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Wiggo says no sympathy for Armstrong and that confession made him feel "smug" for winning Tour clean...

Bradley Wiggins does not believe Lance Armstrong’s insistence that he did not dope after his return to cycling in 2009, greeting the American’s denial to Oprah Winfrey with the thought, “You lying bastard,” as he watched the interview last week with his son. Wiggins also admitted that Armstrong’s confession made him feel “smug” that he had won the Tour clean, and that he felt no sympathy for his former rival.

"I was very determined not to watch it,” Wiggins said of the Oprah interview. “I was a fan of Lance; I remember watching the Worlds in 1993 [in Oslo, where Armstrong won]. I was 13 then.

“Then he came back and won the Tour de France in 1999 when I was 19 years of age, I was on the track programme and that was so inspirational at the time, seeing what he had come from in those pictures with cancer.

"Part of me didn't want to watch it, the fan in me didn't really want that perception of him to be broken as an amazing athlete.

“But I watched it with my seven-year-old son, and those initial first questions, the yes/no answers… watching him suddenly cave in after all these years of lying so convincingly, there was a lot of anger, a lot of sadness.

“I was slightly emotional as well if I'm honest. It was difficult to watch really. My wife couldn't watch it, she walked out the room,” he added.

Armstrong’s comeback year, 2009, was also the one when then Garmin Slipstream rider Wiggins made his breakthrough at the Tour de France, finishing fourth overall, and he has since been awarded the third place stripped from Armstrong.

What Wiggins didn’t get was the opportunity to become the first British rider to stand on the podium, with Armstrong taking the plaudits alongside overall winner Alberto Contador and runner-up Andy Schleck.

Speaking to the media at Team Sky’s training camp in Mallorca today, Wiggins contrasted separate performances by Armstrong during that 2009 Tour de France.

One was the Stage 15 summit finish at Verbier in Switzerland won by Contador, with Wiggins fifth, around half a minute ahead of Armstrong; the other was the climb of Mont Ventoux on the penultimate stage, when the American, 15 seconds ahead of Wiggins at the start of the day, put a further 22 seconds into him to seal third place overall.

"That was the thing that upset me the most about 2009 and 2010,” explained Wiggins. “I thought, ‘You lying bastard.’

“I can still remember going toe to toe with him, watching him and his body language. The man I saw at the top of Verbier in 2009 to the man I saw on the top of Ventoux two weeks later [actually six days – ed], it wasn't the same bike rider.

“Watch the videos and see the way the guy was riding. I just don't believe anything that comes out of his mouth any more."

Returning to Armstrong’s confession, Wiggins said: "It's heartbreaking for the sport, but then the anger kicks in and you start thinking, ‘You f*cking arsehole,’ or whatever feelings most people had when watching it.

“I had to explain to my son what it's all about, he's won the same race as his dad has won. But by the end of the hour-and-a-half, I had the best feeling in the world.

"When he [Armstrong] started welling up about his 13-year-old son asking him what it's all about; I never have to have that conversation with my own son – his father's won the Tour clean.

“There's this element of being smug about the whole thing to be honest. Then I got a ‘You deserve everything you get’ kind of thing.

“By the end, I was feeling no sympathy for him behind all the welling up and the tears."

Despite being denied his moment on the podium in 2009, Wiggins of course did get to enjoy the applause on the Champs-Elysées last July after becoming the first Briton to win the Tour, with Sky team mate Chris Froome alongside him as second placed finisher.

Today, Team Sky revealed the early season programmes for both riders, with Wiggins competing in the Mallorca Challenge next month before joining Froome for the Tour of Oman.

Froome will race Tirreno-Adriatico in early March, but it appears Wiggins will not seek to defend his Paris-Nice title, which takes place at the same time. He is however confirmed to race the Volta a Catalunya in the second half of March.

In April, Wiggins will ride the Giro del Trentino as preparation for May’s Giro d’Italia, where he is targeting the overall win.

