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.”
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.