Cycling: Lance Armstrong's television apology was given short shrift today, with retired British cyclist Nicole Cooke leading the criticism of the Texan, who she branded a “disgusting human being.”
The 41-year-old confessed to doping during all seven Tour de France title victories, but his failure to reveal many crucial details of his doping programme led to Cooke, a former road race champion, labelling the interview a “pantomime.”
She told BBC Radio Five Live: “The sad thing is that there were clean riders who had livelihoods, whole careers stolen from them by that. We’re probably not going to see those people vindicated in any way through this.
“He’s got no morals — he is a disgusting human being. It is a pantomime to me. Lance Armstrong should have been taken to a court, not to an Oprah Winfrey sofa.”
Cooke was far from alone in her fury at Armstrong, who claimed to Winfrey that he had stopped doping when he made his Tour de France comeback in 2009.
That assertion was quickly challenged by the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) who, according to World Anti-Doping Agency president John Fahey, produced evidence that he continued doping.
Fahey told the Daily Telegraph: “The evidence from USADA is that Armstrong’s blood tests show variations in his blood that show with absolute certainty he was doping after 2005. Believe USADA or believe Armstrong? I know who to believe.
“It struck me that the statute of limitations under US law might be relevant and Armstrong would not want to admit to anything in regards to his comeback (in 2009) that might be picked up under the US criminal code.”
The USADA have called on Armstrong to admit to the full extent of his drug use under oath.
Betsy Andreu, the wife of Armstrong’s former team-mate Frankie Andreu, who claimed she heard the 41-year-old telling doctors at Indiana University Hospital that he had used performance-enhancing drugs, was far from satisfied with Armstrong’s confession.
“I’m really disappointed,” she told CNN. “He owed it to me. You owed it to me, Lance, and you dropped the ball. After what you’ve done to me, what you’ve done to my family, and you couldn’t own up to it.”
Emma O’Reilly, a former masseuse with US Postal who was branded “a whore” by Armstrong when she spoke out about his misdemeanours, said: “Not all the riders were comfortable with cheating as Lance was.
“You could see when they went over to the dark side their personalities change.”
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