I like Lance Armstrong, have always liked him. Not the fairy-tale prince, but the real him, the guy with the scars in his head, both visible and invisible, the combative hombre who once crossed a finish line swinging his fists at another rider, the contradictory, salty-mouthed, anti-religious nonbeliever, who nevertheless restored a chapel. The man who tried to whip cancer fair and square, and did more good with his name and fortune than any athlete I’ve ever met.
I’ve searched high and low for my anger at Lance, and I can’t find it. It’s just not there. I checked — looked in every corner, and I’m empty of it. I’ve tried for weeks now to summon the moral certitude and outrage that others seem to demand, and I don’t have it, maybe because he’s my friend and co-author of “It’s Not About the Bike,” but also because my opinion of him was never based on what he did in a bike race in France 10 years ago. And while we’re on that subject, there is no question in my mind he was the hardest-working cyclist in the world, and for the life of me, I can’t find the competitive injustice in his seven Tour de France victories.