Disgraced former Tour de France champion says authorities had no chance in fight with drug cheats, writes Greg Leedham
Lance Armstrong claimed yesterday that many sporting authorities were powerless to prevent doping in the 1990s.
The disgraced former Tour de France champion said that bodies charged with running cycling and other endurance sports were fighting a losing battle against drug cheats because they did not have the “tools” to keep up with them.
The Texan cyclist, who admitted to systematic doping in an interview with chat show host Oprah Winfrey in January, was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.
In an interview with Cycling News, he said: “They could not do a thing — like the head of the IAAF (athletics) couldn’t do a thing, and the head of Fina (swimming) couldn’t do a thing.
“They just did not have the tools to do anything until maybe 10 years later.”
Armstrong took the banned performance-enhancing substance EPO (erythropoietin), which was undetectable until a test became available in 2000.
The US rider explained his decision to start doping more regularly: “We rode in 1994 and we didn’t move into high-octane. We just suffered through the year.”
“In ’95 we just decided to make that next step. It’s not my style to name names. There were certainly as a whole us American guys, to generalise that group, who made that decision together.
“Perhaps there were people on the team, older riders who we knew had done that and there were others — we had to have help from the team doctor — but these are all people who have avoided any consequences. Totally.”
Recently elected International Cycling Union president Brian Cookson is believed to be eager to speak to Armstrong as part of his independent inquiry into doping.