While plans are still fluid, it looks unlikely Wiggins will seek a third consecutive win in the Criterium du Dauphiné, a race that Froome will ride.

Both will ride the Tour de France, and while Sky is non-committal about who will lead its challenge – it says only that they will ride “with the aim of securing a victory for Team Sky” – Wiggins told French newspaper L’Equipe earlier this week that he would be happy to support Froome’s challenge for the overall win.
 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

47 comments

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CraigS [129 posts] 3 years ago
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So what does he think about the two men ahead of Armstrong on the podium in 2009...

It was pretty obvious Armstrong owned up to the things he could no longer deny and which were outside the statute of limitations. Everything else he just carried on lying about.

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Some Fella [890 posts] 3 years ago
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Didnt say anything at the time though did you Bradley?
 23

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sanderville [344 posts] 3 years ago
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Who has won the Dauphine three times on the trot?

I know the flag-waving public became mad for Sir Brad's TdF win, but I'd say his big win last year was being the only person ever to win the Paris-Nice, Td Romandie and the Dauphine in one season. At least 80 people have won the TdF but no one ever has won the three races that Mr Wiggins did.

Win the Dauphine again.

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Simon_MacMichael [2457 posts] 3 years ago
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Plenty have won it twice running, a handful have won it three times but not in consecutive years.

I suspect the TDF win will live longer in the memory than the PN-Romandie-Dauphine treble, and especially if he adds the Giro  3

Tour has been won by 65 separate riders (seven blank spaces for 1999-2005 of course.

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ALIHISGREAT [119 posts] 3 years ago
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Some Fella wrote:

Didnt say anything at the time though did you Bradley?
 23

neither did anyone else.. and everyone would have called him a sore loser if he came out accusing the people that beat him of doping.

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Leviathan [2130 posts] 3 years ago
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Here is Wiggins interview snippet with the BBC:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/21189201

Frankly, there is no way we can know if LA was lying about 09, but there would be no way for him to set a fair baseline on one of the bio-passport thingys. He should have already been banned and down the field by that time and nowhere near to Brad.

I'd say it is odds against Brad winning No. 2 this year so the idea that LA could win *ing7!* just seem like greed/hubris/monumental egomania.

Fatigue just breaks anger into sadness.

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Leviathan [2130 posts] 3 years ago
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And by the way, it is the Tour/Olympic double that people will remember, sorry Dauphine potatoes.

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abudhabiChris [692 posts] 3 years ago
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So the Sky PR people have finally wound them up to say the right thing.

With the number of half-arsed, inaccurate and ill-judged things he has said about Armstrong and doping before I have lost all interest in his views on the subject. In fact it is even starting to make me suspicious.

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Paul J [901 posts] 3 years ago
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While it makes it easier to detect doping if the bio-passport for a rider starts with a clean baseline, it isn't a requirement. Even if the rider is always doped, the bio-passport can still spot unnatural variations. Blood transfusions in particular can cause those, and that's what Lance's 09 and 10 passport data appears to show.

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timbola [246 posts] 3 years ago
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Nice mention of my favourite Christmas dinner accompaniment, Bikeboy76  3

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fiftyacorn [89 posts] 3 years ago
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Its the hypocrisy that gets me - ok Lance and his team cheated, but Wiggins win made use of a number of riders and support staff associated with doping (Geert Leinders, Michael Barry, , ...).

I should add that I believe Wiggins is clean, and agree with Skys policy on not having ex-dopers on staff. Its no longer enough to be clean, you have to be seen to be clean

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Decster [246 posts] 3 years ago
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Hey Wiggo, people* were say lying bast*rd about Armstrong in 1999, what took you so long?

*Kimmage, who Wiggins has taken a very 'Armstrong' opinion off, called out Armstrong in TdF'99.

http://www.independent.ie/sport/reserving-the-right-to-applaud-403806.html

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Simon E [2774 posts] 3 years ago
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Wiggins is slated when he doesn't say anything, slated when he calls the Twitter Taliban c**ts and is slated when he derides Armstrong for cheating. Is there anything he can say that is acceptable to the armchair critics?

