The One Big Thing: Time to Let Go, Lance

Ross Coleman

Lance Armstrong, the amazing seven-time Tour de France winner and cancer survivor, has been making the rounds over the past few weeks announcing his intention to come out of retirement and race once again in the 2009 Tour de France bike race.

Armstrong retired from professional racing after his 2005 victory in the Tour.
It seems that all great athletes have a problem with being able to let go. All summer the American public was barraged daily with updates on the Brett Favre saga, Favre being traded from the Green Bay Packers to the New York Jets and now this.

I am also reminded of Michael Jordan who made a “comeback” to a terrible Washington Wizards three years after he retired as a member of the three-time defending champion Chicago Bulls.

Armstrong fits that mold too. He is making his return on the professional cycling team Astana that is based in Kazakhstan, not the U.S. Postal Service team that he competed with on during his record-breaking seven-year winning streak.

That’s not all. Current Astana team leader Alberto Contador, who Armstrong has called “the best rider on the planet right now,” stated publicly that should Armstrong join Astana, Contador would leave the team and look to race elsewhere.

Lance claims that his goal in making this comeback is to promote cancer research. While that is a noble cause, Lance could just as easily promote research without sullying his legacy. He has been doing a great job of raising money for cancer research since he successfully fought off testicular cancer in 1996.

The Lance Armstrong Foundation has raised millions of dollars for cancer research due in large part to the LiveStrong bracelets worn by millions of people around the world. But why make this comeback now?

This is starting to get sad. When are we going to be able to show these Farves and Armstrongs that they are past their prime and need to hang it up?

Look Lance, I respect everything that you have done in your cycling career, but this is one thing that I can’t get behind you on. Why now? You retired as the most decorated cyclist in American history; if you come out now and lose it will only stain your legacy.