Armstrong round-up: Cavendish, Vaughters, Hammond Staff & Indurain have their say + Boonen visits Ferrari*

Bringing you up to date with ripples from the Armstrong pond

by Sarah Barth   October 24, 2012  

Lance Armstrong (pic courtesy Photosport International)

Two weeks after the revelations contained in the United States Anti-Doping Agency's evidence against Lance Armstrong - the stars of cycle sport past and present are still commening… probably because the media keep asking them to. Here's the latest round up with comments from Mark Cavendish, Roger Hammond, Jamie Staff, Jonathan Vaughters and Miguel Indurain… who still thinks Lance is innocent plus news on the latest of Armstrong's ex-teammates to confess to doping.

It's fair to say that Mark Cavendish's attitude to Lance is somewhat less supportive than Big Mig's.

Cavendish told the BBC that he just wants a clean slate for cycling. He said: "If you've done something, confess. That anyone can damage the sport I love right now, it's frustrating.

Cavendish has said in the past that he believes that one of the reasons cycling has such a bad reputation is that it catches more cheates because it conducts more tests than other sports - a theme he returned to today.

"There are cheats in entertainment, journalists cheat, every single sport has cheats.

"If you put the effort into catching them and you have a structure that does things properly, you're going to catch a cheat."

Meanwhile another of Armstrong's former teammates from the era when beating doping control was simply a matter of lying on the floor and pretending you weren't there has admitted to doping. Norwegian cyclist Steffen Kjaergaard, rode with US Postal between 2000 and 2003 and was on the U.S. Postal Service team in the Tour de France in 2000 and 2001.

Kjaergaard told Eurosport: "When I was a part of the U.S Postal Service team, everything was organised by the team. I did not need to arrange for a doctor or do anything by myself," retired Kjaergaard told a news conference.

"The reason that I am coming forth now is that I have had a big problem with my own conscience."

Without naming Armstrong, he said: "I cannot say if any of my team mates were using illegal substances. I can assume that others at US Postal were using something that the witness reports said. I have no direct knowledge though."

Phil Liggett may have accepted the truth but Big Mig - the man who's record for consectuive Tour wins Armstrong broke - still believes in him.

"Even now I believe in his innocence. He has always respected all the rules," Indurain told Radio Marca in Spain.

"I'm a bit surprised. It's strange that this was only based on testimonies."

Indurain added: "I think he will come back and appeal and try to show that he played fair for all those years."

Armstrong enjoys the support of at least one other Spanish rider - Euskaltel's Samuel Sanchez going on record more than once in the last couple of weeks to say that he doesn't agree with Armstrong being stripped of his titles.

Lance Armstrong yesterday removed all mention of five Tour de France wins from his official Twitter account… not that he's been very active on it lately.

Roger Hammond and Jamie Staff were asked for their opinions on the Armstrong affair yesterday and while neither seemed to doubt what Armstrong had done Staff felt the Texan had been singled out and Hammond remembered a supportive teammate that never gave him any hint of wrongdoing.,

Roger Hammond rode with Armstrong on the Discovery Channel team in 2005 - 2006 and this week told BBC Sport :

"I was in Lance Armstrong's team for two years and I was never asked, was never given any idea of any doping,"

"I saw nothing at all, but then Usada never asked for my opinion."

Hammond went on to say that Armstrong was "fantastic to me as a team-mate", adding: "He was very supportive. He never ever forced his opinion, if this was his opinion."

He never offered me dope, never forced me to compromise my ethos or my sport."

USADA would no doubt argue that Hammond was riding for Discovery as a classics specialist - not to be part of their Tour de France team so there would have been no need for him to be part of the doping programme or for him to know about it. Hammond's comments do also raise the point that during the Armstrong era a lot of riders were employed at one time or another by the USPS team and its successors - if they didn't all dope, and USADA's evidence suggests that they didn't how was it possible for such an organised doping set up to be hidden from the rest of the team?

The BBC also spoke to Olympic track gold medallist and BMX legend, Jamie Staff about Armstrong yesterday. He told BBC South East Today: "He's been kind of a scapegoat really.

"A lot of people have done it, probably everyone in his generation.

"He seems to be the one everyone is picking on, probably as he was the most successful."

Garmin Sharp team manager, Jonathan Vaughters in his role as president of the Association of International Cycling Teams (AIGP), the body that represents top teams has called for a an independent commission to be set up with support from the World Anti-Doping Agency and the UCI: "We can learn what went wrong in the past and move forward."

Vaughters, who gave evidence against Armstrong as part of the USADA investigation and who has previously admitted doping in the past, went on to say: "Behind the scenes, it's very much improved, but in the public's perception, it isn't.

"That's why AIGCP is suggesting we develop an independent commission to audit all the anti-doping processes that occur in cycling so we can learn what went wrong in the past and move forward.

"In my opinion, the best way to go about it is right now right here. You come to a truth and reconciliation - everything that's gone on for the past 20 years - and say now we're going to move on with absolute concrete zero tolerance," he said.

"Every scandal has a purpose, every obstacle has a reason for being there and to be able to circumvent it, that only leads to progress.

"Is this the definitive moment? I don't know, but I do know it's a catalyst for progress and we need to take advantage of this moment."

*No, not the one that makes unnaturally fast riders, the one that makes unnaturally fast cars.

10 user comments

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Quote:
"He seems to be the one everyone is picking on, probably as he was the most successful."

