FROM THE STANDS: Lance Armstrong Has Taken The Shine Off The Sport Of Cycling

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FROM THE STANDS: Lance Armstrong has taken the shine off the sport of cycling
By [/home/search.html?s=&authornamef=Qaiser+Mohammad+Ali Qaiser Mohammad Ali]
Published: 21:22 BST, 21 January 2013 | Updated: 00:29 BST, 22 January 2013
[ ] [ ] [ ] </a> [/indiahome/indianews/article-2265968/Lance-Armstrong-taking-shine-sport-cycling.html#comments
Disgraced cycling ace Lance Armstrong has drawn strong, extreme and varied retractions from all after he admitted to doping.

Many well-known Indian sportspersons, including ace double trap shooter Ronjan Sodhi, Yuvraj Singh and former Test batsman Aakash Chopra, have been staunch fans of the American for what he achieved despite being afflicted by cancer.

Their respect for Armstrong, who won seven Tour de France titles, increased particularly after they read his life story It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life, an autobiography written with sports writer and columnist Sally Jenkins and published in 2000.
Many Indian sportspeople have been unable to accept that disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong was telling the truth in his televised confession

The book became immensely popular and was an inspiration for many sportspersons, especially those who were either trying to make a mark or were struggling in their fields.

After the publication of the autobiography, Armstrong came out with another book, titled Every Second Counts, again with Sally Jenkins. But the first one was the bestseller by a mile.

"Armstrong was a big inspiration for all of us. I became his fan after reading It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life. He was a legend for me and would still be for a lot of people, as would be the likes of Michael Schumacher and Sachin Tenduklar," Sodhi, a former world No 1 told Mail Today.

"So, you still think, it's [his confession to doping] not true."

Sodhi also joined millions of Armstrong fans who bought the now-famous Live Strong wrist band, the income from which went to the cyclist's charity.

"It was either in 2004 or 2005 that I bought the popular yellow band abroad for either 10 or 12 Euro. It was a rage in those days," he said.

"I was a struggling shooter at the time, and I found the book really inspirational and moving, as shooting is a mental sport. But I won't say that I won medals because of the book."
Lance Armstrong's autobiography became immensely popular and was an inspiration for many sports men and women

Chopra, the cricketer-turned writer who is also a bookworm, has read both books and;u=2658 was more impressed with the first one.

"I found it so interesting that I bought a few copies and presented to some of my friends. I also presented a copy to a person who had an open heart surgery," he revealed.

"Armstrong's fight with cancer was very inspirational; it's the story of a fellow sportsperson. I was moved after reading that."

Former Ranji Trophy- winning Mumbai captain Amol Muzumdar, who holds the world record of making the highest score of 260 on his first-class debut (260 against Haryana in 1993), still can't believe that Armstrong has admitted that all these years he had been doping on way to winning titles.

"I was really shocked at what was revealed. I am still in a dilemma; I just hope it's not true," Muzumdar, who read the first book in 2006, told Mail Today.

"You liked your hero who had undergone so many hardships, including chemotherapy. He has had some tough times."

All three agree that despite Armstrong's confession, not everything that he achieved can be taken away, especially when it is said that many athletes take performance-enhancing drugs and camouflage it with masking agents.

"You can't take his hard work away from him. And it takes a lot of guts to come out with something like that," Sodhi said.

"A lot of people take drugs but not all reach the top. I don't see many people admitting it. We should give credit to him," he added.

Muzumdar says his respect for Armstrong has gone down only 20 per cent.

"I still feel he is a superstar. He's given cycling a lot and a lot of people started watching cycling because of him," said the batsman who has now turned to television commentary.

  It has been a dream season for the Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA).

Its bright stars Cheteshwar Pujara and Ravindra Jadeja are performing well for the national team and the SCA, it built a magnificent stadium in Khandheri (Rajkot), hosted its first One-day International there on January 11, and a few days later entered the Ranji Trophy final after 75 years.

  Hushing up a Kotla shenanigan MS Dhoni at the Kotla Stadium

A match at the Ferozeshah Kotla is always eventful.

So, if you assumed that the recent India-Pakistan ODI held there was controversy-free, here's a story that was hushed up and buried quickly.

A member of the DDCA who was at the Kotla during the January 6 match reportedly found his way into the Pakistani team's dressing, much against the strict rules of the ICC.

Even the ICC Anti-Corruption and Security sleuths, somehow could not see Bal Gopal (name changed) slipping into the Pakistan dressing room at the end of the first innings.

"After the first innings was completed he accompanied the Pakistani players as they walked back to their dressing room.

"He was talking to the players and continued to walk and climb stairs with them, and eventually entered the dressing room," said someone who's aware of the incident.

"Close circuit cameras were in place just outside the dressing rooms and the ACSU sleuths kept a close watch on the live footage...but they missed him entering the dressing room.

When the incident came to light, it was quickly hushed up."