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And Another Thing

File | Associated Press

Lance waves the white flag

There are days you never think will ever come. This is one of them.

Stunning news out of the world of cycling, this business about Lance Armstrong saying he'll no longer fight the persistent doping charges that have dogged him for over a decade now. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency immediately said it would move to strip him of his seven Tour de France titles, as has been the policy with every Tour winner found to have doped.

Doubtless this was precipitated by Armstrong's lawsuit against the USADA getting thrown out by a federal judge in Texas recently, a clear indication that his continual claims of innocence no longer held any credence. And, really, if you still believe Armstrong wasn't doping, you also believe in the Easter Bunny.

Virtually everyone around him on his own team was, after all. And Armstrong's doctor was hip-deep in the doping scene. And while you can play the Jealous Teammate card when it's one teammate who testifies against you, it's pretty hard to do that when as many 10 are saying you resorted to the syringe along with everyone else.

So ... he's likely to lose his seven titles. What he won't lose, and what they can't strip from him, is that he was unquestionably the dominant Tour rider of his generation, needles or no needles. The one thing that rescues his legacy, oddly enough, is the fact he was competing in a sport that was so dirty it actually legitimized his achievements rather than invalidated them. If everyone's a fraud, after all, no one is.

And so, seven titles or no seven titles, Lance Armstrong is still Lance Armstrong. The best.

Ben Smith's blog.