One Last Stand

July 26, 2010

Yesterday ended an era.  Lance Armstrong, the 7-time champion of the Tour de France stood on the podium for one last time. The image was not nearly the same as it had been in years passed, the solitary figure, alone, wearing the Maillot Jaune (the Tour’s General Classification Champion), but it was Armstrong  surrounded by the members of his Radioshack Team each wearing  a customized black Radioshack Kit with the number 28 inscribed on the back and the name of each rider in yellow font.  This moment is the perfect finale to Lance’s career.  

Team Classification Presentation

Team Classification Presentation

 

Photo from the following link: Presentation Photo from Team Radioshack website 

Here Lance is surrounded by a team of individuals all working for the good of the whole, but at the same time working for each of the individuals within the team. The symbolism is breathtaking.  Each of these men was wearing a jersey that represented the 28 million people who are currently living with cancer. Each of those individuals fighting cancer feels isolated as they remain locked in their personal battle with cancer, but at the same time they are surrounded by a team of family members, friends, neighbors, nurses, doctors, and other medical practitioners each working for the good of the whole, but at the same time fulfilling their individual roles, similar to that of a cycling team. Each individual allows the darkness and bleakness of the disease to enter their minds at some point thinking of the grim possibilities, but their remains a light of hope in bright yellow rays that illuminates new cures, treatments, and possibilities. Therefore, the design of these kits with their black coloring and yellow lettering illustrates this concept and also, the Lance Armstrong Foundation.  

The questionable jerseys?

 

The link for the above photo: 28 Jersey Photo and article 

Team Radioshack’s finish also highlights an increase in cycling’s popularity  in the United States, as many Americans, became aware of cycling by hearing of the dominating performance of “the Boss” and his US Postal compatriots later Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team.  Now Americans are aware of names such as Levi Leipheimer, George Hincapie, David Zabriske, Chris Horner, Ivan Basso, Alberto Contador, Roberto Heras, Victor Hugo Pena, Viatcheslav Ekimov, Yaroslav Popovych, Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton.  As American’s involvement in cycling rose so too did their involvement in understanding cancer and battling it as a collective. 

Lance Armstrong may have appeared to be on  his trek as an individual champion, but in reality he led the rest of us into a deeper understanding of cycling and cancer,  both of which have the ability to reward the individual, but are based upon the combined efforts of the individual and the team that surrounds them. Therefore, the ending in Paris even though not what many (myself included) may have wanted was probably more perfectly suited to the analogy of the cycling and cancer movement. 

Side Note: Did you know that the organizers of the Tour de France fined Team Radioshack for wearing the black jerseys at the beginning of the final stage and threatened to disqualify them. The fine was approximately $6,000.  The organizers did say; however, this money would be donated to cancer research. 

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