Hey, This is Lance

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Okay, I got a phone call from Lance Armstrong yesterday. It was sort of out of the blue. By that I mean I wasn’t really expecting Lance to be calling me. I guess I should start from the beginning.

Around Thanksgiving, I got a short email from someone who said he was Lance. It was short. It said something like that he occasionally reads my blog and found it interesting. He thought that we should “chat” to go over some things that would be informative.

I get a lot of strange emails and calls, so sort of blew it off. I blew it off by sending him a back an email that was flippant, saying something like I would be down in Austin pretty soon, which was true, and wondering if he knew a good urologist, which was something I was wondering. He answered back something like saying it was a loaded email, and yes on the urologist. I just let it go.

Flash forward to December and I get a one liner asking me when I would be in Austin. I didn’t reply.

So then a couple of days ago after the post I did about George and Frankie, I get an email saying we “needed” to talk. That my post was “ill-informed”, which I don’t think is true, and sad. Then another email saying he was going to call. It was like 7am, but I was awake. I didn’t have my phone in my pocket, but got another email saying that he just tried to call. I looked at my phone and there was a missed call from the 512 area code, which is Austin.

I thought that this was getting a little weird. Who would be trying to impersonate Lance and go and get a 512 area code just to call me? I blew it off again.

Then yesterday afternoon, my phone rang and it was the same number, so I answered. I was under the impression, nearly positive, that it was going to be some weird dude wanting something/ whatever. I say hello and he said, Hey, this is Lance.

It took maybe 20 seconds before I really considered it was Lance. I was so set in my mind that it wasn’t.

Maybe I should back up a little. I’ve “known” Lance for a long, long time. Not in the sense that we’re great friends or anything. This was the first time, that I can remember, that he has ever called me, so it isn’t a common thing. Back in the early 90’s to mid 90’s, when we raced together a lot, I talked to him pretty often. He made a brief foray into MTB racing around 2000, so I rode with him a few times back then. But, I’m pretty sure I haven’t said a word to him since he dabbled in cross and came to Cross Vegas, 5 or 6 years ago.

I was a little rattled, which isn’t normal for me. It took a good 10 minutes before I felt comfortable.

Anyway, we ended up talking for nearly an hour. I’m still thinking about the reason he called. I’m going to give it a couple days to sink in, then am going to post something on it. The subjects bounced around quite a bit. It was mainly about doping and the current situation. What is just and equitable considering the prevalence of doping in the sport. And how to move forward.

I have to admit, the guy sounds genuine. He always has. I told him, during the call, that was part of his current problem. He sounded so genuine, authentic before, during his whole career, with the denials. He obviously speaks very well. So, now when he sounds genuine, it is hard to know whether it is just the same old, or it is whether it is truly sincere. He sounded sincere to me, but what do I know.

Anyway, I’m gonna let this thing mull around in my brain for a couple days and then try to do it justice.

Lance in Mount Snow.  He had a hard time that day.

Lance in Mount Snow. He had a hard time that day.

And at Cross Vegas.

And at Cross Vegas.

45 thoughts on “Hey, This is Lance

  1. Rod

    Set up a time to meet in Austin and do a face to face
    to see how genuine everything is. Heck, go ride for a
    few hours with him and get to know Lance 2014.

     
  2. James

    Please do come back and follow up with us. I am still waiting to hear your thoughts on the 50+ Masters that was busted for doping.

     
  3. Sean YD

    When you put “contact info” on your website, Steve, you never know who will call. Hope you aren’t ignoring calls from potential sponsors. If in doubt, let Trudi answer it. 🙂

     
  4. chris

    Hah. We “needed” to talk. Yeah, he should’ve thought of that old line when USADA came calling.

     
  5. CW

    Oh man Steve, what a tease! you better follow up on this….still waiting on your tale for your trip to the lab in Denver!

