That sound you just heard was the death of the sport of cycling.
In news that most of us have been expecting for a while, Lance Armstrong was officially stripped of his seven Tour de France titles on Monday.
The news came from CNN:
The International Cycling Union has stripped Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles because of the conclusion he used performance-enhancing drugs.
"This is not the first time cycling has reached a crossroads and has had to begin anew... It will do so again with vigor," International Cycling Union President Pat McQuaid says.
The sport of cycling has struggled to gain a solid reputation over the past couple of decades, but Armstrong was always the exception.
He was the hero, the clean cyclist who defeated the evil dopers. Not only that, but he overcame testicular cancer to do it, garnering him even more respect and notoriety. Moreover, he made the sport popular in America, where it would have struggled so much without him.
According to The Telegraph, the tarnished history of the Tour de France—and in turn, cycling—is simply laughable.
Per The Telegraph's report, of the past 17 winners, only three haven't been penalized for some type of doping. Armstrong's seven have been taken away. Floyd Landis was only suspended for doping, but his title was taken away. Alberto Contador, three-time winner, was given a two-year ban after testing positive for Clenbuterol. Bjarne Riis, Jan Ullrich and Marco Pantani also got in trouble with doping at some point in their careers.
Of the past 17 second-place finishers, 10 have been penalized. Of the past 17 third-placers, 10 have also been penalized.
There's no way to take a sport like that seriously, and that has become more true with the Michael Jordan of cycling banished forever.
Cycling has some bright young stars who have yet to be outed as cheaters. Guys like Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali and Peter Sagan come to mind. The sport would normally be in good hands with them.
But if we can't trust the sport's biggest star and most decorated athlete, can we really trust those guys? It's unbelievable to think they—or anyone—will rack up more accolades than Armstrong. And if they do, you can bet they'll be the subject of more investigations, more headaches, more finger pointing and more painful days for the sport.
This is yet another dark day for the world of cycling, and unfortunately, things only appear to be getting much worse.
If that's even possible at this point.