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Phil Liggett: "They all seemed to have been cheating"

Having long fought Armstrong's corner he is slowly coming round to the allegations...

One of Lance Armstrong's most loyal supporters has said that he is slowly coming to the realisation that his hero was involved in doping.

Phil Liggett, who in August claimed that Lance Armstrong was the victim of a conspiracy after USADA imposed its life ban on him, had hinted that he was yet to be convinced of Lance's guilt.

But in an interview in the Independent this weekend, Liggett, veteran of some 40 editions of the Tour de France first as a journalist and more recently as a commentator, who is for many the ‘voice of cycling.’ appeared to have changed his mind.

"I hate the thought that I built these people into superstars in the minds of the public when they cheated," he said. "But if you look deeper down, they all seemed to have been cheating.

"I'm totally bemused by the whole thing now. I cannot believe it was so endemic – I didn't know it was going on.

"I'm not a friend of Lance's but I have been close to him in that I have worked with him on his cancer gigs. I have seen the other side of him when he has been so deeply embroiled in fighting cancer and helping others fight it. His other side is of course pretty evident too – that the whole team has taken drugs to succeed.

"He told me to my face in 2003 that he didn't do drugs. His words to me were that he'd been on his deathbed and he wasn't going back. I had no reason not to believe him."

Previously, Liggett had said that USADA was a "nefarious local drugs agency," claiming among other things that pressure had been put on potential witnesses and bribes offered to them.

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

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