Fuck Yellow Wristbands
It was controversial and perhaps even offensive to some when these “Fuck Yellow Wristbands” dog tags first made an appearance with a wink and nod at the Interbike trade show during the height of the Livestrong wristband craze. This isn’t pro-cancer, this is anti-Lancebrand. Perhaps it was as long ago as 2004 when the bands first hit, perhaps it was a year or two later, but while it is now clear that more or less the entire ranks of professional cycling were using performance enhancing drugs, with Lance Armstrong being the best at using and avoiding detection according to the USADA, only the most cynical, or realistic, fans were willing to point the finger at the time and accept these tags. It all seemed so obvious, far more so in hindsight. The first five time winner of the Tour de France, Jacques Anquetil, in a 1960′s era French TV interview, “Leave me in peace; everybody takes dope.” The very first winner of the Tour de France, Maurice Garin, was disqualified from the second Tour in 1904 after being caught taking a train during the grueling stage race. More than a few racers have been culled from the ranks from over-doping themselves to death. Cheating has been part of cycling since the first grand races, and part of sport since the dawn of time. Bending the rules to win is human nature, fueled on by the public deification of athletes on and off the field. Lance worked the system like no one else, a perfect combination of adversarial story, unparalleled race results, and well publicized charitable work towards cancer awareness and patient access. He was an inspiration to many, and that is not to be taken away. He also enriched himself to no end during the process, and threw everyone within reach under the bus to preserve his brand. The emperor’s new clothes are a far cry from the yellow jersey. Years later the dog tags that once brought forth groans from visitors exist in a much different context.