The tale of Lance Armstrong has become almost tragic.
The only thing that saves it from true tragedy is that the tragic hero doesn't seem to be aware to his fatal flaw. He seems unable, or unwilling, to acknowledge that he has paid too grievous a price for his glory.
Lois Bujold said it best: "Some prices are just too high, no matter how much you may want the prize. The one thing you can't trade for your heart's desire is your heart." When Lance traded his honor - the very thing he trades on most, his reputation as a clean rider - for victories he gave away the gift. And he can never regain that gift; it is gone as though it had never been.
The fact that it seems impossible to avoid the conclusion that Armstrong, like nearly all the other top-flight cyclists in his era, relied on a combination of transfused blood and drugs like EPO and CERA to boost their endurance to impossible levels does not make the other facts of his lifestory - the cancer and the recovery - less true, or less moving.
Yes, there's a lie there. But there is truth, too. And to accept the truth you have to accept the lie; you cannot have the man without his failings, and it is for you and I to decide if those failings are too great for the man's achievements to have any meaning.
We want our heroes to be perfect. We want them to be pure, without stain, without sin. We want them to be bigger than we are, better, in short, we want them to be more than human.
But to be more than human is to be closer to a god than a hero. There are those among us who wanted Lance Armstrong to be more than a hero, more than a human, who wanted him to be perfect as a god.
And that will always end in heartbreak.