“Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things;
“Some shall be pardon’d, and some punished:
“For never was a story of more woe…”
— Prince Escalus, “Romeo & Juliet”
Hmmm. Did this Verona royal know of professional cycling all the way back in the 1500s?
Obviously not. But they’re words that seem to apply still to the sport-altering indiscretions of Lance Armstrong — and the continuing maelstrom that surrounds the guy who crossed the finish line first in seven Tour de France races.
On Sunday, July 27, Reed Albergotti sheds further light on Armstrong’s doping scandal, his cover-up, the worldwide fallout and the future of cycling in a Tireside Chat at the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame.
A Wall Street Journal white-collar crime reporter who co-authored the recent “Wheelmen: Lance Armstrong, the Tour de France and the Greatest Sports Conspiracy Ever,” Albergotti’s talk begins at 1 p.m. The Hall of Fame is at 303 Third St. in downtown Davis.
In the book (just released in paperback), Albergotti and Journal colleague Vanessa O’Connell provide the first complete account of how Armstrong recruited financial backers, sponsors, assistants, doctors, lawyers and teammates to help him cheat.
Albergotti says his talk will capsulize some of the book’s most interesting/exasperating points:
* How Armstrong feels like he’s been made a scapegoat;
* Why cancer-survivor Armstrong (the catalyst for the Livestrong Foundation) believes he’s a hero;
* Armstrong’s outrage at the “Wheelmen…” title itself;
* What about Armstrong’s promise to help expose other cheats? and
* Will Armstrong’s on-road accomplishments ever be restored?
The Union Cycliste Internationale — cycling’s global governing body — stripped Armstrong of his sanctioned titles and earlier this year set up a panel to study cycling abuses from 1998 and suggest reforms.
After a yearlong study, this spring trustees of the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame announced a lifetime ban on “cycling athletes or contributors who admit to, or are convicted of, violating rules concerning performance-enhancing drugs.”
The new local policy means, according to Hall of Fame President Anthony Costello, that “Lance Armstrong will never be enshrined.”
“Wheelmen…” further chronicles the explosion of popularity of cycling in the United States, while pondering what the sport’s doping scandal means to the commercial future of the bicycle industry.
“It is sad that things have come to this,” Costello earlier told The Enterprise. “But we want to send a clear message that one cannot be simultaneously doping and competing fairly. It’s fair competition and earned success that we value.”
Notes: Hall of Fame board member John Hess says admission to Albergotti’s presentation is free “but donations are certainly welcome.” …The Avid Reader will have “Wheelmen…” copies on sale. …Albergotti is an accomplished rider whose father coordinated the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics cycling events. For the past 17 years, O’Connell has covered tobacco, alcohol, gun, insider-trading and oil-spill issues for the Journal.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at email@example.com or 530-320-4456.