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A rewind to the now-infamous career of Lance Armstrong. A talented teenage triathelete gets into professional cycling with Motorola. Following which, he fights his now-legendary battle against testicular cancer. After extensive chemotherapy and surgery, he does the impossible—win 7 Tour de France in a row. Basking in fame and victory, the then-legendary man is swarmed with sponsorship deals, while his yellow Livestrong band defines every suburban teen's aesthetics. But "this mythical life", as Armstrong confesses in an interview with Oprah, was a "big lie". In fact, for almost all his career—especially the 7 Tour victories—Armstrong had served himself with a "cocktail" of EPOs (erythropoietin), testosterones and blood transfusions.
Minor doping allegations against Armstrong began with his first win in 1999. But, due to outdated testing techniques (and innovative doping regimens), such allegations were easily brushed aside. But, trouble began to brew when a series of French and British journalists published books and leaders in 2004-05, quoting testimonies that accused him of taking EPOs for his 1999 win. And finally, United States Anti-Doping Agency's 200-page report, supported with tests and testimonies, was the blow that stripped him of all his titles. Yet, what stuck out was brazenness with which he bullied—he called Emma O'Reilly, a whistleblower, a prostitute for going open—and vehemently launched libel lawsuits to defend his stature. As he tells Oprah, "We sued so many people, I'm sure we did."
Armstrong's plunge from an inspirational icon to a cheat would scar tour de France's history for decades to come. However, UCI should should train its guns at the tentative doping culture within cycling. As Armstrong himself said of his doping—"the definition of cheat is to gain advantage on a rival ... that they don't have ... I viewed it [doping] as a level playing field".