But it's easy (and lazy) to pick holes in a statement and criticise rather than empathise. I don't expect a pro cyclist to speak out against people he has to ride and work with in the peloton. Bear in mind that others will close ranks and support the accused - you can easily end up ostracised, just read this about Christophe Bassons' experience. If your current team folds or your contract is not renewed you may need a few friends to get a job.

Can you imagine making accusations about the most powerful man in the sport you're racing with (and massively popular in the English-speaking world)? David Walsh tweeted on Wednesday that if the Sunday Times had printed a piece he wrote on LA it would have cost the newspaper £9 million. Treating rumour and suspicion as evidence isn't the way to solve the problem.

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teamrocket13 [72 posts] 3 years ago
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Decster wrote:

Hey Wiggo, people* were say lying bast*rd about Armstrong in 1999, what took you so long?

*Kimmage, who Wiggins has taken a very 'Armstrong' opinion off, called out Armstrong in TdF'99.

http://www.independent.ie/sport/reserving-the-right-to-applaud-403806.html

Good article

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notfastenough [3708 posts] 3 years ago
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Simon E wrote:

Wiggins is slated when he doesn't say anything, slated when he calls the Twitter Taliban c**ts and is slated when he derides Armstrong for cheating. Is there anything he can say that is acceptable to the armchair critics?

But it's easy (and lazy) to pick holes in a statement and criticise rather than empathise. I don't expect a pro cyclist to speak out against people he has to ride and work with in the peloton. Bear in mind that others will close ranks and support the accused - you can easily end up ostracised, just read this about Christophe Bassons' experience. If your current team folds or your contract is not renewed you may need a few friends to get a job.

Can you imagine making accusations about the most powerful man in the sport you're racing with (and massively popular in the English-speaking world)? David Walsh tweeted on Wednesday that if the Sunday Times had printed a piece he wrote on LA it would have cost the newspaper £9 million. Treating rumour and suspicion as evidence isn't the way to solve the problem.

+1 all of the above.

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belgravedave [269 posts] 3 years ago
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*Since reading about Armstrong winning all those tours while on drugs my respect for him has increased.
I tried cycling on drugs once, I hit a tree and ended up in a canal.
*What SKY PR should have told Wiggins to say.

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mingmong [263 posts] 3 years ago
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teamrocket13 wrote:
Decster wrote:

Hey Wiggo, people* were say lying bast*rd about Armstrong in 1999, what took you so long?

*Kimmage, who Wiggins has taken a very 'Armstrong' opinion off, called out Armstrong in TdF'99.

http://www.independent.ie/sport/reserving-the-right-to-applaud-403806.html

Good article

+1 on the article.

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TurboJoe [73 posts] 3 years ago
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He feels smug for winning clean?

You're supposed to win clean!!

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_Karlos_ [52 posts] 3 years ago
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notfastenough wrote:
Simon E wrote:

Wiggins is slated when he doesn't say anything, slated when he calls the Twitter Taliban c**ts and is slated when he derides Armstrong for cheating. Is there anything he can say that is acceptable to the armchair critics?

But it's easy (and lazy) to pick holes in a statement and criticise rather than empathise. I don't expect a pro cyclist to speak out against people he has to ride and work with in the peloton. Bear in mind that others will close ranks and support the accused - you can easily end up ostracised, just read this about Christophe Bassons' experience. If your current team folds or your contract is not renewed you may need a few friends to get a job.

Can you imagine making accusations about the most powerful man in the sport you're racing with (and massively popular in the English-speaking world)? David Walsh tweeted on Wednesday that if the Sunday Times had printed a piece he wrote on LA it would have cost the newspaper £9 million. Treating rumour and suspicion as evidence isn't the way to solve the problem.

+1 all of the above.

