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UF cycling vice president offers opinion on Armstrong’s Oprah appearance

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The news that came as a shock to many Americans about Lance Armstrong wasn’t a surprise to those in the cycling community. Armstrong is an American icon who was best known for his successful cycling career and overcoming health obstacles in order to compete.

His career came to an end when allegations emerged that he used performance enhancing drugs. Although this was a shocking discovery to most, UF Cycling Club Vice President Neal Shepherd said the only members of the cycling community whom the news truly affected were those few who were ignorant to the issue.

Shepherd said the real impact the controversy has had on cyclists is funding. He said the scandal has affected sponsor dollars for professional level cycling.

Cycling is funded partly by TV but mostly by jersey companies who don’t want to be associated with scandals, he said.

“This is more, I think, Lance trying to rebuild his life. He’s doing this for Lance, not really for the cycling community,” Shepherd said. “It’s sort of a harsh word, but I suppose you could call it selfish. He didn’t do it out of guilt, he did it out of necessity.”

Shepherd said since Armstrong is currently banned from participating in any athletic competition, he thinks the interview will focus more on Armstrong trying to explain his actions.

The interview with Oprah will air Thursday, January 17th on her cable network.

Alexa Volland edited this story online.

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