On Dec. 29, the Press Herald ran a story by Los Angeles Times columnist Mike DiGiovanna titled “Unbreakable?” The piece was an end-of-year occasion “to rank the top 10 sports records that will never be broken.”

After listing his top 10, DiGiovanna appended a “Barely Missed the Cut” – or honorable mention – category, including Pete Rose’s 4,256 hits and Ricky Henderson’s 1,406 career stolen bases. Also mentioned therein were “Lance Armstrong’s seven straight Tour de France wins (1999-2005).”

It bears important mention that Armstrong, in fact, did not win these titles, and the continued belief that he did perpetuates a win-at-all-cost mentality among athletes both young and old.

As reported by The New York Times, ESPN and other media outlets, the International Cycling Union formally stripped Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles on Oct. 22, 2012.

They did so given overwhelming evidence that Armstrong used banned substances, including testosterone, erythropoietin and human growth hormone, to achieve Tour victory a record seven times.

In addressing the situation, International Cycling Union President Pat McQuaid chose not to mince words: “Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling.” Of Armstrong’s Tour victories, Tour de France Director Christian Prudhomme declared, “We wish that there is no winner for this period.… The titles should remain blank.”

Armstrong’s titles were not only stripped, but he was also “ordered to repay the winnings earned over the seven years he was accused of doping,” as reported by the UK’s Mirror.

At the very least, the public deserves to know that one of the greatest cyclists in history achieved his many milestones fueled by banned substances, plain and simple.

John Portlock

Yarmouth