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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

Other Sport

Dope amnesty 'only way to save cycling': Armstrong
AFP
Paris, January 31, 2013
First Published: 10:37 IST(31/1/2013)
Last Updated: 11:07 IST(31/1/2013)

Lance Armstrong has said that a truth and reconciliation commission is the only way for cycling to move on from its drug-addled past, warning that doing nothing would consign the sport to stagnation and decline.

The 41-year-old, who this month admitted that he used a cocktail of banned drugs to win the Tour de France a record seven times, told cyclingnews.com in emailed comments, "It's (a commission) not the best way, it's the only way.

"As much as I'm in the eye of the storm, this is not about one man, one team, one director. This is about cycling and to be frank it's about ALL endurance sports. Publicly lynching one man and his team will not solve this problem."

Armstrong was last year banned from cycling for life and stripped of his career record back to August 1998 after a damning US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) dossier accused him of orchestrating the biggest doping programme in the history of sport.

The revelations of his use of performance-enhancing drugs have rocked the sport, with the International Cycling Union (UCI) governing body accused of turning a blind eye to his activities and mass doping within the peloton.

The UCI is currently at loggerheads with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and USADA over the creation of a truth and reconciliation commission and in particular an amnesty for drug cheats.

Armstrong claimed that he suggested setting up a commission to UCI president Pat McQuaid "many months ago" but the idea was rejected out of hand. The Texan rider also called the Irishman "pathetic" and claimed he was protecting himself.

Without an amnesty "no one will show up", Armstrong added, claiming that no generation of professional riders was exempt from doping, but WADA should be in charge of the process and "the UCI has no place at the table".

Asked about an alternative, he said, "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."


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