"...I think it's really and truly a jihad. It's a terror exactly like the one our country is at war against, where the ideology of the "oppressed" can find no satisfaction in this life. The Lance-haters: They are nihilists. What is their purpose of their anger? What endgame, exactly, do they want to see? I have some bad news for them: Everyone who raced the Tour de France in 1999 was on EPO. Do you not understand that? Why the outrage at a fact that no one disputes?
Tell me this: What is Lance's path to penance? Clearly confession isn't the answer. If it were, Jonathan Vaughters wouldn't still be tap-dancing around the issue of his own doping. And if confession reliably earned Christ-on-a-cross-like redemption, Joe Papp and Patrick Sinkewitz could plot their racing comebacks. But, no, a rational path to cleansing doesn't exist for the haters. It's because they're not rational. It's because they're suckers. They're suckers for the would-be eloquence and fashion sense of the preening David Millar. They're suckers for the cuddliness of family man Erik Zabel. The haters think they're la Résistance, but in fact no one has proven more susceptible to the modern-day crafting of character -- where public figures aren't appraised by their deeds, but rather are judged by the packaging job concocted by high-dollar PR firms with their expert media manipulation. Like the fat fuck idiots who run me off the road when I train who honest-to-God believe in "Must See TV": The haters run like rats to their media addictions: The New York Times, Paul Kimmage, "honest" interviews with the spokesmodels of Team Garm*n. Here's what the Tour of California taught me: Lance has no path to penance. Why? It's because there's something the haters hate even more than him: That the world doesn't share their self-righteous outrage. Their capricious use of forgiveness proves that there's no true north for their moral compass.
- Speaking of Paul Kimmage, he of the starry-eyed Team Garm*n worship, let's not forget the fact that in his cri de coeur "A Rough Ride" he makes it clear that he experimented with doping during his own pro days. There's no shame in that. As his book makes clear, life is complicated. It's interesting, then, that he's so eager to play character-assassin to Lance. Stones, glass houses, etc. Why, Paul, why? I have a theory: It's guilt that motivates Paul Kimmage in his splenetic, very public hatred of Lance. He can't stomach the experience of his own personal doping experimentation. It's as though confessing it in his book wasn't enough, and forgiveness can only come through more punishment. Punishment of himself? No way. It's punishment of others who might be guilty of the same.
I can already hear the ripostes of the haters. There's a world of difference, they'll say, between Kimmage's youthful doping dalliance and Lance's methods. I'm sorry, but nary a shred of proof exists of that. In lieu of facts, the haters will compensate with the Great Wall of Vitriol. In the place of due process, they prefer the ease of trial-by-media. I agree that there's a "world of difference" here: It's a talent level that differentiates Paul and Lance. As bike racers. And as effective communicators..."
"...Lance-haters, I appreciate meaningful dialogue. With this in the forefront of my mind, I yield the floor to you, my esteemed colleagues whose second-most prized asset is their David Millar-autographed copies of Rouleur #8 (featuring a glossy full page photo of a freshly-scrubbed, looking-thoughtful DM head-to-toe in Paul Smith at the foot of the Eiffel Bridge in Girona.) Please help me understand: (1) Why the selective forgiveness? I have a soft spot for Kazakh riders. What will it take for you to embrace the no-less-guilty-than-Millar Vinokourov and Kasheckin? And Papp and Sinkewitz? (2) What will cause you to lower your moral crosshairs from Lance? Let's get into the realm of the purely theoretical: If he surrendered his '99 maillot jaune who is the innocent that we'll hand it down to? Jesus, look at that top-15. It reads like death row! How about a Festina rider? A Casino rider? A Mercatone Uno rider? Look at all 141 finishers -- not unlike life, who there is without sin? Let me narrow the questions to this: What is Lance's way to penance? Or would you prefer not to get into that, since forgiveness to Lance would deprive you of your most prized asset, the thing that finally gives you a sense of purpose in life: Your white-hot hatred of Lance."
Full, delicious entry here.