Thursday, October 10, 2013

Not Always On Your Side

You know a relationship is on the rocks when she sings to the Feds and cooks your Spandex shorts.

For a long time, cyclist Lance Armstrong denied that he used any drugs or doping or trickery to become the best cyclist in the world. He won all those Tour de France championships on the basis of hard work alone, he insisted.

Teammates piped up and said that he did, indeed, use artificial methods to boost his performance, but since they were implicated themselves, too many people felt that they were trying to deflect blame or point fingers. What they said was little more believable than the rumours being spread by rivals.

Suddenly, it all fell apart and Lance Armstrong admitted to cheating. Not that he was alone, of course. Cycling is rife with cheating. It was his endless cycle of denial that hurt his reputation. To be found out after denying your sins is worse than if you'd confessed from the start.

What changed, to elicit his admission?

It turns out that the woman he loved, at the time at any rate, sang pretty tunes to investigators. In spite of her song lyrics, singer Sheryl Crow was not always on Lance's side.

According to an upcoming book from reporters Reed Albergotti and Vanessa O'Connell, Ms. Crowe joined her sweetheart Lance on a trip to Belgium, where he received a blood transfusion that was not medically necessary. Endurance athletes have found that extra blood cells, which carry oxygen, will provide above normal amounts of oxygen to muscles when that extra oxygen is most needed to prevent fatigue. Runners can go further at top speed before biology takes over if they over-ride the body's natural levels of red blood cells.

It is illegal because it is cheating. What an athlete's body can do is all that is allowed in contests. When they transfuse their own blood right before a match, they are not playing by the rules.

Fool that he was, Lance Armstrong thought that Ms. Crow was as supportive of him as his former wife, whom he left when it was clear he was cheating on her...with Sheryl Crow. As it turns out, the affair did not last and the couple split, leaving Ms. Crow with no incentive to protect her ex-lover's reputation.

So she sang to investigators, told them all about that trip to Belgium.

Facing charges herself if she did not answer honestly, Ms. Crow did not try to obfuscate or lie out of love for her man. Mr. Armstrong wasn't her man any more and she wasn't going to take any heat whatsoever for his sake. She owed him nothing.

WHEELMEN is due out soon, a book that promises to lay open the whole doping scandal that Lance Armstrong spent years in denying.

The lesson of his downfall? Perhaps he should have been a better partner, because we all know that "Heav'n has no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn'd, Nor Hell a Fury, like a Woman scorn'd".

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