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Locals React to Lance Armstrong Doping Admission

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The Lance Armstrong interview is definitely drawing attention from those in the cycling community, including right here in the Biggest Little City.

The Tour de Nez is northern Nevada's annual bike race that's been going on since 1992.

Tim Healion is the race's executive director and has been involved with bike racing for more than three decades.

"Bike racing is such a cool sport," Healion said. "I think it's, flat-out, the hardest endurance sport there is."

Healion's office is decorated in cycling memorabilia, including Lance Armstrong.

"I've got my little hat that's got Lance Armstrong's autograph," Healion said. "This was right before he got cancer."

Healion says he is intrigued by what Armstrong will say in his interview with Oprah Winfrey, but he doesn't expect a full admission of doping and the details behind it.

"It's so deep and it's so dark and it's so ugly that there's no way Lance will let go of all that," Healion said. "It's organized crime. It's like the mob."

After years of denying doping allegations, Armstrong's reputation is a far cry from what it once was, when he was winning some of cycling's toughest races.

"Having been in the sport the whole time Lance was participating in the sport, there was a lot of flags that came up over the years where he just wasn't a nice guy but a brilliant athlete," Healion said.

In August, Armstrong was banned from cycling for life and stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.

"It's just super sad," Healion said. "There's no argument that he was the best and I don't think any of the guys that were racing with him in those Tour de Frances would argue that he beat him."

"It's too bad everybody was doing those drugs because he probably would've won it anyway," Healion said.

Healion says Lance Armstrong's career helped elevate the sport's popularity in America.

That popularity may have also helped the Tour de Nez grow.

Healion says the local race is on the cusp of becoming a big deal in the racing world.

"We're working with the Nevada Commission of Tourism now to make it a statewide race and build a higher profile, start bringing in more teams from out of the country," Healion said.

This summer marks the 21st year of the Tour de Nez.

The four-day race starts July 25th, covering Carson City, Lake Tahoe, Virginia City, and Reno.

Written by Paul Nelson
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