Armstrong teammate says he wished he had doped when he had the chance

"Only a few got caught and I could have done a lot more in my career.”

by Sarah Barth   November 10, 2012  

Benoît_Joachim

A former teammate of Lance Armstrong has said that he regrets not doping while riding for the U.S. Postal Service Team, saying that it meant he could not achieve the maximum 'wages and popularity'.

Benoît Joachim, now retired, rode as a super-domestique for Lance between 1999 and 2006, and in that time was the 2003 Luxembourg National Road Race Champion and the 2004 Luxembourg National Time Trial Champion.

But he regretted being too afraid to join his teammates, he told Le Quotidien.

"I had the opportunity to work with him [Ferrari]. Unfortunately, and I mean it, unfortunately I couldn't for a number of reasons, mainly because I was scared of testing positive".

He added: "The truth is that when I think about everything I could have achieved in terms of wages and popularity by working with Ferrari, I regret it".

The irony is that Joachim tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone in 2000, following one of his winning races, but was eventually let off on a technicality, citing "irregularities in the testing procedure".

The 36 year old from Luxembourg said that a six-month ban was not enough to put most riders off doping.

"If you look at all the races people won working with him [Ferrari}," said Joachim, "they had a longer career than me, they are healthy, and now they admit they have doped, but everyone forgives them.

"They take a six-month ban in the winter and are free to race next season. If we compare that to what’s happening to Armstrong, it’s disproportionate.”

"Only a few got caught and I could have done a lot more in my career.”

And the Luxemburger says that he still holds Armstrong in high esteem.

“People tend to see the world too much white and too much black. The world is never black or white,” he said. “I think Armstrong is a great champion and he always will be. For me, the winner all those years is Armstrong. They now leave those years blank and they leave it blank because there are also big doubts about second and third, as well.

“So for me, the winner is Armstrong.”

25 user comments

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A sad example of the win at any cost mentality that feels like it has destroyed a decade of professional cycling. A candidate for next UCI president perhaps? Wink

Rigobear's picture

posted by Rigobear [71 posts]
10th November 2012 - 10:10

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Makes me wonder how much he thinks hes going to get payed by LA for being nice.

posted by mandy [83 posts]
10th November 2012 - 10:54

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I quite admire his honesty, somehow.

Sarah Barth's picture

posted by Sarah Barth [952 posts]
10th November 2012 - 11:45

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I can see his point.

There could have been a clean rider in the peloton who would have won races if everyone was clean. No-one knows his name and he missed out on a small fortune.

Compare that to Tyler Hamilton who still has a list of wins to his name, still has the prize money, still has the wages and now has the book sales.

Truth and reconciliation might help the next generation but it still leaves the previous generation of clean riders cheated by the dopers.

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posted by CraigS [135 posts]
10th November 2012 - 12:17

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what's that red astana jersey? looks surprisingly good - don't remember Lance ever wearing it.

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posted by PJ McNally [580 posts]
10th November 2012 - 12:49

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Red Astana jersey is probably Luxembourg National Champions jersey - it'll be white and pale blue below.

Make mine an Italian with Campagnolo on the side

posted by monty dog [358 posts]
10th November 2012 - 13:51

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I bet there are a lot of people in the banking sector who are thinking the same thing: why did I let my fears hold me back from the kind of dodgy trading that would have allowed me to convert my millionaire status to that of billionaire, now that it turns out there has been little-to-no ramification for those who did. And in other industries too (professional sport is just another industry after all.)

posted by handlebarcam [527 posts]
10th November 2012 - 14:01

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thanks monty dog - good knowledge!

PJ McNally's picture

posted by PJ McNally [580 posts]
10th November 2012 - 14:08

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He's not just honest - he right too.

Being honest and saying no to drugs has cost these honest people a lot of money, prestige and recognition never mind their careers.

Add to that, so called whistleblowers getting let off with a 6 month winter ban and there is no reason to ever consider saying no to drugs if your not a major rider.

I dont disagree with the principle that we wouldnt get whistleblowers without doing a deal, but these honest guys have really been the hardest done by in all of this, even the guilty get off better including LA.

Maybe these are the guys the teams need to offer jobs to to promote cleaner riding for the future.

posted by Farky [177 posts]
10th November 2012 - 14:46

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Lets be clear - he's being honest now, but he wasn't riding clean out of honesty, just out of fear of getting caught. I also admire his honesty now (with it being so popular for people to wring their hands and talk about how principled they are) and in his shoes I would probably feel the same. Like he says, it's easy to see the world in black and white, but it's just not that simple most of the time!

posted by step-hent [650 posts]
10th November 2012 - 15:23

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I take issue with one aspect - he can't really comment on the health impact can he? Surely nobody has actually studied the potential health implications of a doping programme much like that employed by USPS... have they?

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posted by G-bitch [302 posts]
10th November 2012 - 16:18

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He needs a thump to the head and told to wise up. These kind of attention seeking news stories should not be published.