     
  6. Oldster

    this should be rich, stay vigilant. Can totally emphasize with you skepticism, getting a call from the big bad wolf and all. Akin to getting a phone call from the Scientologists so they can “explain” things away. Should make for interesting topics for you to write about.

    It would be really funny if you did a Creed thing and part of the process would be that the subject would have to travel to your house, ply them with wine/pie, put a kitten in their lap and fire away. You would win the interwebs …seriously

     
  7. JP Shores

    Your blog is always interesting….but wow, it just became real interesting! He should send YOU and Trudi and airline ticket, set you up with bikes from Mellow Johnny’s and go for a ride in the Hill country. You lead a very interesting life and could have the potential to really shed some real light on the doping issues. Next you should really work on a book, title it, “Racing Clean and still kicking Ass!” GO!

     
  8. Michael McNutt

    I think there are many racers/bloggers/insiders like yourself that need/will be turned so this man can gain back even part of what he has lost. Forgive but don’t forget. Life moves on…..

     
  9. channel_zero

    Why exactly does Steve need to go see him? If this is Lance’s issue then it’s up to Lance to be at a time and place of Steve’s choosing be it a phone call or whatever.

    WTF is anyone entertaining this guy’s nonsense? Once again, there are rules Lance was responsible for following, he broke them, he was sanctioned according to the rules. Yet, somehow, like all the decades before, these rules don’t apply to Lance.

    The problem in this situation is Lance, not the rules.

     
  10. channel_zero

    If Armstrong admits Lemond is the greatest modern American cyclist. I’d believe that. Other than things I can check for myself like the weather outside, I doubt truth ever comes from Armstrong.

     
  11. David L

    I do believe in forgiving people if they show true remorse for their actions. I have a hard time getting past how Lance set out to destroy people. People who spoke the truth about his deceptions.

    I bought in on all of the early Lance hysteria. I traveled a long way to ride in the first 8 of his “Ride For the Roses” events. Actually the first ride was called “Race For The Roses.” I had a history of cancer in my family, and with friends. I thought it was great that he was giving something back, particularly at that first event when he was far from gaining the popularity that was to come. I believe that was genuine and I had a great time riding those events, especially the early ones where we rode in the hill country.

    Now, here I am 2 years in on my own battle with stage 4 cancer. I no longer have time for negative, mean people. I choose to spend my time with positive, caring people who aren’t “playing me.” Obviously, it’s your choice, give him a listen. I do think someone’s actions deserve far more attention than their words.

    David L

     
  12. Neil Kopitsky

    Lance seems to be on some kinds of mission to befriend the Clean guys out there (See Scott Mercier’s blogs about riding with Lance.) This is what troubles me: In the article on George Hincapie you blogged about a few days ago, Lance referenced the story about the Dallas Cowboy football player who had killed a teammate in a car wreck, and been forgiven by the deceased player’s mother, Stacey Johnson. He said that Betty Andreu could “use a little Stacey Johnson in her life.”

    My interpretation of that is that he thinks that Betty is still bitter and needs to get over it and forgive Lance. (I can’t figure out any other way to read that comment.) I have no idea where you find a universe in which the wrongdoer gets to tell the the wronged when they should be forgiven, but I’m pretty sure you have to be a complete tool to live there, and apparently Lance is still a resident.

    Tread Cautiously.

     
  13. johan bolsadesangre

    I have always liked reading steve´s blog and I find this very interesting. We´ll see what Lance has to say. It´s funny, though, that we haven´t heard anything out of Johan. Nothing from the hearing…

    My guess? Johan has dirt on everyone, and I bet he can prove that a large part of the testimony to USADA by the ex posties were lies. That´s going to put Travis in a tough spot. He´ll look like an idiot for believing it just to go after Lance, at which point he´ll have to think seriously about letting Lance back in…or risking his reputation as a doping fighter…which would be seriously tarnished.

    I have never understood why Lance cares to come back. He stole those Tours, fair and square. Doping was and still is so much bigger than Lance…and nobody wants to deal with that.

