COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — When Lance Armstrong rose to become the top cyclist in the world he took his coach, Chris Carmichael, with him.
Carmichael had been running a modest personal coaching business in his spare bedroom in Colorado Springs, but as Armstrong won one Tour de France after another, Carmichael grew his cottage industry into an empire to include dozens of employees, thousands of clients, a library of best-selling books and satellite training centers in North Carolina, Arizona and California.
After Armstrong started winning, Carmichael was inducted into the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame and named the United States Olympic Committee’s Coach of the Year. Today, he is the most celebrated and successful coach in endurance sports.
But now that Armstrong has admitted to doping, people who have worked with him are asking how much his long-time coach was involved, whether Carmichael overlooked the cheating to ensure his success, and if his business can survive Armstrong’s fall.