On Wednesday, Piers Morgan used his "Only in America" segment to tell the tale of Lance Armstrong, a man once regarded as the premier cyclist in the world, arguably the greatest ever at his specific sporting craft. And then, the wheels fell off.
"A seven-time Tour de France-winning, cancer-surviving icon renowned for his unbelievable talent, determination, resilience and courage," said Morgan, describing Armstrong. "There was just one problem. The real reason it was all so unbelievable is that he cheated."
With Nike determining they could no longer "Just Do It" with the 41-year-old Texan, this week saw him lose his longtime and most-fruitful sponsor, as the creators of the famed Swoosh said:
"Due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence that Lance Armstrong participated in doping and misled Nike for more than a decade, it is with great sadness that we have terminated our contract with him."
In the eyes of the "Piers Morgan Tonight" host, the parting of ways was more than justified:
"Armstrong was a disgraceful fraud of epic proportions," he insisted.
As details of Armstrong's behavior continue to emerge, the picture presented is hardly the image he had so tirelessly worked to create:
"A man who juiced himself with illegal drugs, then bullied his teammates to do the same to ensure they could help him win big events," is what Morgan thinks of the man who won every Tour de France from 1999 through 2005.
The phrase "It's Not About the Bike" became Armstrong's personal credo, and ultimately, the title for one of his books.
The host found it to be ironically accurate:
"He was right – it was about the amount of doped blood he juiced into himself."
With the same conviction and determination that he used to climb the Tour's mountain stages, Armstrong steadfastly denied all allegations of his drug use, insisting it was the work of those jealous of his success, and looking to destroy his "extraordinarily lucrative global brand."
He attacked the press as they attempted to out him, and with a bank account large enough to back him, he sicked high-priced attorneys on his detractors.
Eventually, though, one of the most relentless workers in sports history eventually became too tired to keep fighting:
"Now, thanks to a damning report from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, containing the withering evidence of more than two dozen witnesses prepared to testify against him, the truth about Lance Armstrong is finally out: He masterminded the greatest drug scandal in sports history."
The king of the yellow jersey has also stepped down from his throne atop Livestrong, the organization he created help fight cancer, a disease he himself successfully battled.
But even as the evidence pours in, and his supporters jump ship, Armstrong refuses to come down from his pedestal, refuses to dismount his bike:
"Still he stubbornly refused to admit his guilt, or say sorry," reported the host. "There's just one person left in the world who still thinks Lance Armstrong is innocent. And that's Lance Armstrong."
"Only in America," declared Morgan, could a man refuse to see the finish line, deny culpability, and appear so unwilling to accept that he'll never be able to ride off into the Texas sunset:
"The game's up Lance, the race is over. You cheated us all, shame on you."
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