    Steve, you are right on about most things, but not about Frankie Andreu. He had zero problem working with Mancebo on his team, heavily involved in Puerto and into Lance-Level doping. That was no problem for Frankie. Frankie was another doper like the rest of them…I can´t wait until the real dirt comes out on all of these guys.

    There are no holy dopers. None.

     
  14. TWM

    Frankie didn’t recruit and hire Mancebo – he was thrust upon Kenda as a result of the acquisition of the Competitive Cyclist team. I guarantee that Frankie was not happy about it, but his only option was to resign as director. As someone who lost jobs (income) because of his anti-doping/anti-Lance stance, that’s a lot to ask.

     
  15. dennis bean-larson

    My wife doesn’t answer the phone if she doesn’t recognize the number, I view that kind of call as opportunity.
    I, next, would like to hear comments on the Master’s racer doping issue, media portrayed it like a cost of doing business, if they covered it at all.
    And finally, WTF with UCI blocking the US stream thru Youtube of the World CX Championships last weekend??

     
  16. tom bengel

    So the cheat knows a lot of people read steve’s blog and he’s worried the truth will again be aired ? Ignore the cheat altogether.

     
  17. nancy

    @ Dennis bean: universal sports bougth the us right for cx world and the world cup. Universsl doesn’t do much here snd you need to pay to have access to the website content.

     
  18. Go Blackhawks

    Count me in on the curious side. I recall A.Z. blogging on the bizarre third party trolling of her blog and (I think?) twitter account, only to have Lance arrive with the same “I would like to talk and inform you” message. She declined coffee and a potential face to face intimidation session. This was pre Oprah, so Im curious to your message.

     
  19. Wayde Tardif

    I’m always kind of amazed at the know-it-all nature of commentators on blogs, and the like, and the flippant answers people post as if they are the “in-the-know” . . . Or as if the on-line commentators are actually their friends . . . I don’t know Lance either, and have only raced against him a few times in the early-mid 90’s, but as many out there, I have my feelings about him too, and had since then (Fitchburg 92′?).

    I’m keen to hear about Steve’s conversation.

    Lance, you do have a lot to account and atone for, but I don’t know you. I don’t know the pressures, the issues or the circumstances. I won’t give you a pass for what you may have taken from others, but you, like me, Steve, and those reading this (not the bots of course), are human, and we make mistakes, and sometimes we make dire ones.

     
  20. H Luce

    I’d invite him up to Topeka and have the conversation at your house, rather than meet him on his territory. Hell, have him on one of the Monday-Wednesday-Friday rides. And Frankie’s a good judge of character…

     
  21. Zap?

    While somewhat on the subject of Lance and somewhat on the subject of doping and mountain biking, can I throw this out there, because I have no idea who to ask about this.

    Lance entered the race at Mt. Snow to help his fellow Trek rider secure the NORBA championship, by putting a spot (or two) between Travis Brown and Steve Larsen, who was also in contention for the NORBA championship that year.

    The tactic worked and Travis Brown won the championship over Steve Larsen that year. Now my question is, since Lance was stripped of all of his victories, would that include this race? If so, would that posthumously give the championship to Steve Larsen?

    This is really strange to be even thinking about, because I’ve met you (Steve Tilford), Travis Brown, Catherine Walberg, Travis Brown, Steve Larsen at various races over the years. Heck, I met both Travis Brown and Steve Larsen at a race in Red Wing MN in ’99 leading up to the championship. Catherine was there and came out to watch the pro mens race and even commented on how fast Steve Larsen was racing that day, a race he won. I don’t remember if you were there that day (Steve Tilford) however.

    Any thoughts on this?

     
  22. Mike Rodose

    To Steve….this is a great opportunity to learn more. You are open-minded, but very principled. Nobody is quite sure what Lance is…or isn’t. But he’s a guy who loved racing his bicycle and winning. At all costs…no compromises.

