interview |  Nelson Paulis: "Armstrong did terrible things, but I don't think I would have been a cyclist without him"

interview | Nelson Paulis: “Armstrong did terrible things, but I don’t think I would have been a cyclist without him”

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    Nelson Paulis


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For Wieler Revue Tourspecial, Neilson Powless and Sepp Kuss spoke about US cycling. And of course it has to do with Lance Armstrong. They also discussed their hometown (Powless was born on a military base), the differences between the US and Europe and the Jumbo-Visma team.

For years, Americans dominated the Tour de France. With Lance Armstrong and Greg LeMond of course, but also with other good riders like Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer and Tyler Hamilton. They all fell off a pedestal when the FBI decided to get involved in the doping stories. What followed was a tough decade for American cycling.

Powless, who was part of the Jumbo-Visma team for the first two seasons of his career, doesn’t remember Armstrong’s downfall very well. “I remember my dad was very frustrated. My dad had cancer at the same time as Armstrong. And Armstrong inspired him to go back and start exercising again. He was a deceiver when he heard Armstrong had the rotten stuff up there.”

However, Pauwels wonders if American bikes would survive without Armstrong. “Armstrong has done terrible things, but at times I have asked myself what American cycling would have been like if it weren’t for Armstrong. Cheating though, he would have been less popular than he is today. I don’t think I would be without Armstrong. A cyclist” .

“It was a disappointment, but it was also a moment of evolution. A wake-up call that everyone is human and that you can’t love someone. I’m glad the moment I became a professional. I was able to compete at a level playing it seems to be a very different sport than the one I’ve heard since About 15 years old.”

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The Blowwalls at the World Cup in Leuven

Seb Kos won a stage in last year’s Tour de France. The last American to do so was Tyler Farrar in 2011. “Before Seb won last year’s stage, we had been dry for ten years at the Tour de France. It’s hard to say if it was because of Armstrong’s admission, but if he doesn’t he’s back in my year 2009 and 2010, there were probably two or three WorldTour races in our country and even more professional teams.

“The big sponsors that Armstrong brought with him are gone. More money and investment ensures more teams and more young talent. The next generation can also look for that talent.”


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