Phil Liggett says Verbruggen must leave the sport
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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Phil Liggett says Verbruggen must leave the sport

by Xylon van Eyck at 6:04 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
 
Says he had no reason not to believe Armstrong

Phil Liggett Lance ArmstrongCycling commentator Phil Liggett has been a vocal supporter of Lance Armstrong’s for some time, but now concedes that the proof is too strong against the American. The veteran commentator of 40 Tours de France told The Independent he never had any reason not to believe the Texan but after the doping revelations of a 1000 page dossier by the US Anti-Doping Agency, says he is staggered by what went on during that era.

“I hate the thought that I built these people into superstars in the minds of the public when they cheated,” said Liggett. “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.”

It was reported previously that Liggett had business dealings with Armstrong and that this was the possible reasons for publicly supporting the American. Liggett has denied any such involvement except for working at some Livestrong events.

"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."

Like Garmin-Sharp cyclist David Millar, Liggett says the sport needs to distance itself from former UCI president Hein Verbruggen, who was in charge of cycling during Armstrongs seven Tour de France victoires. Verbruggen in honorary president of the UCI right now.

"He has never walked away, and that is a mistake,” Liggett said. “He should have gone when his term [as president] ended but he didn't want to let go. We have got to see a new direction from the top and we've got to see them willing not to turn any sort of blind eye but to go in all guns firing to sort this out."

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