    To Lance…we all witnessed you beat everyone in all 7 tours and get awarded the yellow jerseys. I, too, would still display them. Your tours and wins were real. Drug-fueled perhaps, but very real. Thanks for kicking their asses…fun and exciting! Incredible American Pride. Thank you for finally admitting the secrets, because it was obvious to anybody that has raced a bicycle, you were on good stuff. And so were many others. That was also obvious. Many in the US racing community were worried you’d get popped, not worried about you being clean. We rooted for you with a wink and a nod between cyclists. So…now watching that same community now act so offended, mortified and holier than-thou is worse behaviour than doping in the Pro peloton. There is no purpose for it other than sport. Wish it were different, but keep riding and thanks for the good memories, Lance.

    Oh…lastly…if I had been a US Pro, trying to kick ass in Europe, I would have consumed every fucking drug available to do it. Of this, I’m absolutely sure.

    Heading out on the fat bike to think about thinking.

     
  23. Ramona

    Forgiveness is one thing, trust is another. Lance plays people, like a fiddle. Your previous article about GH ends with Lance taking yet another dig at Betsy Andreu – who has every reason to be outraged and incensed at LA’s ongoing smear campaign.

    He’s reaching out to you because you have a following – and you’re a principled person who tells it like it is. IMHO he wants to your reach and platform to “set the story straight.” When what would he really needs to do is tell the whole truth to USADA, WADA and the UCI – like he’s been given the opportunity to do so on numerous occasions.

    Lance wants to continue to control the narrative, he’s a narcissist who can’t stand being out of the spot light. Now that the light shines on GH, Lance wants back in. We’ve seen his capacity for pathological lying. What would make you believe anything he says now? Don’t let him use you Steve.

     
  24. The Cyclist

    Just like the Leiphammer? Personally, I tink Leiphammer is a lot worse crook than poor Lancie.
    Wait, not a crook perhaps. More like a clown. Yes, definitely clown.

     
  25. channel_zero

    Zap,

    There is a statute of limitations on what races are included in a completed sanction. Even then, promoters can choose not to enforce the sanction. Lance cheated Wiens out of his Leadville fireroad podium and the promoter won’t vacate Armstrong’s result.

    USAC’s pattern of behaviour is doping is okay, as long as it is on the WorldTour.

    If you are *that* Zap, then can you please explain WTF that doper Carmichael doing writing a column at your rag? For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, read Hincapie’s affidavit, page 3, or Google the phrase “60 minutes dope and glory”

     
  26. Zap?

    I’m not that Zap, sorry. Thanks for the explanation on the race results though.

    I used Zap as a username because I think he was also working for Trek during this whole era. Sorry to cause any confusion.

     
  27. Shorty

    Doesn’t this show that Lance hasn’t changed a bit? Still obsessing over every blog post about him, still calling people to try to influence opinion, still using bully tactics. The guy is pathological. Don’t get suckered in, Steve.

     
  28. James

    I think it’s ironic that Mr. Weinstein was contending for win # 7 and Lance took that from him. We all know how important 7 was to Lance.

    Weins is a true champion. Humble. The people’s champion for sure. On his way to 2nd place, he thanked the volunteers on top of the mountain.

     
  29. markK

    Sometimes it’s best to go with your first impression…
    “…so I answered. I was under the impression, nearly positive, that it was going to be some weird dude wanting something/ whatever.”……….BINGO!!!

     
  30. Dog

    Lance always shows up in the influential circles. Just like he did at “The Clinic” on the CN forums. If there are people “in the know” discussing it online, he finds them.

    Lance always needs to manage his surroundings. He’s such a control freak. So now he needs to “manage” you. Just like he tried to “manage” me a few years ago. He knows that his charisma often has the power of a Jedi Mind Trick. My suggestion? Move along.

    Move along. Move along!

     
  31. Dog

    Lance was calling from a cabin up in Idyllwild. He rents a room from some hermit guy who felt sorry for him after he lost all of his money.

     

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