Evans comments on Armstrong case, also speaks of frustration at suspicion hanging over riders
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Friday, November 16, 2012

Evans comments on Armstrong case, also speaks of frustration at suspicion hanging over riders

by VeloNation Press at 6:15 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Doping
 
2011 Tour winner applauds USADA’s investigation

Cadel EvansWhile he acknowledges that many questions are going to be asked about the sport after the Lance Armstrong/US Postal Service investigations, Cadel Evans has said that he is frustrated by any suggestions that every big rider has broken the rules or that they all have shadows over them.

“As a clean athlete and to be accused of being a drug cheat, personally it’s very offensive and very hard to take,” he said, speaking extensively for the first time since the Armstrong sanctions were handed down. “Maybe those people have a thing or two to learn about commitment, hard work, dedication and how far people can go with natural ability.”

Evans’ comments came in a Financial Review interview and there, looking back, he admitted that reflection shows that there were warning signs about Armstrong and his team-mates.

“I always said that not only was he the best Tour rider but he also had the best Tour team in history,” he explained. “But the fact that all of the riders in that team performed at such a high level during the crucial moments was always, well . . .”

He hints that Armstrong’s consistency was also something which was unusual. “The human body is not a finely tuned machine [and], even with meticulous preparation, things go wrong. But Lance was always able to overcome these and it was always at the right moment.”

“He went out there and won seven Tours and...with hindsight, they are not his any more. But now they are no one’s.”

Armstrong was stripped of his Tour titles by the US Anti Doping Agency, a sanction which was ultimately accepted by both the UCI and the World Anti-Doping Agency. Both had the right to appeal the verdict to the Court of Arbitration for Sport; both accepted USADA’s penalties and thus backed up the punishment.

The reaction from within the peloton has been mixed, with some riders saying that they still regard Armstrong as the rightful winner of those Tours. They show little indignation despite the years of deceit, but Evans is one of the riders who applauds the action.

“I have to say congratulations to the authorities who have done this,” he said. “If someone is thinking they can take drugs as a sports person, they are going to be very scared of this whole affair because fifteen years after they have won their race and passed their drug test they know it is possible they can be uncovered.

“There has been such a change in mentality in cycling now, and I think we have left that behind us, and that’s why I say to cycling fans, let’s not lose faith.”

Evans also commented on what was a tough Tour defence for him, particularly due to illness during the race. He was below par in the weeks after the Tour too, but believes he is over the virus which affected him during the season.

He also feels that the 2013 Tour de France route is one that suits him a lot more than this year’s did. He believes that last July’s race was ideal for Bradley Wiggins, but that next year’s can give him the chance to net a second Tour.

“The 2012 course really favoured [his] team, and Team Sky had a team perfectly suited to that course,” he said. “Next year I think it will be more like the 2011 one, where it is more likely decided in the final week.”

That was when Evans made his winning move, and it’s a position he hopes he’ll be in again next July.

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