I haven’t really written much about personal views on things in the world of cycling for many years, however the recent news that Lance Armstrong is being pursued once again in relation to allegations of doping puts pay to that.
Lance has endured a physical trauma in his fight against cancer that few (if any) can comprehend. The physical hardening and mental toughening that will have accompanied his fight against and recover from cancer will have left him with a significant advantage. His pain thresholds, his level of determination, his desire to battle the odds and win all outstrip that of other riders, because ultimately at one point his life depended on being able to do it. Once you’ve been through that anything else is going to be put into a real context.
There is little doubt that the tailored training schedule and seasonal focus on Le Tour also gave Lance the edge. As team leader and a highly prominent figure, he seemed able to dictate his cycling calendar and race schedule allowing him to focus on the big event. Few others had the same luxury and ability to arrive in France at the peak of their form each year. There can be little doubt this gave him a significant edge.
Of course there were other factors like a World class team of hand picked riders many of whom had the ability to finish highly in the general classification but often sacrificed themselves and their opportunities for the Texan. The final thing should of course not be forgotten. Lance was clearly a very driven and intense individual from an early age and with a talent for cycling and a tactical mind that have made him one of the cycling greats. The fact that his abilities out stripped those of others of his generation is something that few will have been happy to accept.