to their efforts to determine whether former officials with the sport's governing body aided his doping as the Texan became cycling's biggest star.
Certainly at this point there can't be much reason for Armstrong to hide anything, it's all largely out in the open. Or at least his involvement is, anyway.
One has to hope that at least part of the aim by investigators isn't just to look back but to make sure this doesn't happen again. The sport of cycling has long been tainted by doping, a real black mark on the sport. But so far in this year's Tour, there hasn't been any mention of cheating.
Current Tour leader, Italy's Vincenzo Nibali, says it's because the sport has changed and shouldn't be connected with the days of doping in the rear-view mirror.
"There have been many mistakes in cycling in the past, by many riders, but they belong to the past," Nibali said (via AP). "We now have a biological passport, out-of-competition controls, controls at home ...
"Nobody can say that cycling hasn't changed. Nowadays, there is an isolated case. There's always the possibility that an idiot does something stupid ..."
Indeed it is possible but there's no denying the riders have been good about cleaning up the sport, which was sorely needed. Instead of talking about blood thinners or whatever other drugs, the conversation has instead focused on the actual racing which, so far, has been very entertaining in this year's Tour. Maybe Armstrong speaking with investigators is another step toward officially closing this chapter in cycling.
Armstrong has been busy with his doping past lately as he also facing a massive lawsuit from the US government in lieu of his cheating.