I was reminded of something when I saw the photo on the cover of the book “Wheelman: Lance Armstrong, the Tour de France, and the Greatest Sports Conspiracy Ever.” It is taken from his crash at the 2010 Amgen Tour of California. The day before the crash that caused him to drop out of the race, Floyd Landis’ “leaked” email disclosed team wide doping within the Postal Team. The morning of stage 5 Armstrong stood outside the RadioShack team bus and said the now infamous phrase to the press scrum, “We like our word. We like where we stand and we like our credibility.”
Armstrong crashed later in the stage and received stitches in his elbow and cheek. However, before he climbed into the team car and abandoned Armstrong tried to continue. He had a rolling conversation with team director Johan Bruyneel on what his options were: finish the stage and evaluate the damage or quit immediately. All of this was captured by a videographer working for Bicycling Magazine. They had a cameraman in the passenger seat and he got it all. I saw the footage, just once, and it portrayed Armstrong as confused and not knowing what to do next. I don’t blame Armstrong – he’d taken a good fall to the ground and was bleeding from multiple locations. If anyone had seen the recent Frontline story “League of Denial” and knowing the damage that can be done might think the RadioShack captain had suffered a concussion.
It was posted on Bicycling Magazine’s website but soon removed. I was told by someone working for Bicycling they had removed it because they were getting heat from RadioShack. As we know, Bicycling was tight with the Armstrong camp and you can’t bite the hand that’s giving you pageviews.
So I wonder, what happened to that footage and will it ever see the light of day?
Thanks to the hive mind of Twitter (and specifically @Dimspace) the YouTube footage of that moment is posted on YouTube. It’s fascinating to watch as everyone is holding their breath trying to decide what to do and how this will affect his Tour de France preparation.