Ashenden speaks about decision to walk away from Change Cycling Now after approach to Armstrong
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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ashenden speaks about decision to walk away from Change Cycling Now after approach to Armstrong

by Shane Stokes at 8:29 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
‘Armstrong is a reprehensible cheat and a despicable fraud. He has lied to people on their deathbeds, and he has lied under oath’

Michael AshendenRespected anti-doping scientist Michael Ashenden has confirmed that his decision to leave the Change Cycling Now pressure group is final, with approaches to Lance Armstrong being too much for him to accept.

The Australian informed CCN of his resignation in an email sent earlier today, saying that the decision by group member Antoine Vayer to contact Armstrong and request a meeting went against his belief in what the group should be about.

“It is clear to me that there are irreconcilable differences in the approaches used by CCN and myself. Put simply: I will not be associated with any group that seeks to meet with Lance Armstrong, with the obvious exception of USADA,” he stated in a letter seen early on Thursday by this website.

Communicating several hours later, he told VeloNation that his decision won’t be reversed, even if CCN now decided not to follow through on Vayer’s request to meet with Armstrong.

“I acknowledge that sometimes to get good things done you must get your hands dirty. It is a judgement call where to draw the line in terms of just how far you're willing to go,” Ashenden said. “On this particular issue Jaimie [CCN founder Jaimie Fuller – ed.] and I disagree. I respect his prerogative to go about things the way he feels is most likely to achieve the result, but there are some things which my sense of values and integrity will not allow me to do. Giving Armstrong a platform until he speaks to USADA under oath is one of those.”

Asked if he felt that Armstrong was getting more attention of late than he warranted, Ashenden was emphatic about that point. “Unquestionably,” he said. “He's wrecked the sport of cycling, he's incinerated his critics, and he's smeared his foundation. And he's still lying. Someone like that does not deserve a public voice.”

The Texan recently spoke about his doping case to Oprah Winfrey, admitting for the first time that he had used banned substances for most of his career. He said that he believed his lifetime ban was too harsh and that he would grab the chance to compete again.

USADA told Armstrong that any potential reduction in his sanction would only come if he gave substantial evidence to the agency under oath. However the former pro has thus far said that he will refuse to do so.

Ashenden sent VeloNation a statement laying out his detailed thoughts on the matter. It reads as follows:

“Armstrong is a reprehensible cheat and a despicable fraud. He has lied to people on their deathbeds, and he has lied under oath. So it came as no surprise to see more of the same during a recent soap opera talk show. Armstrong adopted the classic crook mentality of admitting only what had already been proven. There was not a single admission, not one revelation, that had not already been established within USADA's Reasoned Decision.

“Armstrong has until February 6th to meet with USADA and make a statement under oath. The situation cannot be any simpler for Armstrong, and his bobbing and weaving of that appointment with USADA is damning. Unless and until he does so, I cannot condone anyone, including Change Cycling Now, who provides him with a platform to whine.

“Therefore, as soon as it came to my attention that people within Change Cycling Now had approached Armstrong, my position within that movement became untenable. I immediately informed the group that I had withdrawn. However I also made it clear to the group that I continued to support what Change Cycling Now is seeking to achieve.”

He concluded by saying that he believed that he still shared similar aims to Fuller, notwithstanding their differences on this point.

“I admire Jaimie Fuller's tenacity, his willingness to put his money where his mouth is, and his courage to pick a fight with the International Cycling Union. I know that we both share as goals the truth, as well as the reformation of cycling. And I intend to continue on that path.”


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