Armstrong reactions: Triathletes and Gripper don’t want his return, Hammond speaks
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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Armstrong reactions: Triathletes and Gripper don’t want his return, Hammond speaks

by VeloNation Press at 7:09 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Former USADA chief Madden backs suggestion attempt at $250,000 donation was made

Lance ArmstrongAs the dust settles on the Oprah Winfrey interview with Lance Armstrong and his admission of long-term doping, reactions continue to come in from the sport of cycling and further afield.

The Texan is thought to want a reduction in his lifetime ban, perhaps to eight years, as per the WADA rules for those who cooperate and provide substantial evidence and information. If so, some have seen his questionable insistence that he stopped doping in 2005 as a bid to have his ban backdated to then and to resume competing later this year.

Any such reduction depends on him deciding to open up to USADA but, while that remains an uncertain prospect, two top triathletes have said that they hope he doesn’t get to come back.

Current Hawaii Ironman world champion Pete Jacobs believes that he would be a bad influence, and also that he would still have an advantage even if he stopped taking banned substances. “We are all done with the cheating and lies,” he told News Limited.

“The advantages, because he could train so much harder, are still there. That would be an unfair advantage. If the body is fitter, stronger, it is still effective. It (Armstrong's body) would have to retain some of that.”

As for former triple world champion Craig Alexander, he wants a lifetime ban introduced. “We need to draw a line in the sand and say 'no'. This is a great time to take stock and put new rules in place for zero tolerance."

Triathlon Australia chief executive Anne Gripper has made her opposition clear to the notion of him returning. That’s not based only on his admission to Winfrey, but also on the other aspects of his behaviour over the years.

“If he was just a drug cheat, I always believe you should do a sanction and have the right to come back to the sport,” she said. “He's not a drug cheat - he's a bully, he's a manipulator, he's been incredibly unfair to a whole lot of people and he's a dead-set liar.

“(He's) not a single, one-off liar, he's a pathological liar. I don't want those people in our sport.”

Armstrong returned to the sport during the time that Gripper worked for the UCI as its head of anti-doping. She later left the organisation and returned to her native Australia, where she took up her current position.

Meanwhile former Discovery Channel team rider Roger Hammond has said there should not be a presumption that everyone who rode on Johan Bruyneel’s teams followed the same path as the doped riders.

He competed there in 2005 and 2006, his first year overlapping with Armstrong’s last on the team.

“I'm one of the guys that rode with the Discovery Channel team that's looking forward to the investigations being made public so that people will now believe me. I didn't dope. I chose not to dope.

“I realised there was a lot of doping in cycling. And I got caught up in the fact that I couldn't win because everyone else was cheating.

“As an athlete that's a vicious circle. So you either join them and carry on with them. Or you go the other way and just concentrate on what you did yourself. And so I concentrated on myself. I asked myself what I could do to make myself as good as possible.”

That meant that he focussed on Classics and shorter stage races, only riding one Grand Tour in all his time in the pro peloton. He competed in the 2009 Vuelta a España but, other than that his career was oriented elsewhere, with third in the 2004 Paris-Roubaix being a standout.

Former USADA CEO backs Tygart claims about attempted Armstrong donation:

The former head of the US Anti Doping Agency Terry Madden has backed up the statement made by the current CEO Travis Tygart, who said that one of Armstrong’s representatives tried to make an inappropriate donation to the agency in 2004.

Asked by 60 Minutes Sports senior reporter Scott Pelley on January 9th if he would confirm that a sum of $250,000 was offered, Tygart said “it was around that ballpark.

“I was stunned,” he continued. “It was a clear conflict of interest for USADA. We had no hesitation in rejecting that offer.”

Armstrong disputed the claim during his long interview with Oprah Winfrey broadcast earlier this week.

“Certainly I had no knowledge of that. But I've asked around. Did anybody? Not true,” he said.

Contacted by AP, the now-retired Madden said that an Armstrong representative called Tygart to make the offer. He was then USADA's general counsel and told Madden what had happened.

“Then, 10 seconds later, because of our ethics, I told Travis to turn it down,” stated Madden. “We called back that representative and gave them our decision immediately. [The offer] was very, very strange and it was such an easy decision for us."

"It's very clear, we cannot accept gifts from people we're either currently testing or would be testing in the future.”

He told AP that he could not name the person in question because of the pending whistleblower case against Armstrong and others.


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