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Armstrong Admission Won't Hurt Cycling, Local Merchant Says

What do you think of Lance Armstrong's doping admission?


While the media has been abuzz all week with anticipation about cyclist Lance Armstrong's doping admission, at Pelham Bicycle Center the reaction Thursday afternoon was decidedly low-key.

"What Lance Armstrong did, it won't hurt the sport," said Pelham Bicycle Center manager Pedro Sanchez.

The interview, which Armstrong taped with Oprah Winfrey earlier this week, will be broadcast tonight and Friday.

Armstrong reportedly admits to using performance enhancing drugs, allegations he denied throughout his more than decade-long cycling career.

Armstrong's accomplishments included 7 Tour De France victories and a bronze Olympic medal. All those honors have been stripped from him and he has also resigned from his own foundation- LIVESTRONG- which supports cancer survivors.

At Pelham Bicycle Center, Sanchez said he thought Armstrong's entire career has been a mixed bag for the sport. While Armstrong is arguably the world's most famous cyclist, his celebrity hasn't necessarily influenced the sport as strongly or positively as one might think.

And Sanchez saw at least one negative impact Armstrong's celebrity had on the sport...

"When I started cycling, it was easy to get a bike and get started," said Sanchez. A starter bicycle might be found for $200 to $500, he remembers.

But as more attention focused on Armstrong as a celebrity, Sanchez says he also noticed the price of equipment and accesibility grow to match.

Sanchez pointed out a LIVESTRONG special edition bicycle priced at $8,000. Part of the bicycle's pricetag is donated to Armstong's cancer foundation, but much of that cost reflects Armstrong's endorsement power.

Now only time will tell whether consumers will be disillusioned enough by Armstrong's admission to drive down the price of equipment like the LIVESTRONG-branded merchandise.

Sanchez said he thought Armstrong's doping admission would bring short-term attention to the celebrity but not long-term harm to cycling. 

"It all depends on how you look at it," said Sanchez. "It's all about the publicity to the sport."

What do you think? Will Armstrong's admission have a negative impact on the sport of cycling? What about the business of cycling?


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