As Lance Armstrong gets cooked in the media this week, I recall the summer of 2001 when he was a day away from sewing up his 3rd straight tour win. I wrote a few verses for the Seattle Bicycle Club newsletter. I think they needed to fill a little empty space. I had no special insight at that moment. Rampant drug use on the Tour was common knowledge, and rumors about Lance were everywhere.
I remember I asked Fabio, a Frenchman and owner of my local bike shop, what he thought. He had been a mechanic for elite French cycling teams. He shrugged, “oh ze all do eet (drugs). He ees steel ze best.” And then there was my French neighbor Laurent. One day when we rode to work together, I asked and he told me, “I think the French people believe Lance is a great champion.”