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Local Cycling Shop Owner Weighs in on Armstrong Controversy

Repeated press about cycling drama saps the sport, merchant says.

With cyclist Lance Armstrong back in the news on the heels of a confessional interview with Oprah, a Danbury cycling shop is sounding off on the scandal—and why it doesn't bode well for the sport.

The former seven-time Tour de France winner was embroiled in a doping controversy last year, stripped of all accolades and banned from the sport.

Still, the disgraced Armstrong perennially denied cheating, until an Oprah interview this week, slated to air this Thursday.

Leigh Sorrells, the owner of Bike Express at 52 Division St. in Danbury, says the topic is not foreign to the store's aisles of wheels, helmets and jerseys.

Sorrells said this time year, with chilly weather and most streets coated in a sheet of slush, it's mainly veteran cyclists who drop by the store—and so talk is likely to turn to Armstrong.

"We've had a few people asking," he said. But Sorrells said most of the debate is taking place online, via social media and cycling sites.

As for the chatter, and Armstrong's decision to admit his cheating, Sorrells is disillusioned.

"The question is, 'why now?'" he said. "There must have been some reason or bargaining chip."

Regardless, Sorrells says the more attention and hype paid to the controversy, the more cycling suffers.

"You're doing nothing positive [for the sport]," he said, noting the negative press makes sponsors leery. Rabobank, a Netherlands-based bank and one-time major sponsor of the sport, has pulled up stakes, Sorrells added.

"[The doping] all happened over 10 years ago," he continued. "They're chasing stuff that doesn't change tomorrow."

Nancy 1 January 17, 2013 at 08:14 PM
Is there no sport untainted.....I have lost all respect for athletics!
Nancy 1 January 17, 2013 at 08:16 PM
So many athletes in the news are druggies, thugs and abusers. Tebow is a rare exception!

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