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World Anti-Doping Agency President blasts Lance Armstrong interview & world cycling body

Posted by: Michael James, Ellen Feely & Ned Franklin | 18 January, 2013 - 12:52 PM
Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong has finally admitted to doping during his cycling career - including in each of the seven Tour de France tours he won.

In the explosive first minute of his interview with Oprah Winfrey, Armstrong admitted to taking the blood boosting drug EPO and using blood transfusions throughout his career.

LISTEN: The voice of Cycling, Phil Liggett, says the sport is already on the road to recovery

"I view this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times," Armstrong told Oprah.

Speaking with Sports Today, President of the World Anti-Doping Agency John Fahey said he thought the interview was a 'controlled public relations exercise', that Oprah's line of questioning wasn't tough and she was prepared to lead him into answers.

LISTEN: John Fahey speaks with Sports Today

Mr Fahey, a former Premier of New South Wales, described Armstrong as a 'control freak' and said if he was serious about redemption, he would make his admissions through the official sporting channels.

"If he was serious, he would go before a proper tribunal, he would give information under oath, he'd put names out there, he'd say where the drugs came from - when (and) how, and who the officials were that were corrupt," he said.

Mr Fahey said after receiving a life ban from the United States Anti-Doping Agency, he would not be able to participate in any of the 630 sports associated with the World Anti-Doping Code.

"With the exception of the major leagues in the United States which are privately owned, I don't know of a sport which is not a signatory to the World Anti-Doping code," he said.

However, should Armstrong testify to the United States Anti-Doping Agency under oath, his lifetime ban could be reconsidered and reduced to a specified amount of years. Mr Fahey said such co-operation would see him banned 'somewhere in the vicinity of eight years'.

Mr Fahey said Armstrong's exposure as drug cheat had given the sport of cycling a bad name right throughout the world, and said it now fell to the cycling body to prove it was serious to stamp out the practice of doping within its ranks.

He outlined the following process the International Cycling Union should undertake:

"If the world governing body of cycling was serious, its current independent commission - which is not independet - would be expanded out to a point where:

i) The terms of reference covered all cyclists, and not just Armstrong;

ii) Sufficient time was given;

ii) They would not control the findings, but would release them publicly as and when they become available; and

iv) They would talk to us about developing an amnesty and truth and reconciliation commission whereby all who came forward would not be penalised if they were prepared to tell the truth, get it off their chest and give us a chance to find out what's rotten in that sport and do something about getting rid of what's rotten."

Excerpt from Lance Armstrong interview with Oprah Winfrey - 18/01/12

OPRAH: Let’s start with the questions that people around the world have been waiting for you to answer and for now I would just like a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.

This whole conversation, we have a lot of time, will be about the details.

Yes or No. Did you ever take banned substances to improve your cycling performance?


OPRAH: Yes or No, was one of those banned substances EPO?


OPRAH: Did you ever blood dope or use blood transfusions to enhance your cycling performance?


OPRAH: Did you ever use any other banned substances like testosterone, cortisone or human growth hormone?


OPRAH: Yes or No, in all seven of your Tour De France victories, did you ever take banned substances or blood dope?


Legendary cycling commentator Phil Liggett said the sport is on the road to recovery following Lance Armstrong's long-awaited admission.

Speaking with 3AW's Justin Smith, Liggett said while Armstrong betrayed his fans, the passion for cycling was still very much alive.

"It was a total tragedy. It obviously was pre-empted by Lance and all his riders," he said.

"Everyone had faith in him and thought he was the greatest sportsman that had ever been. 

"I feel let down but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

"Cycling is on its way back though. We've moved on and I believe the last two winners of the Tour De France, Cadel Evans and Bradley Wiggins, are absolutely clean, and I think there is a general belief among the riders that they don't need to take drugs any more and that they can beat the competition on talent and training alone."


What does Lance's admission mean?

Lance Armstrong. (Photo: George Burns/Oprah Winfrey Network via Getty Images)TOM ELLIOTT: Perhaps it’s not enough just to punish one of the sport’s all-time greats; perhaps cycling itself needs to look inward, and completely clean itself up before the average fan can ever really trust it again.


Blog comments Your Say

  • If I send all my Livestrong gear registered mail to Armstrong with an invoice to him for the cost because he suped me into buying the stuff because of his lies and deceit, what do you recking my chances are of getting any money back? None I bet.

    Stephen Saturday 19 January, 2013 - 7:25 AM
  • I remember Irish former professional cyclist and anti-doping campaigner Paul Kimmage going after Lance Armstrong in 1993. He and another journalist openly accused him of taking performance drugs. Armstrong was an utter bully back then and stood up at a press conference and called Kimmage a "cancer that needed to be removed". I will never forget it, it was disgusting. Kimmage was ostracised by other cyclists and journalists but he never stopped campaigning to have Armstrong tested. Armstrong owes this man and many many others an apology - but he is a bully and I doubt he will apologise to anyone.

    T.Cole Saturday 19 January, 2013 - 12:47 AM
  • Call that contrition? I didnt feel bad, I didn't think it was wrong and I didn't feel like I was cheating.
    This man is a thief,he stole other peoples dreams.

    Polly Saturday 19 January, 2013 - 12:35 AM
  • David, why let them cheat? It sends a bad message to our children. What they are doing is unhealthy and unethical. It is not creating a level play field its making it worse. A level playing field would be no drugs where training, skill and hard work get the win. This way the most creative cheater wins. If some of the other riders had access to the doping methods Lance used they probably would of won. Before he started cheating he wasn't the best rider.

    ozcanj Friday 18 January, 2013 - 11:28 PM
  • The trouble is David many of them are already doped up with drugs and testosterone being competitive and trying to push themselves to the limit.
    This in turn makes many of them aggressive and difficult to deal with especially when they ride on public roads in huge groups with transport/cars.
    Then add the adrenalin factor.

    Caz Friday 18 January, 2013 - 9:48 PM
  • This man lied and cheated,he destroyed careers and drove them out of cycling,and he played the public and with this weak self serving interview hes still at it.
    Lance Armstrong stole from us all.

    Paul Friday 18 January, 2013 - 8:52 PM

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