Let me guess, he's got a sob story "because I didn't dope" book coming out? Angry

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posted by Gkam84 [8685 posts]
10th November 2012 - 16:54

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Hats off for not doping, but what's his point. Woe poor me time. You had a career as a professional sportsman and did ok, if you wanted to win more you should have trained harder and put yourself in that position. Why look back with regret. Joachim your a tool. Now can we focus on the positive look forward to what looks like a fantastic season coming up. Alp d'huez twice bring on 2013.

posted by theincrediblebike [41 posts]
10th November 2012 - 17:21

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theincrediblebike wrote:
Hats off for not doping, but what's his point. Woe poor me time. You had a career as a professional sportsman and did ok, if you wanted to win more you should have trained harder and put yourself in that position. Why look back with regret. Joachim your a tool. Now can we focus on the positive look forward to what looks like a fantastic season coming up. Alp d'huez twice bring on 2013.

Don't think you understand the concept of doping - it generally enhances performance. geddid?

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posted by koko56 [312 posts]
10th November 2012 - 19:45

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Enhance me on your fantastic knowledge of Epo, hematocrit levels and concept of doping. The point I am making is he says he didn't want to dope as he didn't want to get caught and that affected his level of reward. However now he is looking back with regret. He could have still raced clean and won more, so why whine about it now, funny how he kept his mouth shut for all these years and now expects sympathy. And yes I fully understand the concept of doping and how it affects performance.

posted by theincrediblebike [41 posts]
10th November 2012 - 20:26

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monty dog wrote:
Red Astana jersey is probably Luxembourg National Champions jersey - it'll be white and pale blue below.

Correct http://www.cyclismactu.net/img/upload/Mg4KGaCFaWHL.jpg

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8685 posts]
10th November 2012 - 20:28

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I agree with him.
He is right about LA's wins as well. He did win. You can't say he didn't.
How he did it is another matter. I think the records shouls show his name but annoted accordingly. That also emphasies the issues for those who want to.

posted by mattsccm [245 posts]
10th November 2012 - 20:56

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koko56 wrote:

Don't think you understand the concept of doping - it generally enhances performance. geddid?

Frank Schleck?

"I can't believe I ate the whole thing..."

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posted by Cooks [478 posts]
10th November 2012 - 21:24

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Joachim's real problem was one of ineptitude. The only reason he raced clean was because having been caught once (and aquitted on a technicality) he was subsequently a marked man.
I mean, how incompetent at doping do you have to be to be sacked by USPS because of their avowed "zero tolerance" policy?

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
10th November 2012 - 22:23

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theincrediblebike wrote:
Enhance me on your fantastic knowledge of Epo, hematocrit levels and concept of doping. The point I am making is he says he didn't want to dope as he didn't want to get caught and that affected his level of reward. However now he is looking back with regret. He could have still raced clean and won more, so why whine about it now, funny how he kept his mouth shut for all these years and now expects sympathy. And yes I fully understand the concept of doping and how it affects performance.

Unless you know how he was training it's all too easy to say "should have trained harder etc" no matter how much and how hard you train somebody with dope will have an edge given all's the same. Since so many did at the time he would not have had a level field for wins.

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ValentinKokorin

London2Paris24: 450km, 24 hours, 5th-6th July 2014

I will miss TdF in Yorskhire!!! Please donate! Big Grin

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posted by koko56 [312 posts]
10th November 2012 - 23:20

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The best part of this whole story was when I looked into it and found this

Quote:
Despite being acquitted, it was too late to save Joachim's contract with US Postal, as they immediately fired him based on their "zero-tolerance" drug policy. The Luxembourg champion is hopeful of finding another contract, and is talking with US Postal.

http://autobus.cyclingnews.com/results/2000/nov00/nov25news.shtml

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posted by Gkam84 [8685 posts]
10th November 2012 - 23:58

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theincrediblebike wrote:
Alp d'huez twice bring on 2013.

Sounds like an invite to dope!

posted by daddyELVIS [384 posts]
12th November 2012 - 11:32

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G-bitch wrote:
I take issue with one aspect - he can't really comment on the health impact can he? Surely nobody has actually studied the potential health implications of a doping programme much like that employed by USPS... have they?

There probably aren't enough elite cyclists to draw any conclusions about any long term negative effects on health of performance enhancing drugs. Unless a particular drug had very severe effects, you'd need to compare a set of dopers to non-dopers, and you wouldn't have a big enough sample of riders to draw statistically significant conclusions.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1331 posts]
12th November 2012 - 12:32

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Good to see 'integrity' is for sale.

Tripod16

posted by Tripod16 [109 posts]
12th November 2012 - 12:55

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I remember watching a programme sometime ago about a frauster who'd done time for some bluechip fraud, and the money had never been recovered - his simple question was along the lines of how much time in prison you'd consider in exchange for several million pounds in the bank.
And I guess the same is true of the drug cheats... If you win enough and then get caught, it doesn't really matter to them, as they've got enough to live comfortably thereafter. Get the winnings, bank it into property or simliar, keep fingers crossed that the drug testers aren't at next race... Simples.

www.mombee.com - Muddy bikes, Road bikes and Family rides in Malmesbury and the South West

posted by Mombee [40 posts]
13th November 2012 - 16:36

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