DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – More than three million people tuned in to watched disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong’s public mea culpa.
After more than a decade of denials, the Plano native admitted in an interview with Oprah Winfrey to using performance enhancing drugs during his unprecedented seven Tour de France victories.
“When you look up to somebody like that, it’s disappointing,”says cyclist Sam Mohammad.
That disappointment was the most common reaction from local cyclists asked about the confession today– but, reaction ran the gamut: cynicism from critics, to sympathy and even grudging respect.
“Just because he took these drugs to enhance his performance, he still had to go out there and train,” says cyclist Abed Allen, “It just didn’t happen by itself.”
Mohammad and several other cyclists getting in a ride around White Rock Lake today, even debated if Armstrong had ulterior motives for making such a public confession after years of denials.
“You’re talking about huge amounts of money,” says Steve Allen, while recounting several of Armstrong’s multi-million dollar endorsement deals. In one of the more harsh assessments leveled today– Allen described Armstrong as a “crook.”
But, a North Texas couple that’s raised more than a million dollars for Armstrong’s Livestrong cancer foundation says nothing has changed.
Steve and Lee Nagel became involved with the charity after Lee survived a bout with cancer. Their 4 Yellow Foundation released a statement after the confession aired, reminding supporters that their focus is still about the patients.
That statement reads in part,
“While we do not comment on the personal choices of individuals, we are grateful that the Livestrong Foundation was created and has served millions of cancer survivors for fifteen years.”
Meanwhile, local bicycle shops are bracing for business to slow following the icon’s fall from grace. Armstrong is credited with generating a lot of enthusiasm and interest in biking among the public.
“People aren’t as excited about what they’re watching, when they know someone’s cheating,” says Boyd Wallace, owner of Dallas Bike Works.
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