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Active Expert: Bruce Hildenbrand

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Lemond and Aaron

Posted by Bruce Hildenbrand Oct 20, 2008

My buddy Chris Soden owns and manages Pro Peloton, one of the coolest bike shops in Boulder. Last week, we were talking about Greg Lemond's recent appearance at Lance Armstrong's Interbike press conference. Chris, who is also a pretty wise dude as well, wondered why Greg couldn't behave like Hammering Henry Aaron when Barry Bonds was closing in on Hank's home run record.

 

Unlike Lance Armstrong, who never tested positive for any performance enhancing drugs(PEDs), it is pretty clear that Barry Bonds used steroids for at least several years during his career. And, it is pretty clear that steroids were the drug of choice for the home run hitters in the major league. Given that information there was more than enough reason for Aaron to be upset at baseball's most important record being broken by Bonds.

 

We will never know how Aaron felt inside, but we do know how he responded publicly.  When Barry hit #756 that summer evening in San Francisco, the scoreboard played a video message from Hammering Hank congratulating Barry on his accomplishment. Aaron was gracious in his praise, a true gentleman. There was no hint of negative feelings toward Barry.

 

It may be argued that Barry and Hank are from different generations and baseball has changed since Aaron set his record way back in the 70's. It also may be argued that Aaron was doing baseball a disservice by not publicly calling out the cheating in the sport and potentially helping baseball clean up its act.

 

Should Greg have followed Aaron's lead and been gracious about Lance breaking his cycling records? Riders such as 5-time Tour winner Miguel Indurain and arguably the world's greatest cyclist, Eddy Merckx, praised Armstrong when he broke their records.  Is there a better way for Greg to accomplish his agenda rather than making direct attacks on Armstrong?

 

We all do what we feel we need to do and Greg feels the need to hound Armstrong and hammer his agenda whenever possible. I said this in my blog from the 2007 Tour that I would really like to know and understand Greg's motives for his behavoir toward Lance. I don't think he has ever really answered that question point blank which is too bad. Until then, we can only speculate and until we really know, our understanding of the situation is lacking.

 

Bruce

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