Lance and "that ban"

The questions and articles about Lance Armstrong and his ban, continue unabated, the latest round exemplified by the US News and World Report write-up that proclaimed "WADA's Howman says it's 'almost too late' for Armstrong to get his ban reduced."

I keep hearing people say "let him race". But why? What is about letting Lance race again people want and what would it achieve?

While for the most part its fair to accept that most of his peers were doping, as far as I'm aware Lance doesn't want to go back and race 40-something ex-doper cyclists. He wants to race mountain bikes, triathlons, and have a crack at Ironman racing where he left off with an attempt to qualify for Ironman Hawaii, aka Kona.

Not withstanding what a disruption and media storm that would create, irrespective of his result, even if he finished out of the top-10 it would deprive the winner, and the podium finishers of their moment of glory, they'll become also-rans in another Lance show. Ultimately though, even if he was given one of the "celebrity" slots, if he is able to race again in anything, even age group triathlon or running, how is that fair to his peers?

A man who benefited physically from a decade or more of drug use, through which he was able to buy the best medical and training advice, would be allowed to compete again against guys who've had real jobs, struggled to find time to train, and raced when they could rather than when they wanted, now have to compete on an even ground with Lance. What do people think letting Lance off his lifetime ban would let him do that is anyway useful?

If he wants to comeback to competitive racing, let him start volunteering, show up at races at 4am to park cars, work with kids to get them into sports and tell them all the mistakes he made, become an ambassador, help organize local races, sit through endless meetings to get permits, in fact all the things he never did on his way up, because his success by breaking the rules afforded him the ability to bypass them.

Lances' time as a competitor has come, and gone. If Lance 2.0 wants to race again my advice is to re-invent yourself as a grass roots activist and work his way back.
There are guys out there with twice as much talent as Lance who never got a chance. There are guys with half the talent out there winning races. Really, that is just a guess but I am probably right.

The people who think Lance should be allowed to race are the ones who race because they love to do it and they think he is the same as them. The people who think he shouldn't be able to race are either overly innocent and think sports aren't full of cheaters or they think that race results matter and define your identity. These are the ones who would probably cheat and say they can't let Lance race because he is a cheater.

If I was the best triathlete in the world. I would want race want to race Lance. The only way you really win is if you do it cleanly. I would under no circumstances cheat. I don't think you should even cheat if it is within the rules.

I think Lance may want to race because it is his identity, it is what he knows and what he knows how to do. It has been his life for a long time.

If Lance got back into racing because he wants to do it for the pure enjoyment of competition and sports without cheating it would probably be good for him and for the sport.

Sports and cancer made Lance a hero. It made cycling boom. Then it made him a villain and made cycling a PR disaster. It would be nice if he could use sports to just be a human being doing something just because he wants to like most of the people out there who spend their money and time on it just because it is what they want to. The athletes that are worried about Lance taking all the attention are the ones who are probably bad. Pro triathletes should be happy to have Lance take all the attention. Then they can focus on racing while Lance can have to deal with being the center of a circus.

I read that Eddy Merckx used to race so the race would get more attention so the promoters could offer more prize money and the other races could get the chance to make more.

Lance should be paid to race and he should insist on higher prize money for the field. He should race clean and be voluntarily drug tested. Other pros should embrace this as it will help them earn a living.

The other option would be to just allow Lance to fade into the background, pay his own way and be just another guy who races triathlons. It depends on whether he is still a draw or not.

If Lance trains and races like a pro, he should be treated like one. If he trains and races like a middle aged warrior he should be treated like one.

Either way some sort of Lance redemption would be good for whatever sport he chooses. Depending on how he does it, it may or may not be good for Lance. That is important too despite whatever he has done to people. Really, the taking drugs isn't the worst part. What he did to people and people's lives is what people should be angry about. Yeah, I read a book about that too. Really, though we don't know the whole story and what is true. He probably did some bad things that he should feel a lot of regret about.

Another good scenario would be Lance is allowed to race and no one cares.

Thanks anonymous for your detailed response.

You are likely right, the people that want to see Lance race again are the people who'v e never had to train and race as a professional putting it all out there time and time again, being pipped for most part a few hundred dollars here and there. Many of the races pay little more for prize money than travel and hotel costs, why should Lance with his wealth, won through cheating, be able to take that away from them?

I just don't get it... let him race in the 50-54 age group, when he's that age, maybe.