AUSTIN, Tex. (CAP) - Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has admitted in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that he used training wheels on his bicycle to help him win five of his seven Tour de France championships.
Winfrey said when she first lined up the interview, she knew Armstrong planned to admit to cheating, but she assumed he was referring to doping. And while she was right, "we had no idea about the training wheels."
"It felt like a slap in the face" Winfrey told CAP News. "I mean, take all the pills and injections you want, but when you go around popping training wheels onto your bike, you're really not competing on a level playing field."
Armstrong then broke down how he worked with optical physicists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop a "cloaking" device that masked the appearance of the training wheels, making them impossible to detect with the human eye.
"The science behind this technology is staggering," said Professor Lloyd Kelly from California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo. "In fact, records show that while Armstrong was raising $100 million for his charity, LiveStrong, he spent $2.2 billion developing this cloaking technology for his training wheels."
Cycling experts confirm that the use of training wheels likely gave Armstrong more of a boost than any doping he might have undertaken.
"The advantage with training wheels is that they give you that extra balance that is so crucial when you're slogging up those grueling hills," said three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond. "We've all been tempted to use them - I just can't believe this toolbag was the one to figure out how to do it."
Pat McQuaid, President of the International Cycling Union, confirmed that the use of training wheels is in fact against the rules. "The union regulations clearly state, in Article 19, Section 7, Sub-Section 2.2.9: Cycles shall be void of any and all handlebar tassels, training wheels, honky horns, or baseball cards in their spokes.
"As far as we're concerned, Lance Armstrong can rot in hell," he added.
Though Armstrong may never live down the disgrace of this admission, sales of adult training wheels have skyrocketed since his Oprah interview.
"I was never as good at riding a bike as I thought I should be, but now that I know they make these things for people my size, it's going to be nothing but smooth sailing," said Jennifer Youins, who bought a set of adult training wheels at the Wal-Mart in Iowa City. "Tour de Iowa, here I come!"
- CAP News Staff