by Jim Harris
On Oct. 22 Lance Armstrong, by far the world’s best-known and most successful professional road racing cyclist, was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned from cycling by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), cycling’s international governing body. When I heard this, I was very surprised. Cycling has an international governing body? Really? Who’s on it, Pee Wee Herman? Bart Simpson? More importantly, are they hiring? Because there are a lot of people out there, including me, who could use a high-paying job determining acceptable standards for bicycle horns.
Anyway, UCI’s decision was based on a report from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (another indispensable organization) that alleged Armstrong used banned substances and techniques to enhance his racing performance.
The list of cheating techniques he used included organ transplants, voodoo, cloning, doppelgangers, selling his soul to the devil and human sacrifice. Armstrong’s entire team has also been implicated, including his barber, publicist, guru, accountant and proctologist. (Those bicycle seats are hard.)
Besides being banned from cycling, Armstrong has been prohibited from wearing Spandex, even as underwear, for life, forbidden from ever competing on “Dancing with the Stars” and stripped of his membership in Netflix.
Perhaps most tragically, his cat has filed for divorce, and his dog has obtained a restraining order. He is also being sued by the U.S. Postal Service, who sponsored his racing team. According to the Postmaster General, “Like we didn’t have enough problems already!”
The U.S. Justice Department has reported that Armstrong is also being investigated on charges relating to transporting endangered wombats across state lines and selling nuclear weapons to Iran. As of this writing, scientists are exploring the possibility that he is also responsible for the hole in the ozone layer, global warming (Democrats in the Justice Department actually believe there is such a thing) and the worldwide economic collapse. In a related development, those yellow “Livestrong” wristbands that Armstrong inspired are being recalled because they were found to contain toxic materials.
Suspicion that Lance Armstrong was cheating began when it was noticed that he was consistently finishing the Tour de France, which normally takes 23 days, in just under an hour. Finally, one of his teammates, Sprocket Smith, stepped forward and said that he had personally seen Armstrong ingest a case of Mountain Dew, 12 gallons of coffee and 33 cans of Red Bull right before a race. “He would have finished the race even sooner,” said Smith, “except that he kept having to stop every 5 minutes to go to the bathroom.”
Armstrong’s banishment from cycling has been the cause of great celebration all over the world. In Paris they held a white-tie gala at which replicas of Armstrong’s Tour de France trophies were guillotined and tossed into the Seine River. According to Paris Mayor Bertrand Bonjour Napoleon, “It was more fun than a Jerry Lewis movie.”
At a party in Mexico City, kids smashed Lance Armstrong piñatas, and in towns all across the Middle East, the ex-cyclist (and his bike) were burned in effigy and trampled underfoot. “Everyone’s having a real good time,” said one reveler. “We’re always looking for new infidels to trash.”
Here in Armstrong’s home country, the reaction to the cheating revelations has been harsh. In a recent poll, he edged out Satan as the poster boy for evil. Parents are telling their children “If you don’t eat your vegetables, Lance Armstrong will get you,” and for their part, the kids are telling their teachers, “Lance Armstrong ate my homework.”
It seems like the only people in America who still believe in Armstrong’s innocence are Pete Rose, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and a handful of hard-core bike-racing enthusiasts. Interviewed in his cave at an undisclosed location yesterday, Armstrong said, “If I can’t race bicycles anymore, I’ll probably have to take up something less important than professional sports, like brain surgery.”