Et Tu, Austin? Locals Start To Doubt Lance Armstrong New allegations emerged late last week that cycling superstar Lance Armstrong used illegal performance-enhancing drugs. In Armstrong's hometown of Austin, Texas, the newest accusations are beginning to tear at his reputation as the world's most famous cyclist.
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Et Tu, Austin? Locals Start To Doubt Lance Armstrong

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Et Tu, Austin? Locals Start To Doubt Lance Armstrong

Et Tu, Austin? Locals Start To Doubt Lance Armstrong

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MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

Hamilton said he told a federal grand jury he and Armstrong both doped while riding for the U.S. Postal Team in Tour de France races. Austin, Texas, is Lance Armstrong's hometown, and as NPR's John Burnett tells us, in Austin the doping accusations are beginning to tear at his once titanic reputation.

JOHN BURNETT: And in central Austin, cyclists pedal down the Lance Armstrong Bikeway.

STEVE GODFREY: My name is Steve Godfrey. I'm an independent bicycle messenger.

BURNETT: The 39-year-old cyclist from Louisiana stops to chat on his way to a delivery and strokes his push-broom beard.

GODFREY: To me, I guess I would just say it's a difficult situation in that he's become such an iconic hero to so many people. And it's almost like a 21st- century Shakespearian tragedy, maybe, in a way.

SAM BURNS: My name is Sam Burns, and I work at the University of Texas.

BURNETT: If it turns out that Armstrong doped and lied about it, will it hurt his image in his hometown?

BURNS: I think it will somewhat. He's built up a really positive reputation, one that a lot of people respect both for his athleticism and the cause that he's taken up. And I think that it will be tarnished a bit. I think that ultimately, people will probably forgive him, given the seemingly pervasive use of this kind of stuff, and hopefully cycling will get cleaned up as a result.

BURNETT: Sports columnist Kirk Bohls writes about Armstrong's travails for the Austin American-Statesman. Bohls says, with the recent allegations, local opinions about the cycling legend may have reached a tipping point.

KIRK BOHLS: Most of the email and the response that I've received has been very negative toward Lance Armstrong. And I wonder if some of the tide may have turned against him.

BURNETT: The foundation's communications director, Katherine McLane, echoed the same line, sidestepping the chairman's deepening imbroglio.

KATHERINE MCLANE: What happens in the cycling world happens in the cycling world. We're a nonprofit organization focused on serving people who are in the fight of their lives. And that's what we do every single day. We don't allow ourselves to be distracted. We don't have that luxury.

BURNETT: John Burnett, NPR News, Austin.

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