With the start of this year's Tour de France, the subject of professional cycling and performance-enhancing drugs comes to the spotlight once again. Our not so long ago American champion Lance Armstrong , winner of seven, was relieved of his titles by anti-doping officials and has recently claimed that his wins were impossible without doping, also saying essentially that doping was common amongst participants providing a level playing field; an excuse such as it was, but still not making it ok.
During the years of Armstrong's victories, just as now, Tour officials were relentless in their pursuit of doping offenders seeking to nail him and others. Nevertheless, even amidst this constant scrutiny Tour organizers were grateful of intense favorable publicity and enthusiastic attention given to his now legendary duels involving Pantani, Ullrich, Kloden, Beloki, Vinokourov and others -- plain and simple, it was great racing, and consequently corporations here at home were eager to jump on the bandwagon supporting him and capitalizing on his success.
Armstrong still remains an inspiration to cancer patients everywhere and his foundation has helped many. We may now criticize him, but we still cannot ignore his tremendous accomplishments and the thrilling entertainment he provided.
DAVID P. SISK, Richland
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