RICHARDSON — At the Richardson Bike Mart, Lance Armstrong still looms large. His image and his name are everywhere.
The store has collected jerseys, a custom soda machine, and autographed pictures and sports magazine covers for years.
They go way back with Armstrong, to when he was just eight years old, said general manager Woody Smith.
"He got his first bike from us then," Smith said.
Smith watched Lance grow up... and blow up.
"I went to the 2005 Tour de France... one of Lance's last," Smith said.
When doping accusations surfaced over the years, Smith was always fast to race to Lance's defense. "It's always been frustrating, because we have always claimed his innocence," Smith said.
But in Austin Monday, Oprah Winfrey interviewed Armstrong, and Associated Press sources say Lance admitted he doped.
While some of his contemporaries (and certainly some of his endorsements) have long abandoned him, Lance Armstrong is still considered a friend at the Richardson Bike Mart, Smith said.
"My heart goes out to him. He has to be in a dark place with all this going on," Smith said.
Of course, not everyone is so sympathetic. So what to do with all those mementos on the wall at the Richardson Bike Mart?
Smith says regardless of the latest developments, the image of Lance Armstrong hasn't been tarnished here, and so it will still be proudly displayed.
"He's a homeboy. He raced for the team. He’s a friend. We still support him, his causes, and what he has done for the sport," Smith said.