The Plediadian said:
One of the interesting things about the opinion of people in the clinic is the generally upbeat and positive kudos laid upon him by the posters, here in the clinic as opposed to the blatant harshness bestowed upon Armstrong.
Their upbringing was similar family wise, and they were early achievers in their sports.
I wonder why Lance was trashed here for steroid use, as a 15 year old, by the clinic posters, and yet nothing has ever been said about the practices of doping, upon young athletes in East Germany,(Jan) or Vinoqurov in the Soviet Union.
Did Lance dope as a teen, Vino dope as a teen, or Jan dope as a teen.
Did they have a choice. As for Jan and Vino, as adults they did it as choice.
Armstrong never doped, as a choice.
I would think someone who cannot see the differences between Armstrong and Ullrich in terms of what they done is deliberately being obtuse.
Ullrich enter the pro ranks at the height of the EPO era, finished 2nd in his first Tour at age 22 and never really got of the carousel until 2006. He was at the top from the beginning, what choice did he have at any point if he wanted to stay there. Its always more difficult to see things when you never leave the bubble.
Armstrong was of course on the same carousel but his cancer took him out of the sport for almost 2 years. He almost died from a terrible disease, he had plenty of time to re-assess his life and ponder on what his future held.
Knowing that he was lucky to escape with his life and knowing what was involved with returning to pro cycling, surely the logical decision would have been to walk away from the sport. He had made decent money as a pro plus his insurance and he had the foundation to work with. He could have gone into management, coaching or anything.
Instead he chose to return to the sport and not just return to the sport but decided to focus on the most prestigious and toughest event in cycling, again knowing exactly what was entailed, the big doping program, answering the inevitable questions and lying to the people he claimed to represent.
If Armstrong had come back and even achieved the results he got in mid 98 or raced in the US, he could have carved out a decent career for himself making decent money without having to get on the big doping carousel again. It might have been less ego-fulfilling but it would have been more honest. His comeback in 98 was lauded and admired before he ever won a single Tour, maybe not in the minds of the general public but within the cycling community.
If Lance had never been out of the sport and never suffered from cancer, I could understand his decisions more rationally. I dont know how he arrived at his decision to do what he done but at some point, he must have known he would have to explain how a previouly mediocre Tour rider suddenly became the best after cancer. I think at some point they realised that the cancer would give him the required leverage to follow his ego and thats what I would see as the big difference between Ullrich and Armstrong.