I’ve always believed Lance Armstrong and now that he’s come clean, I think he might be lying. We’re in a world of shadows here, like a good spy novel — think John le Carré — where nothing is as it seems. And as in those novels, deception is not merely a plot device but deeply, morally corrosive. I can forgive his use of performance-enhancing drugs, but the lying is much harder to pardon.
Whispers of fraud have followed the Tour de France cyclist with every extraordinary win. Armstrong flatly denied the allegations — actually, he did far more than deny. He denounced them, loudly and vociferously. He became an anti-doping crusader of sorts, speaking proudly of the 600-plus drug tests he had passed. In one extraordinary piece of hubris, in 2004 he sued a British newspaper that had printed allegations about his drug use, winning a settlement and getting an abject apology.