While Lance Armstrong was winning seven consecutive Tour de France titles, rumors of doping started to gain steam.Onondaga Cycling Club president Mike Lyon was hearing them but hoped they weren't true.
"You sit there not wanting to believe it. Because you want this guy to be clean. You know it's the American way - the strong overcome," said Lyon.
Several of Armstrong's former teammates came forward to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and talked about an elaborate conspiracy with Armstrong at the top. After hearing some of the interviews, Lyon accepted that the public face of cycling was likely a cheater.
"The preponderance of the evidence is there now," said Lyon.
On Monday, Armstrong's seven Tour de France titles were officially stripped. His bronze medal from the 2000 Olympics could be next. At the Mello Velo bike shop in Syracuse, Armstrong's legacy was the topic of discussion on Monday morning. While his cycling legacy is unquestionably tarnished, Steven Morris said he hoped people would remember Armstrong's work to help others. Armstrong's Livestrong foundation raised close to $500 million for cancer research. -- both the good and bad -- was discussed. "I think there's going to be staying power for sure and we were reading earlier that a lot of people showed up for the Livestrong rides so I don't think it's going to destroy all the work he's accomplished," said Morris.
Armstrong has denied ever using performance enhancing drugs, but decided to stop appealing the charges against him.
Ultimately, Mike Lyon says Armstrong's story may be a cautionary tale and that cycling's already vigorous testing will expand - including here in Central New York.
"Once it starts filtering down into the amateurs - which it's going to - the testing is going to start because that's where the pros come from," said Lyon.
Lance Armstrong's trouble may not be over. Cycling's governing body is considering going after the millions of dollars he won in prize money.