"You lying bastard" - Bradley Wiggins rejects Lance Armstrong's claim he didn't dope post-comeback

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

by Simon_MacMichael   January 25, 2013  

Wiggins riding Arc de Triomphe

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.
 

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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.

posted by belgravedave [164 posts]
25th January 2013 - 12:34

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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.

mingmong's picture

posted by mingmong [188 posts]
25th January 2013 - 12:50

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He feels smug for winning clean?

You're supposed to win clean!!

TurboJoe

posted by TurboJoe [53 posts]
25th January 2013 - 12:59

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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.

_Karlos_'s picture

posted by _Karlos_ [65 posts]
25th January 2013 - 13:47

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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.

posted by Sam1 [212 posts]
25th January 2013 - 13:57

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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.

-Turning Cranks since 1962

posted by kevinscruggs [8 posts]
25th January 2013 - 14:05

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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....

posted by Huw Watkins [54 posts]
25th January 2013 - 14:19

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Some Fella wrote:
Didnt say anything at the time though did you Bradley?
Raised Eyebrow

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

posted by Bill McLaren [7 posts]
25th January 2013 - 14:26

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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.

Between the S and the LOW

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1186 posts]
25th January 2013 - 14:52

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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.

Rob Simmonds's picture

posted by Rob Simmonds [251 posts]
25th January 2013 - 16:10

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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?

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
25th January 2013 - 17:19

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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.

posted by Rushie [32 posts]
25th January 2013 - 17:35

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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.

posted by Sam1 [212 posts]
25th January 2013 - 17:45

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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...?

Between the S and the LOW

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1186 posts]
25th January 2013 - 18:23

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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.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1083 posts]
25th January 2013 - 18:55

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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 options open to UCI were to formally endorse the USADA Reasoned Decision and sanction, or reject it in whole.

The latter course would have led to years of court cases and instability which would in all likelihood have done irreparable damage to the sport.

UCI rejected some findings from pre-2009 - notably collusion - and anything from 2009 on, but they endorsed USADA without taking appealing the decision to CAS.

I think it's the only thing they could have done in the circumstances.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [7910 posts]
25th January 2013 - 19:22

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bikeboy76 wrote:
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...?


Not quite what I was getting at. The UCI (the only organisation that could) have stripped Armstrong of his 2009 third place even though THEY say he was clean at the time. They cannot say they do not accept USADA's findings, and at the same time impose a disqualification based on them.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
25th January 2013 - 19:26

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Simon_MacMichael wrote:
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 options open to UCI were to formally endorse the USADA Reasoned Decision and sanction, or reject it in whole or part.

The latter course would have led to years of court cases and instability which would in all likelihood have done irreparable damage to the sport.

UCI rejected some findings from pre-2009 - notably collusion - and anything from 2009 on, but they endorsed USADA without taking anything to CAS.

I think it's the only thing they could have done in the circumstances.


Yes but one cannot reject and endorse simultaneously! I've obviously missed something here.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
25th January 2013 - 19:36

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Sam1 wrote:
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.


If I was JV and had spent a Tour with Wiggy playing the doe-eyed fanboy I think I'd be pretty hacked off to read that recent interview. As for JV talking out of turn - I disagree completely. We need more people prepared to speak their mind and directly address the stuff he does, not less.

Chuffy's picture

posted by Chuffy [183 posts]
25th January 2013 - 19:43

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pathetic

posted by dino [57 posts]
25th January 2013 - 19:51

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Wiggo bashers really do my head in

posted by bobabob [1 posts]
25th January 2013 - 21:36

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For God's sake, let it be, move on and leave Sir Bradley of Wiggins alone

posted by Littlesox [89 posts]
25th January 2013 - 22:36

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I wonder 5 years down the road, when doping test catch up to the current peloton drugs of choice, which cycling legends will be giving interveiws and seeking forgiveness. Put no faith in man for it is folly. Surprise

Michael R. Smith

posted by American tifosi [37 posts]
25th January 2013 - 23:14

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I've read Wiggo's (okay, Will Fotheringham's) book, and then this article, and admit to being a convert of Brad Wiggins and the approach. But I just feel there is such a let down and paradox with why this is all said now and not long long ago. What possible consequence in Junly 2009 there would have been for Wiggo to say then that he thought Armstrong was doping. It was a win-win, surely ??

A law suit fear?? Not very Wiggins, surely? But it's the only thing I can deduce.

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posted by minnellium [78 posts]
26th January 2013 - 0:12

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Too little too late.
Needs a better PR spinner.
"watching him suddenly cave in after all these years of lying so CONVINCINGLY, there was a lot of anger, a lot of sadness"
Has he been living under a rock? Who else was convinced by Armstrong? Not himself, it seems:
"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."
Which begs the question, why all the pro Armstrong statements between then and now? Thinking

posted by imaca [41 posts]
26th January 2013 - 10:03

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I've always wondered if Contador was clean and that Wiggo should have had 2nd place?

tommy2p

posted by tommy2p [84 posts]
26th January 2013 - 15:52

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Ah, wondering. If only that was all that was needed.

posted by andyp [796 posts]
26th January 2013 - 16:03

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Simon,

Little nitpick:

UCI did not have the option to pick and choose which bits of the USADA sanctions they wanted to honour. The UCI had only decision, to appeal or not. Then it would have been down to CAS to decide, after hearing submissions from USADA and UCI.

posted by Paul J [558 posts]
26th January 2013 - 23:09

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PaulJ - My bad, you're quite right... comment amended.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [7910 posts]
26th January 2013 - 23:31

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Bradley Wiggins now stating he has no sympathy for the Cheating S...B.. (consider Filipo Simeoni and how said S...B.. treated him)
And yet it has taken him this long to speak out on this.
When BW was ejected from the tour when a a team mate cheated he called a press conference immediately on his return to England. Mouthing off how they should all be ejected from the sport, I think his words were 'get them out of the sport'.

posted by harry01 [15 posts]
28th January 2013 - 11:22

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