Lance Armstrong has a special place in sporting history, for all the wrong reasons.
Once regarded as one of the greatest athletes in the modern world, his fall from grace over doping allegations mean he will be remembered as one of the all time great drug cheats.
Move over Ben Johnson and Marion Jones.
But even as this saga unfolds, Armstrong’s public image remains relatively unscathed. A recent poll in the United States indicates people still see him as a great sportsman.
Hopefully time will correct that judgement.
The doping regime which has seen some of his fellow team members, one by one, admit what they were up to is a blight on professional cycling.
How can the sport be taken seriously with so many doping cases in its ranks? They stretch over decades, involve riders of all nationalities and it seems a year can not pass without someone coming clean or getting caught. The problem persists, which means the sport is tainted.
Armstrong’s silence on the doping issue is intriguing. With his seven Tour de France titles now removed from the record books and a lifetime ban in place, he continues to say nothing.
The evidence against him, detailed in a 1000 page document released by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, is a sad story of deceit and fraud.
While the sporting world has been robbed of a champion, what is important in this case is that justice has prevailed.
It is important drug cheats in all sports, at all levels, are punished for their actions.
Sadly, the anti-doping agencies only catch a small percentage of those who compete with performance enhancing drugs on board.
The Lance Armstrong case poses a few important questions.
How good a cyclist would have Lance Armstrong been without drug assistance? The answer is probably very good. Why then the need to cheat?
But the most serious question is how many champions in international sport have won courtesy of drug enhancement and have not been caught?
How did so many cyclists at the top of the sport at an international level beat the drug testing regime for so long? And that question cannot be levelled only at cycling.
Marion Jones, the former US track sprint star, is another case in point. While she beat the tests her conscious got the better of her and she admitted her impropriety.
She at least set the record straight for the right reasons.
The fact cycling was unable to catch many of the drug cheats within its ranks poses these questions. How good are the testing procedures and how far in front of the screening protocols are the drug cheats?