+2, well said.

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Sam1 [220 posts] 3 years ago
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I'm amazed at the sheer number of people who act as it they would have spoken against Lance and accused him of doping if only THEY'D been a pro at the time. Amazing. If only everyone in cycling had the same moral compass and strength of will of these admirable people.

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kevinscruggs [8 posts] 3 years ago
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They all (including Wiggo) need to keep their mouth shut and ride their damn bikes. When they continuously comment on these things it casts them in a bad light as just being negative and maybe even a bit guilty. If they are all "truly" CLEAN now and the field is 100% pristine, then move on boys....move the hell on! I agree coming out back then would have been suicide for their careers, but talking about it now and calling him a liar just makes no sense. We all watched the show, we know he is a liar and cheat.

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Huw Watkins [99 posts] 3 years ago
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Turning Cranks - the riders are pilloried by you and yours when they voice their opinion when asked and pilloried when they tell reporters to stop asking them about Armstrong and doping. What are they to do? "No comment"? 'Cos that works too....

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Bill McLaren [7 posts] 3 years ago
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Some Fella wrote:

Didnt say anything at the time though did you Bradley?
 23

How could he, without any sort of proof he would just have come over as a sore looser.

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Leviathan [2130 posts] 3 years ago
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Brad has always been clear about his attitude to doping going back to his days at Cofidis. If he didn't say anything earlier it was because he could not prove it, like so many others couldn't and rightly feared LA's lawyers. He makes statements when he has to and answers the media's questions. He happens to be No.1 now when all of this is coming out into the open, so he is going to reply and give his open honest answers. Even Andy Murray gets asked about it so why the shock when Brad is talking.

Really, the too much/too little brigade need to accept that this story is never (yes, never) going away. There are court cases, counter suits, books and a movie yet to come.

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Rob Simmonds [251 posts] 3 years ago
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@vaughters isn't very impressed after Wiggy spent 09 Tour making cow eyes at Lance and pretty much ignoring what JV told him about what a cheating, doping rrrrshole he was.

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The Rumpo Kid [589 posts] 3 years ago
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One thing puzzles me. If the UCI don't accept that Armstrong doped in 2009, why have they awarded his third place to Wiggins?

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Rushie [40 posts] 3 years ago
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At 1:09 in the BBC interview

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cycling/21189201

Brad says "It's certainly robbed me of maybe 3rd place..." and you just get the impression he's dying to say "or maybe 2nd or even 1st".

Would love to know what he really thinks about Schleck minor and Contador.

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Sam1 [220 posts] 3 years ago
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Rob Simmonds wrote:

@vaughters isn't very impressed after Wiggy spent 09 Tour making cow eyes at Lance and pretty much ignoring what JV told him about what a cheating, doping rrrrshole he was.

Vaughters has never stopped being hurt that Wiggins jumped over to Sky. It might also be a little more professional of him to stop using social media like Twitter to discuss things about other teams' riders, DSs, managers etc, much though it tittilates people.

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Leviathan [2130 posts] 3 years ago
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The Rumpo Kid wrote:

One thing puzzles me. If the UCI don't accept that Armstrong doped in 2009, why have they awarded his third place to Wiggins?

The life time ban was backdated to some time in 98 so they are saying once he started doping (for sure) all results fall under the life ban regardless of if he claims to be clean.

He is still the winner of the 96 La Flèche Wallonne. A one day classic winner, he must be quite good, I wonder how he will get on...?

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Colin Peyresourde [1749 posts] 3 years ago
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Armstrong is a lier. And it's great to be able to say that.

But I hear enough lying from Pro cyclists that I just don't want to say what I think the truth is.

BTW - if you cheated your way to 7 tour de Frances, and you have the arch doctor Ferrari behind you, why would you ride clean? Because you think that the peloton is clean? Seems like more of a reason to dope either way. The man was the wrong side of 35 for his performances and I don't think his claim bears any scrutiny.

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