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Letter: Leave Armstrong's Tour titles alone

Lance Armstrong looks back on the podium after

Lance Armstrong looks back on the podium after the 20th and last stage of the Tour de France cycling race in Paris, France. (July 25, 2010) Credit: AP

As a competitive cyclist, triathlete and runner for more than 30 years, I have been inspired by Lance Armstrong ["Stalling of Armstrong doping case by ICU alleged," Sports, Jan. 31].

Since he now admits to using performance-enhancing drugs during his cycling career, after denying it for more than a decade, I have mixed feelings toward him. He doesn't seem to be the person I admired, and I feel disappointed, betrayed and sad. I feel I had been inspired by someone who was, in a sense, not real.

However, is it fair to strip Armstrong of his seven Tour de France victories? As he said, he filled up his water bottles, pumped up his tires and took his drugs, feeling as though that was typical of the cycling culture.

I do not want cycling fans to lose their hope and inspiration. I believe that if an athlete is not found guilty of any legal infractions by the time he is on the podium, accepting victory, there should be a ban on making charges retroactively.

If we continue the way we are going now, how far back do we go? Do we question Greg LeMond's three wins, or for that matter, the five yellow jerseys of Bernard Hinault? The controversy is causing us to question the legends we look up to in sports.

Matt Colucci, East Islip