Lance Armstrong has been a participant, and he won in 2009 — kick starting Nevada City’s bid for the Amgen bike race and all the fame that goes with it. (We watched Lance win the Classic in 2009.) “I love it there,” he has said about the historic foothills town.
And at least for now, he’s going to retain his 2009 Nevada City Classic title — despite a well-publicized doping admission with Oprah last week, along with being stripped of seven Tour de France titles and a bronze medal from the 2000 Olympics. Here’s why:
“I told USADA we would not be stripping Lance of his 2009 Nevada City Classic results title, until we were shown ‘proof’ that he had (or most likely had) used PED’s (performance enhancing drugs) just prior to and/or during the Nevada City Classic event – which to date has not been provided,” Race Coordinator Duane Strawser said in an email to me this week. “We haven’t even received a return phone call on this question – despite 1,000’s of pages of documentation on the Armstrong topic.”
“Last week on Oprah, Lance claimed to be ‘clean’ during his comeback (2009/2010), and since the interview several top professional racers have made statements that Lance was ‘clean’ during his comeback (which coincides with the Nevada City Classic) – many of them being racers who don’t like Lance personally,” Duane continued.
“I personally have issues with doping, as Lance placed ahead of me in the 1991 NC Classic, so who knows how I would have done (or the other clean riders) if all of us racers had been on a level playing field over our careers?
“At this point,” however, “we won’t be removing Lance’s name from the winner’s position on the 2009 Nevada City Classic’s results list.”
(Strawser first fielded some queries about this issue after Armstrong was stripped of the seven Tour de France titles last fall, he told me. He response to me came after the Oprah interview, where Armstrong said: “I viewed this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times.”).
Armstrong’s win in the 2009 Nevada City Classic was the first victory of his comeback as it came before his return to the Tour de France. (Armstrong also raced in the Nevada City Classic in 1991).
After winning the Nevada City Classic bike race, Armstrong posted a message from his Twitter account: “Thank again Nevada City. You guys seriously rock. That race deserves to be around forever.”
Armstrong’s win also came before Nevada City was named a host city for the Amgen Tour of California in 2010, where he raced again. “I love it there. Starting the Amgen Tour of Cali there tho,” he responded on Twitter about Nevada City.
“I’ll leave it up to the public to decide on his legacy and fate, but since he tested ‘clean’ after winning the NC Classic, for now that result will stand until I’m told otherwise by USA Cycling and/or facts are presented showing Lance did in fact dope during his comeback of ‘09/’10,” Strawser concluded.
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