In the aftermath of the decision to strip Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France victories, a nine year old Dutch girl has been named race champion for the years 1999 to 2005. Annalise Van der Veen, a resident of Rotterdam, was informed by telephone that race organizers had decided to award the title to her this morning, despite the fact that she was not even alive for four of the races.
Wearing a blue and pick T-shirt and denim shorts, Miss Van der Veen held a press conference at a local park. Under the watchful gaze of her parents Karl and Marie, Tour officials bestowed the honor of Greatest Cyclist in History on the little blond girl. It was a decision intended to bring an end to years of controversy and chaos in professional bicycling.
“Once Armstrong decided to end his fight with the US Doping Commission, we had to look at who the runners-up were for each race,” said Tour spokesman Pierre Bourbonnais. “After years of flagrant use of performance enhancement drugs in pro cycling, we could not say anyone in Armstrong’s races was clean.”
Across the Netherlands, fans celebrated Holland's retunr to cycling prominance. Most were shocked at the decison to crown someone virtually unknown outside her neighbourhood, but were thrilled nonetheless.
After going through the list of all eligible cyclists, officials had no confidence that naming any of Armstrong’s competitors champion would end the controversy. “There were too many skeletons in all the racers’ closets,” lamented Bourbonnais. The committee made a decision to bestow the seven tour victories on someone who was free of the taint of scandal. “Miss Van der Veen was the only bicycle rider in Europe we could identify with 100% certainty as a clean cyclist.”
Despite his decision to no longer contest the allegations into his doping, Armstrong still maintains his innocence. He will now serve a lifetime ban from competitive cycling, and all accomplishments achieved will be removed from the record books.
For her part, little Annalise was pleased with the decision, but seemed somewhat confused by the whole process. After thanking reporters, she folded the seven Tour de France yellow jerseys into her backpack and rode home.