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Faded From Memory

One of the strangest phenomena is how the doping scandals have reduced some of the giants of the sport to ants. Today Roberto Heras retired. Now, it was kind of a foregone conclusion that he wasn't going to resume his former stature, and in fact he wasn't likely to ever race in the big show again. But the notice comes on a slow day, doesn't rate top billing in the CN notes, and basically creates barely a ripple on the landscape. In other words, we already left him for dead. Yet this guy was THE Spanish champion of the last decade. His exploits were legend: four Vuelta wins set a new record until the last was yanked from him. Epic stage wins on the Angliru and seven other Spanish peaks. Legendary team play in the service of Lance. In fact, in a roundabout way he's the reason this blog exists: his 2003 win drew attention on the Daily Kos big board, which clued me into the fact that I wasn't the only blogger who cared about cycling.

We all know doping can elevate careers from nowhere, but I think the downfall is even faster.