Texans stand by local hero Armstrong despite dope shame
Lance Armstrong's fans in his cycling-mad hometown stood by their man on Friday despite overwhelming evidence that he cheated his way to winning his record seven Tour de France titles.
Armstrong, who denies taking banned substances, has been accused by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) of being at the heart of "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping program" ever seen in sport.
But like many previous doping allegations — including when he was stripped of his titles in August — fans seem more influenced by the inspirational tale of a cancer survivor going on to achieve unparalleled cycling glory.
“Lance is the most tested athlete and if it was such a big conspiracy as claimed it would have come out before,” said Michael Blumenstein, in town for the Austin City Limits Music Festival.
Even those who believe Armstrong did engage in doping don’t think it makes much sense to go back over races from 1999 to 2005.
“There’s better stuff to do than bust Lance. The titles are his that he won under the conditions at the time —everyone was doing drugs,” said Jon Selden, as he waited in line at Franklin Barbeque.
A shopper who declined to give his name because he’s a competitive cyclist decried the timing of the investigation. “It’s water under the bridge, just move forward, what has the investigation done for the sport? What Armstrong's achieved is bigger than the races,” he said.