News24

Armstrong was 'worth' it

2012-10-15 12:26

Adelaide - South Australia premier Jay Weatherill says his state got value for money from Lance Armstrong's participation in the Tour Down Under and the race remains prominent in cycling despite the doping allegations against the retired rider.

The US Anti-Doping Agency released a damning report last week containing testimony from former team-mates and other witnesses against Armstrong, and has ordered that he be stripped of his seven Tour de France titles. The international cycling federation is yet to indicate its next move.

Armstrong made a comeback to competitive cycling at the Adelaide race in 2009 and returned twice to the event.

The Australian Associated Press reported Weatherill saying the government would not ask for appearance money paid to Armstrong to be returned, and that the state had achieved its objective by increasing the profile of the race.

"It's had its profile raised. Its profile remains very prominent in the international community," Weatherill was quoted as saying Monday. "Our event stands very strongly, independent of these revelations.

"The Tour Down Under has an independent reputation for excellence among cyclists and the broader community."

Domestic media has reported the value of the race to the state economy more than doubled to $40 million due to Armstrong's participation.

Tour Down Under race director Mike Turtur said he couldn't comment on the USADA report but he didn't think the Tour Down Under would be tarnished.

"Our race is bigger than Lance Armstrong and any rider or any team," he was quoted as saying. "It's a race now that stands on its own two feet, clearly."

Among the people impacted by the release of the USADA report was Matt White, who quit as Cycling Australia's national road coordinator and from the Orica-GreenEdge team after admitting on the weekend that he doped while a pro rider.

The Australian Anti-Doping Agency said it started investigating White after becoming became aware of allegations from American rider Floyd Landis about White.

ASADA said it had been unable to pursue a thorough investigation of White at the time because of the USADA investigation into Armstrong.

"In 2010 ASADA became aware of allegations of doping made against Mr. White by the American cyclist Floyd Landis," ASADA said in a statement. "Due to the federal investigation in the United States ... ASADA was unable to obtain information to pursue a thorough investigation."

AP

Comments
  • brinkman.john - 2012-10-16 08:35

    Surely we must be close to the point now where we can say that to compete at the highest level in cycling you had to be using drugs of some sort or another, otherwise you were just not able to compete with the other riders? Has this changed at all or are people just using new ways of improving their performance that are not banned yet. Sounds a lot like Formula One if you ask me.

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