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August 24, 2012 05:52 PM

KELOLAND Cyclists React To Fall Of Armstrong

sioux falls, sd

Just two years ago, world-renowned cyclists Lance Armstrong received a hero's welcome in Sioux Falls. 

Hundreds of cyclists lined the city's streets for a chance to ride a along with the Tour de France champion and testicular cancer survivor.

"It's always been the biggest support group that I've had," Lance Armstrong said on October 29, 2010.  "And I always talk about how we have nine guys who do the Tour de France, that's your team. But, the extended team that I've been lucky to have with survivors and the passion they carry, it's an unfair advantage."

But now, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency says Armstrong really did have an advantage through performance enhancing drugs.

"It's not going to keep people from biking.  It's not going to keep people from appreciating the support he's given for cycling and for cancer survivors," Chad Pickard said.

Pickard is the owner of Spoke-N-Sport in Sioux Falls and says despite recent problems, you can't overlook the enthusiasm Armstrong has created for his causes and the sport.

But at least one Sioux Falls cyclist says he is glad that Armstrong was accused of doping and it has had serious consequences.

"It shows that it is possible for a clean sport to exist and there are people willing to protect that," Peter Oien said.

Oien doesn't just help fit customers on bikes, he also races.  He was inspired to get into the sport partly by Armstrong.

“I think it's fantastic.  As a person coming up in bike racing, setting an example that the largest cyclist in the history of cycling can be caught and prosecuted for doping is fantastic," Oien said.

Now, the entire cycling community wonders what is next, now that the once mighty Armstrong has fallen based on accusations.

"The only person that knows if he is guilty is really himself.  You look long enough and hard enough, you'll find something on everybody," Pickard said.

Spoke-N-Sport is sponsoring a race event this weekend in the Canton area.  Numbers of entrants in races like that have been on the rise in recent years despite the ongoing Armstrong doping saga.

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