DAVIS (CBS13) – Lance Armstrong has actually been to the bike capital of the U.S. several times, and many of the people in Davis who have followed his career are shocked and saddened by his admission that he’s doped.
For Joe Santos, there was no bigger honor than having Armstrong walk into his Davis bike shop Wheelworks.
“He’s a cycling legend so we were all thrilled to meet him when he came in here,” Santos said Tuesday. “He’s made the sport way bigger than it ever was, at least here in the U.S, and that’s going to have a lasting impact.”
But the Lance Armstrong who visited Davis back in 2011 is a different Lance Armstrong today. After years vehemently denying illegal steroid use, the cycling star whose seven Tour de France titles have already been stripped finally came clean in an interview with Oprah.
“The answers that people all over the world have been waiting to answer, were answered,” she said Tuesday morning of her sit-down with Armstrong, which will air later this week. “He was emotional. Emotional doesn’t begin to describe the intensity or the difficulty I think he experienced.”
It was an emotional reaction for many Armstrong fans in Davis too. Some are having a hard time turning against their hero.
“He was a big hero,” Eric Sweigert. “A lot of people were pulling for him when he was racing, and obviously he was an idol to a lot of people.”
“Any controversy involving doping, or illegal drugs is bad for cycling,” Gary Brewer said.
Brewer has been cycling since the 1970s. He was also a diehard Armstrong fan. He defended the cycling star during his time living in Europe.
“All the Italians and all the French were saying, ‘He’s doping, he’s doping,’ and I vehemently fought for him,” Brewer said.
But the days of defending Armstrong are now over. While his fans are disappointed with Armstrong’s admission, they still point to the good work he’s done with his cancer charity, LiveStrong. LiveStrong has raised millions of dollars for cancer research.