31 Jan 2013

Armstrong feels he is cycling's fall guy

6:29 am on 31 January 2013

Lance Armstrong feels he is the scapegoat of a sport that has always been subject to cheating.

Asked whether he felt he was the 'fall guy for an entire sport/system', the disgraced American cyclist, who was banned for life and stripped of his seven Tour de France titles for doping, told the Cyclingnews website that he does - though he understands why as "we all make the beds we sleep in".

Armstrong confessed to doping this month, saying he used performance-enhancing drugs from the mid-1990s to 2005 - but the 41-year-old says he believes, however, that every cycling generation cheated and his generation was no different than any other.

In an email interview Armstrong says the "'help' has evolved over the years but the fact remains that our sport is damn hard, the Tour was invented as a 'stunt'... and for a century all (riders) looked for advantages".

He says "from hopping on trains a 100 years ago to EPO now. No generation was exempt or 'clean'. Not Merckx's, not Hinault's, not LeMond's, not Coppi's, not Gimondi's, not Indurain's, not Anquetil's, not Bartali's and not mine".

Armstrong also criticised the International Cycling Union president Pat McQuaid and says a truth and reconciliation process is the only way out of the crisis.

He says as much as he's the eye of the storm, this is not about one man, one team or one director, it's about cycling and about all endurance sports, and publicly lynching one man and his team will not solve this problem.

Armstrong says McQuaid was not the first supporter of a truth and reconciliation commission and he wanted to hear nothing about a "full blown, global TRC" which Armstrong calls "our sport's best solution".

Armstrong does not believe McQuaid is the right man to deal with the situation and says "Pat is just in constant CYA (Cover Your Ass) mode. Pathetic".

"Cycling will never die, it will just simmer. Zero growth. Sponsors leaving, races cancelled - this we are seeing. This current state of chaos and petty bullshit, tit for tat, etc, will just ensure that cycling goes flat or negative for a decade plus"... "which is a real shame for the current crop of young pros the sport has."

Armstrong adds that "this is a global sport not an American one" and "the UCI has no place at the table".