Not just that though - he was instrumental within his own team in encouraging a doping culture. He has also been vehemently denying doping. He is also an incredibly unpleasant person - people talk about him bullying - but it goes beyong meer bullying. When you accuse someone publicly of being an alcoholic and a prostitute, you cross a line. The doping pisses me off, but its his treatment of other people which is the most disgusting aspect to all of this.

To anyone who still defends him - please, please, please - can't you see that even if he didn't dope (which he did), he is still an almighty arsehole.

posted by hoski [64 posts]
24th October 2012 - 12:17

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Boonen in a Ferrari.

Classic Tommeke.

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1728 posts]
24th October 2012 - 15:56

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re Cav - The pro's have themselves to blame - the peleton let Hincapie have a lap of honour on the Champs Elysee this year, when there was already talk that he would be serving a ban when he retired

posted by fiftyacorn [91 posts]
24th October 2012 - 16:03

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Who better to make an example of, and hopefully act as a deterrent, than the person who benefitted most from cheating. Armstrong is being singled out and it is fantastic.

Edgeley

posted by Edgeley [160 posts]
24th October 2012 - 17:14

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The more I read of this the more implausible it seems. If we believe the USADA - LA Not only hide it all successfully from the authorities for god knows how many tests and years. He and his so called cohorts hide it successfully from quite a few other team members. You would have thought that at least there would have some concerns that something was happening from other riders, riding with LA who have not been accused of doping.

As big Mig says we only have all the evidence is based on testimony of 5 riders and only 5 riders. There is from what I have read no usable evidence of actual doping and over 8 year period you would have thought something would have come up. One thing I can't get my head a round is that these 5 riders were threatened with criminal proceedings and much worse if they didn't answer as the USADA cause. That does not make for a viable reasonable witness in my book at any level.

Then look at the way the USADA set about describing the details in such a lurid tabloid way. If the evidence was so clear and solid why use such emotive language and theatricals. I think it was to deflect from the weakness of the case.

He may be an arrogant twit but Hoski, I don't think because you personally dislike someone you hang this on them as the sole and individual cause of all doping in the sport at the time. Look at the facts. There is so much room for doubt.

I am not a great lover of LA but I have tremendous respect for what did did setting up and promoting Livestrong and his cancer charities. My real problem is both sides of the debate and in particular the actions of the USADA and the inactivity of the UCI. The USADA seems hell bent on getting there man. Even if it is by theatrics. They could have done it in a much more professional and effective way than the way they eventually did it.

posted by Ciaran Patrick [117 posts]
24th October 2012 - 20:12

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Ciaran Patrick, it's actually 15 riders, not 5. Plus 11 other individuals. And there will be more.

Maybe you can dismiss Tyler and Floyd as having an axe to grind. But most of these people have little to gain and much to lose.

There is so much more to this than just fixing the record books and taking down Lance. Try reading the affadavits--see for yourself the mental and emotional toll this whole thing was taking on people. Read the words of Tom Danielson or David Zabriskie or Emma O' Reilly.

http://cyclinginvestigation.usada.org/
Click on Appendices and Supporting Materials.

posted by TheBigMong [218 posts]
24th October 2012 - 20:39

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Ciaran Patrick wrote:
The more I read of this the more implausible it seems.

Really? I mean REALLY?! Well that's you and Mig alone going in that direction. The rest of us have even been joined by LA fanboys like Phil Ligget and the UCI in accepting that the truth is now undeniable.

Cheers M
_______________________________________________________
“Racing Is Life. Anything That Happens Before or After is Just Waiting.”

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posted by Morpheus00 [41 posts]
24th October 2012 - 21:41

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As Reg in Life of Brian might have said: "Yes but other than 26 witnesses, blood results, and a paper trail showing Armstrong perjured himself when he said he had no dealings with Dr. Ferrari, what evidence do USADA really have? Nothing!"

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
24th October 2012 - 21:59

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Ciaran Patrick wrote:

I am not a great lover of LA but I have tremendous respect for what did did setting up and promoting Livestrong and his cancer charities.

People are complex - Armstrong is not the only celebrity who's exploited our general tendency to others the benefit of (often considerable) doubt (innocent until proven guilty etc). In Armstrong's case his cancer recoverer hero status was used effectively both to raise cash for anti cancer work and exploit the "how dare you attack a cancer victim" conceit. He knew this and used it relentlessly to protect himself.
Just take a look at the cynical use of self proclaimed "nobility" attack of Paul Kimmage at his comeback press conference here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZgns7CXeUI

Also, listen to what he has to say about Landis in the same (undoubtedly pre scripted, rehearsed vicious attack aimed on Kimmage) and wonder why he has not ,to date, taken his own advice.

Sudor

posted by Sudor [179 posts]
25th October 2012 - 9:14

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"Is this the definitive moment? I don't know, but I do know it's a catalyst for progress and we need to take advantage of this moment."

" Who better to make an example of, and hopefully act as a deterrent, than the person who benefitted most from cheating. Armstrong is being singled out and it is fantastic."

Excellent points but there are Athletes that want to come forward and clear their misdeeds during their careers .

Join in seeing that they can : http://t.co/oFWgsHA7

Skippy(advocate for "Disabled / Para Sport")@skippydetour. blogging as skippi-cyclist.blogspot & Parrabuddy.blogspot currently on the road with ProTour Grand Tour Events .

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posted by skippy [383 posts]
26th October 2012 - 12:00

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