Plano native Lance Armstrong has unwavering support back home

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by TED MADDEN

WFAA

Posted on October 17, 2012 at 7:25 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 17 at 7:24 PM

RICHARDSON — While the rest of the country and the world reacts to the mounting evidence that Lance Armstrong cheated while winning seven Tour de France titles, the Plano native will always have support at home.

Richardson Bike Mart has had a relationship with Armstrong for more than 20 years, and still proudly displays his memorabilia.

"He's like family," said Woody Smith, general manager at the store. "We have to stand by him. Lance has done a lot of good things for the sport — some wonderful things for our business, a ton for cancer above and beyond all that. At the end of the day, that's what it's all about."

Wednesday was a bad day for Armstrong. In an effort to protect his Livestrong charity from the controversy surrounding him, Armstrong stepped down as chairman.

Nike then announced it was dropping him as a spokesman, saying it was "...due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence that Lance Armstrong participated in doping and misled Nike for more than a decade."

Craig Miller from SportsRadio 1310 The Ticket actually competed in amateur races with Armstrong back in the 1980s. Miller believes 100 percent that Armstrong doped.

"A lot of people — including Lance — will point to the fact that he never failed a drug test," Miller said. "But as one of his teammates said, 'That was like playing hide-and-seek in a giant forest with a million places to hide.'"

Jeff Godsey is a former pro cyclist who knows that while Armstrong's legacy is damaged, and he did cheat, that doesn't necessarily mean he wasn't the best cyclist in the world.

"If we're talking about performance-enhancing substances, that's not a shortcut," Godsey said. "People need to understand, that's not a shortcut... it's an added value."

What Godsey worries about is how the controversy surrounding the sport's biggest name will affect the sport he loves.

"It's going to make it increasingly more difficult for teams and owners of teams to find sponsors that want to invest in cycling," he said.

It will be a long time before all the collateral damage is added up and we see what legacy Lance Armstrong ultimately leaves.

E-mail tmadden@wfaa.com

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