It was pudding, this sixth Tour de France win for Lance Armstrong. Easy as a Sunday ride with your arthritic aunt. He could've won it while doing his taxes.
Except when spectators were spitting on him.
Except when they were flipping him off with both hands, cussing him, mooning him, throwing their beer and water at him, slandering his girlfriend, screaming at him, "Dop�!" (Doper) and "Trucier!" (Cheater).
In stage 16, over the most famous mountain in cycling, Alpe d'Huez, the French, Germans and Basques did all that and more, flapping flags in his face, donning grotesque animal masks and daring him to run them over, scrawling four-foot-high insults in chalk on the pavement he had to cover.
"It made me sick," said Armstrong's girl, rocker Sheryl Crow, who rode in the chase car directly behind him that day. "I wanted to jump out and spank some of these people. It was just hateful. Here is the greatest athlete of our generation competing in the hardest sporting event in the world, and they act like that?"
They do—more than ever.
In the second-to-last stage, in Besan�on last Saturday, somebody threw a handful of god-knows-what that struck Armstrong square in the face. "It tasted like grass," he said, "only grittier. I was spitting it out for miles." And it's almost funny until it hits you that the next handful could be laced with a drug that would show up nicely in a test.
Hell, yeah, this history-shredding sixth straight win was as one-sided as a speeding ticket, nothing more than a coronation in funny hats, an 18-speed SmileFest.
Except for the book that came out two weeks before the race began, L.A. Confidential: The Secrets of Lance Armstrong, which included new allegations that he was juiced in previous Tours—but no proof. Except for Greg LeMond, the only other American to win the Tour, insinuating as he has for years that Armstrong was using EPO—without proof. Except for French TV reporters allegedly trying to sneak into and search his hotel room for drugs twice while he was out there burning up their wheat fields.
Armstrong hasn't said whether he will try for seven, but you want to tell him, Quit now. Why keep grinding through the lies and drunks and Briebrains who can't appreciate the greatest champion their sport has ever known?