9. Armstrong confesses/Operación Puerto trial
Early in 2013 saw two stories from the ghosts of doping past put cycling on the front pages for all the wrong reasons.
The first was the day that no one ever thought they’d see; Lance Armstrong confessing that he doped. The opening 20 minutes of the Oprah Winfrey interview in January were riveting. The fallout of the Armstrong scandal continues to rumble across the peloton, but his confession marked a clear breaking point from the past.
Barely a month later came the long-delayed Operación Puerto trial. Though not quite packing the punch of the well-produced Oprah-Armstrong show, the Puerto trial had its moments. Star witnesses Tyler Hamilton and Jörg Jaksche offered new, sometimes-grisly details on how blood doping truly worked. And it wasn’t pretty, or nearly as sophisticated as many were led to believe. Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes might have sold himself as a Svengali who could turn a mule into a racehorse, but he proved to be little more than charlatan with a refrigerator full of blood bags.
When Hamilton described how his urine turned black after a botched blood re-infusion, there was no doubt that cycling had reached its absolute nadir.
FILED UNDER: Commentary TAGS: Andrew Talansky / Brian Cookson / Carlos Betancur / Chris Froome / Chris Horner / Fabian Cancellara / Giro d'Italia / Lance Armstrong / Marcel Kittel / Mark Cavendish / Nairo Quintana / Operación Puerto / Peter Sagan / Rigoberto Urán / Rui Costa / Sergio Henao / Tejay Van Garderen / Tour de France / Vincenzo Nibali / Vuelta a España