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Thursday, December 27, 2012

‘Lost Generation’ Cyclist Looks Back At Armstrong And Doping

Pro cyclist Pat McCarty at the Presidential Tour of Turkey in April 2012. (Brian Hodes/Veloimages)

Pro cyclist Pat McCarty (front left) at the Presidential Tour of Turkey in April 2012. (Brian Hodes/Veloimages)

Pat McCarty became a junior member of Lance Armstrong’s U.S. Postal Service Pro Cycling Team at the height of what could be called cycling’s doping era.

Cyclist Pat McCarty, 30, went pro in 2004 with the U.S. Postal Service Pro Cycling Team. He now races for Team SpiderTech. (Team SpiderTech)

Cyclist Pat McCarty, 30, went pro in 2004 with the U.S. Postal Service Pro Cycling Team. He now races for Team SpiderTech. (Team SpiderTech)

But unlike Armstrong, McCarty says he refused to use performance-enhancing drugs. He told Here & Now that he was never pressured to dope, but it was common, and looking back on his career he’s glad he never did.

“I have a clear conscience and I get to ride my bike,” McCarty said, while Armstrong – who’s been banned for life from cycling – “doesn’t.”

Journalist and former professional cyclist Ian Dille wrote about McCarty in the December 2012 issue of Texas Monthly: “An era of cyclists played dirty, but buried in the scandal is a lost generation of American pros who stayed clean during a period rife with cheaters. In fact, no top American cyclist who was born after 1980 has ever received a doping sanction. These athletes played by the rules, but they had their careers stunted by a pharmacological glass ceiling. One of them was my childhood friend Pat McCarty.”

The Dallas Morning News has named Lance Armstrong a finalist for “Texan of the Year,” which the newspaper explains “is a distinction we bestow for impact, be it for better or for worse.” The winner will be announced Dec. 30.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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