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Southeast Texans react to Lance Armstong confession

BEAUMONT - By Megan Dillard - After a decade of denials, cyclist legend Lance Armstrong has confessed to using performance-enhancing drugs.

Cancer. Livestrong. Cycling.

These are some of the answers we got when we asked people what came to mind with the name Lance Armstrong.

The 41-year-old cyclist has won more titles in the sport than anyone else on two wheels.

He admitted during an interview with Oprah Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs while winning seven Tour de France titles. Armstrong was stripped of those titles when the US Anti Doping Agency released a report built around the testimony of former teammates.

We stopped by Bicycle Sports on Interstate 10 to talk to cyclists in Southeast Texas.

One man agrees Armstrong's drug use is wrong but wants people to remember Armstrong's accomplishments.

"I have never doped. I can say it again, but I've said it for seven years, it doesn't help."

"We've got nothing to hide. We know that. Everybody knows that. We've proven time in and time out that we're clean."

"Extraordinary accusations must be followed up with extraordinary proof." Same face, same stance, same story.

Lance Armstrong is a cycling superstar.

For more than a decade, he denied allegations about performance-enhancing drug use.

Now he's changing his story.

The seven-time Tour de France winner confessed to Oprah Winfrey he did use drugs.

The news has sent some people spinning.

Eric Bender works at Bicycle Sports in Beaumont.

An Armstrong supporter, Bender says the draw to the cyclist wasn't really about the sport.

"The reason Lance Armstrong is so popular is because he almost died of cancer. He was on death's door and then he got better. Not only did he get better, but he got better and he came back and won an international bicycle race. Seven times in a row! That's crazy."
Bender doesn't condone drug use. He says for some cyclists, it's a part of growth.

"Cyclists have always embraced the latest technology. So they look outside the bicycle industry for new technology also. They're not just tweaking their bikes, they're tweaking their bodies. Is it right? No. It's not right." Regardless, Bender supports the athlete.

"Lance Armstrong is a hero to people who have had cancer or who have had someone that they love die of cancer."

Tracey Deel is trying out a new bike.
She believes doping sets a bad influence for young athletes.

"I think it's discouraging. It's not a good thing for the kids to think they can be all that and it's just not reachable unless you take drugs."
Deel still supports the fallen athlete.

"I hated that it's come to this for Lance. I wish that he would've done it on his own, but I still have enjoyed the ride."
There are also people in Southeast Texas who feel Armstrong's drug use is inexcusable.

We received these posts on our KFDM Facebook page:
Donna Kay Church wrote, "I think it is time to close the door on him. He has no respect left."

Marthalene Harris wrote, "Too little too late. Considering he lied about it for so long, maybe he fessed up because he could no longer pedal fast enough to outrun the truth. Pity poor Lance now? I don't think so."

Armstrong has lost several major sponsors.

Armstrong's interview with Oprah is scheduled to air in two parts this Thursday and Friday.Southeast Texans react to Lance Armstong confession

Wednesday, January 16 2013, 09:32 AM CST
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