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Local cyclists share thoughts on Lance Armstrong dropping doping case

Saturday, August 25, 2012 | 6:13 p.m. CDT; updated 5:00 p.m. CDT, Sunday, August 26, 2012
Chrysa Niewald, left, Richard Niewald, at back, Pam Barrick and Dana Goodman head to the start line at Les Bourgeois Vineyard in Rocheport for the BikeMo 2012 bike ride Saturday.

ROCHEPORT — At 6 a.m. Saturday as Brie Larson was preparing to ride in the eighth annual BikeMO 2012 event, she said she was disappointed about the recent news that cyclist Lance Armstrong decided not to defend himself in the  doping case.

"He's fought for so long, and now he's giving up," she said. "It's kind of a no-win situation."

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For Larson and other cyclists at BikeMO 2012 — an event where 132 riders biked through Rocheport, Boonville, Arrow Rock and the Katy Trail on Saturday — Armstrong's decision to end his two-year battle against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency over claims that he used performance enhancing drugs was a disheartening turn of events. 

Dan Schoenleber, who has been cycling for 15 years, said he sees Armstrong’s giving up as an admission of guilt.

“I’m disappointed," he said. "But it doesn’t surprise me. Another professional athlete is down. If you rationalize it, people would do whatever to win.”

Cyclist John Wieland said it was obvious Armstrong had done it. 

“Everybody does it," he said. "If you don’t do it, you can’t be a first-class cyclist. That’s the culture of this sport, all sports."

The agency said that Armstrong used a hormone that increases the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood to enhance his performance and win seven consecutive Tour de France titles. 

Despite years of negative doping tests, Armstrong has had a difficult time proving his innocence, due to eyewitness accounts by teammates, according to an ABC News report. 

Cyclist Gary Nash said he doesn't buy the teammates' stories.

"During the tour, they didn't find anything," he said. "The people that have accused him have been found doping. I don't know how credible the eyewitnesses are."

In a statement released Thursday, Armstrong said that he plans to move on with his life and focus on Livestrong, his foundation dedicated to empowering people affected by cancer. 

"Whatever the evidence says, I still admire him. He did ride, he did fight, and he did win. People make mistakes. Whatever he may have done, I’m willing to overlook that and forgive him," cyclist Fred Weems said Saturday.

“I don’t think he doped," Shar Golding, who was also at BikeMO, said. "He was just tired of all this. It’s not worth it for him to keep fighting the fight.”

Supervising editor is Alison Matas.


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