Very occasionally something happens that shakes sport to its core. Something that transcends sport and dominates the narrative for far longer than most controversies.

A decade ago, almost to the day, one of those moments occurred. At the end of October 2012, Lance Armstrong was banned from cycling. Not just cycling, but from any competitive sport. It was a seminal moment.

Even after all this time, Armstrong’s name remains the most recognisable in cycling, particularly to outsiders and casual observers.

Often something that, at the time, seems seismic, becomes diminished as time passes. But Armstrong’s story is an exception.

A decade on, his story and, more pertinently, his downfall, remains as captivating as it did 10 years ago when everything came tumbling down.

The reasons Armstrong became such a giant in cycling, and indeed transcended sport, were multiple but primarily down to his backstory, and the fact he claimed seven Tour de France victories despite having been given a slim chance of survival from cancer. It was unlike anything that had been seen before.

His tale of rising from the depths to become the most successful rider in the history of his sport was the ultimate fairytale.

Until the truth emerged, and we realised it was all a lie.

He was not, in fact, superhuman; rather, he was a long-term doper and cheat who also bullied and harangued anyone who got in his way.

It was quite the fall from grace.

Such was the love and affection towards Armstrong, people were in tears on realising the truth and the head of the American anti-doping agency who uncovered the American’s doping was on the receiving end of death threats.

Those few weeks when Armstrong was finally unearthed as one of the greatest frauds in sport and the immediate fallout was one of the most absorbing periods I have experienced.

Armstrong remains a polarising figure unlike almost any other. Certainly his refusal for such a long time to show any repentance did him no favours.

Few have forgotten the photo he posted on social media of him in his house surrounded by his seven yellow jerseys despite the fact he had been stripped of his titles.

And for so long, the American appeared oblivious to quite why so many cycling fans, and sports fans in general, were disappointed to find his story was, in fact, not a fairytale but a lie that had been fuelled by the drugs he had denied taking time and time again.

Throughout his career, his success seemed too good to be true and the realisation that indeed it was exactly that was crushing to so many.

The question of why Armstrong, of all the countless athletes who have been busted for doping, has been treated quite so differently by so many is interesting. The obvious answer is that he was at the top and so was in the direct firing line for all the authorities who wanted to make the point that cheating would not be tolerated.

But compare Armstrong, who has been cast aside entirely, to the dozens of others who doped in exactly the same way he did.

Let’s not forget that of the seven Tour de France titles the American was stripped of, no rider has been awarded the win in his absence. Such was the prevalence of doping during that time, it became almost impossible to find a rider who was judged unequivocally clean and therefore worthy of the yellow jersey.

For me, what remains perhaps the most fascinating element of the Armstrong saga is quite how close he was to getting away with it all. In fact, but for one terrible decision, he almost certainly would have done so.

Following Armstrong’s first retirement in 2005, suspicions of his doping were widespread but the Texan had many more supporters than detractors when he announced he was hanging up his helmet. Had he floated off into retirement permanently, things would almost certainly have worked out differently.

But during the 2008 Tour, which he watched on television, he felt what he called “a pang”, and announced just a few weeks later that he would be returning to professional cycling.

He was, once again, competitive, even grabbing a place on the podium in 2009 but he never came close to the heights he had hit previously.

He retired “for good” in 2011 but by then, the in-depth doping investigation that would ultimately uncover his secrets was well underway.

A decade on from Armstrong’s downfall, it’s interesting to compare where cycling, and sport in general, are when it comes to doping. It was claimed that the uncovering of Armstrong’s cheating would mark a sea

change and things would be cleaned up.

That has not materialised.

Since Armstrong received his ban, the Russian doping project – which was branded the most sophisticated state-sponsored doping programme in the history of sport – was uncovered, while many individuals continue to test positive each year.

There is, certainly not in the short term anyway, any sign of doping being eradicated from sport.

But are we likely to ever see a story again that hits in quite the same way Armstrong’s did?

Considering that 10 years on, so many remain captivated by the American’s career, it seems unlikely we will see anything quite like it again.