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Lance Armstrong. (Associated Press)<br>

Lance Armstrong. (Associated Press)

Gazzolo: Sorry Lance, it's too little and too late

Last Modified: Monday, January 14, 2013 7:19 PM

By Jim Gazzolo / American Press

Too little, too late.

Now, after all these years, Lance Armstrong is ready to speak.

Or, according to some sources, he has already spoken — we just won’t hear it until Thursday.

Two more days of waiting for the other bicycle pedal to drop.

According to sources, Armstrong will tell the world he did take performance-enhancing drugs.

In other shocking news, the run will rise tomorrow — most likely in the East.

Of course, Armstrong’s tell-all comes long after he has been cornered.

Along with the admission, we will likely get to learn how sorry he is for lying, cheating and stealing his way to championships and riches beyond his wildest dreams.

All this over riding a bike.

He began his reputation rehab tour yesterday when he apologized to his Livestrong foundation. It is the latest step in Armstrong’s attempt to make good on his past littered with scandal.

That came a few hours before he sat down with Oprah Winfrey in what was expected to be, and now according to some, was his coming-out party.

But the interview won’t be seen until Thursday.

Honestly, I have no problem with Armstrong taking whatever one takes to thin their blood and ride by bicycle through the hills of France faster than anybody else.

I am not sure there is anything in the world I could take that would make me want to even try that.

My bike riding days ended long before any real competition and with old baseball cards stuck in the spokes. I do wish I had those back for they might be worth something now.

Maybe Armstrong was riding around with a Pete Rose card and that’s why he did what he did. Rose lied about his actions until it was far too little and far too late as well.

But, this is not about what Armstrong did or did not take. I’m pretty sure all cyclists at the time were boosting their game with some type of banned substance.

And I don’t really have a problem with any pro athlete looking for the edge. It has been that way through history.

These are big boys playing for big money.

Also, Armstrong does get some brownie points for all the good he has accomplished over the years through his charities. Those he has helped will never forget him.

Now he wants our forgiveness. He will ask for it through Oprah’s camera lens. I’m sure tears will be involved — or is that, have been involved.

He may have found the only sympathetic shoulder left for him to cry on.

This is about as well-calculated a mea culpa as any in history. It makes Tiger Woods’ “I’m sorry” tour pale in comparison.

First, it was leaked he might be willing to come clean. Then, he might be willing to tell Oprah he was coming clean. Now, we find out he came clean to his own people first and then to Oprah herself.

The fact that you leaked that you are ready to come clean in the first place is all the confession I need to know that Armstrong was dirty.

At least he never wrote a book saying he didn’t take steroids, but if he did take steroids, these are the steroids he would take.

We leave those books to the great authors of the world, like O.J. Simpson.

What I really want to know is why he had to take down all those around him before admitting what everybody already was pretty sure of. This is the Pete Rose factor.

If Rose had come clean about his betting on baseball right away, I have no doubt he would be a member of the Hall of Fame today. Instead, he fought his way into baseball exile.

He sure would not have been so demonized by the baseball establishment.

Armstrong could have learned from him but didn’t. None of them have.

Instead, Armstrong followed the Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens playbook, denying all in the face of overwhelming evidence.

Now, finally, when all seems lost, Armstrong is ready to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Or so he says.

Sorry, we already know the truth and have moved on.

What is sad is the lost opportunity for Armstrong.

America is a forgiving country. Bill Clinton told us he was sorry for his sins and he was elected president — twice.

All Armstrong did originally was cheat a dirty sport. Yet he wanted so badly to be the perfect role model, that he attacked anybody and everybody who even suggested he was dirty.

Rumors of bribes and even death threats have been linked to this Tour de France scandal. Cyclists gone mad would make for an interesting video.

How a bike race ever got so important and then so out of hand is beyond belief.

And Armstrong, who won seven of those races, was at the center of all the drama. Now, he wants our forgiveness.

Too late, and we are not the ones he should apologize to anyway.

The folks that need to hear his words most are those who either backed him and were true believers or more importantly, those who he fought against.

They are the ones who need to hear the words “I’m sorry” and he should do it in person, or at least in front of a more questioning media.

Instead, Armstrong is still doing everything on his terms, making sure he is in control.

Even after Oprah and his apology to the Livestrong group, Armstrong still has more questions to answer. Tough questions. Ones that won’t be going away just because he wants them to.

This is a mess he created. He can’t clean it up in one hour on the couch with Oprah.

While it is good to finally get the truth out in the open, we will still be left to wonder two things: Why all the lies? What took so long?

I’m pretty sure once we get those answers, the mess from all this will be around still for a long time to come.

•••

Jim Gazzolo is managing sports editor. Email him at jgazzolo@americanpress.com

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