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Walsh says he ‘could not abandon’ friend who has pleaded guilty to six offences

Lance Armstrong isn’t exactly renowned for letting bygones be bygones. As such it perhaps shouldn’t be all that surprising that the former cyclist should express his delight at the news that David Walsh gave a character reference for a former Irish Times journalist who has been convicted of grooming and sexually abusing a teenage girl.

Independent.ie says it has heard from ‘a source’ that the letter was provided before Tom Humphries pleaded guilty to six offences, including the sexual exploitation and defilement of a child. He will be sentenced on October 24.

Walsh – the chief sports writer for the Sunday Times and author of Seven Deadly Sins about his pursuit of Armstrong – last week released a statement outlining why he had written a character reference for Humphries.

He explained: "The young girl whose trust Tom betrayed has suffered terribly from this crime. I wrote a personal character reference for Tom because we have been friends for 30 years and, despite the serious wrong he had done, I could not abandon him."

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Armstrong tweeted a link to the story, saying “This just warms my heart.”

Later, clearly regretting that wording, he added: “I was being facetious and in hindsight I regret it and am very sorry.”

But it was only the wording he regretted.

"His position is appalling and totally inexcusable,” he said of Walsh. "Having said that, it's not surprising. David does what David wants."

Armstrong then added: "Despite all of our differences, I say this knowing I have literally zero cred on issues regarding him."

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.