Seven Reasons Why We Will Always Love/Hate Lance Armstrong

Categories: Bicycle Culture

Now that Lance Armstrong has declined to defend his case against the USADA in an arbitration hearing -- thereby admitting a certain level of guilt of either using performance enhancing drugs during his cycling career, helping to distribute them, or both -- everyone across the globe seems to have picked a side to either stand by their man or throw him to the lions.

The news outlets and social media sites are exploding with opinions ranging from an innocent victim of a witch hunt to a selfish, win-at-all-costs son of a bitch, and not a lot in between. Regardless of where you fall in this debate, there's no denying Armstrong has left an indelible impact on the world, cycling and beyond, over the past 18 years.

And here's why we'll always love/hate him ...

7. + He got more people on Bikes/- He got more people to wear spandex.
The number of bikes sold in the US after 1999 skyrocketed simply because of Armstrong winning that first Tour de France. Cycling became cool, and that popularity quickly spilled over to the triathlon world, where Armstrong first got his start and, ironically enough, saw it end. From 2000 to 2010, if someone saw anyone turning over some pedals, they likely yelled out "Hey Lance!" just like in the newly released movie "Premium Rush."

Roberto Bettini/Cyclingnews
6. + He won like Tiger and MJ/- He behaved like Tiger and MJ.
Many can argue that if Armstrong actually doped or used other performance enhancing drugs, it was simply leveling the playing field because everybody was doin' it. Drugs or not, he owned the Tour de France from 1999 to 2006 and would ride away from the best climbers on the hardest of courses. From The Look to The Fall to The Crossing, the peloton was at Armstrong's mercy and he would strong-arm victory similar to Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan. Of course, both of those guys were famous for being supreme jerks who surrounded themselves with yes-men entourages and divorces from their loyal first wives, too.

5. + He likes riding in Phoenix/- So much for that Ironman AZ.
Armstrong brought several of his teams to the Valley, specifically north Phoenix and Scottsdale, for preseason training, including as recently as his farewell season in 2011. The team would famously set up shop at the Boulders Resort and train on the rolling roads around Cave Creek, Carefree, and Fountain Hills, riding routes out to Lake Pleasant, Nine Mile Hill or down to Bartlett Lake. Just last fall, Armstrong returned to Tempe to claim first place at the Urban Dirt Triathlon as part of his build up to completing an Ironman, which never happened nor now ever will.

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