by Chris Brewer
Greetings, all, as you might imagine, the week here at the LAF started off with a substantial bang Monday morning as word leaked out via Velonews.com that Lance was rumored to be coming back to pro cycling to take on the Tour de France for an unprecedented win #8.
If you’ve ever been around professional sports in any capacity, you know that “rumor control” is among the top ways to get news, or sometimes even create it. When I was covering the Tour back in the day, journalists would go to the start line Village to not only get coffee and baguettes, but to just listen among those gathered for what the topic of the day was. Then, around the team buses, all it took was a hint from a staff member or rider that something was up, and off you’d go to try and chase it down.
And so when this article cited several anonymous sources detailing Lance’s return, the flood gates opened. Anyone who had or wanted a connection to Lance was emailing, texting, or calling whoever they could to try and get the inside scoop. Here at the LAF it was no different, from the fine folks manning the front desk to all of the staff’s friends, family and acquaintances, everyone wanted to know: was it really true, or just a rumor?
The reality was that for all but a few staffers, no one saw this coming, nor did they have any real knowledge as to its authenticity. Our CEO, Doug Ulman, took the initiative to nip that rumor right in the bud, calling none other than Chairman of the Board, Lance Armstrong, to please come to the office and give the staff the low down. As we all mingled in the main conference room, not really sure what was going to be said, a laid back and energetic Lance strolled in. “We all have heard the rumors and most have read the article,” Doug said. “But I want you to be among the first to know what’s really going on, because this team will play a major role in the months ahead.”
And with that, Lance quickly said, “Yes, I am coming back to the sport of professional cycling and intend to win the Tour de France.” To say there was an audible hush in the room would be an understatement. But then Lance went on to detail that this was not a decision made in a vacuum. He had consulted his closest advisors, friends, and ultimately his children and their mother, and all had responded unequivocally with a hearty, “YES!” And so it begins.
But that’s not where the story ends, not by a long shot. There is another agenda here, and quite frankly it far outweighs any bike race. In the end it’s really not about the bike, because after all, a bike is just a tool. And while it will be used in part to propel one of the greatest athletes to the top of the cycling world once again, it will also be used as pulpit from which the fight against cancer will become an international issue. “I have decided to return to professional cycling in order to raise awareness of the global cancer burden,” Lance said. “It’s time to address cancer on a global level.”
So in the days and months ahead, you’re going to learn a lot about cycling and witness the second great comeback by Lance Armstrong, but even more you’re going to learn about the fight against this dreaded disease and what you can do about it. I can tell you that the staff of the LAF is as energized as their famous leader, and we’re all ready to win. There’s lots of work to be done, lots of opportunities to get involved, and we want you on our team – full gas. Thanks for checking in, lots more to come!