News24

Armstrong's coach hits out

2012-08-24 12:44

London - Lance Armstrong, who is poised to be stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after relinquishing his fight against drug charges, has received backing from his former team boss Johan Bruyneel.

"Today I am disappointed for Lance and for cycling in general, that things have reached such a point that Lance has had enough and no longer wants to challenge the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) campaign against him," said Bruyneel.

"Lance has never withdrawn from a fair fight in his life so his decision today underlines what an unjust process this has been," he said on his website johanbruyneel.com

Bruyneel was speaking hours after his friend, winner of the Tour between 1999 and 2005, dropped his challenge against the long-running campaign to prove he had used drugs while at the same time reaffirming his innocence.

The USADA has accused Bruyneel of involvement in systematic doping in his former role as sporting director of US Postal and Discovery Channel for whom Armstrong rode when winning his seven Tour titles.

"I hope that it will soon be determined that the case that USADA initiated against me should never have gotten as far as it has," the Belgian former Tour de France stage winner added.

"Due to the sensitive nature of legal proceedings, I have been advised that it would be inappropriate for me to comment further at this stage."

In contrast, five-time Tour de France champion Bernard Hinault was unsympathetic to Armstrong's plight.

"I couldn't give a damn," the French cycling icon who won the Tour in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982 and 1985, told ouest-france.fr. "It's his problem, not mine. This is a problem that should have been sorted out 10 or 15 years ago but which never was."

The dramatic developments on Thursday also triggered reaction from sports stars outside cycling.

Jenson Button, Formula One champion in 2009 for McLaren, wrote on Twitter: "Guilty or not the worst part is it hurts the sport of cycling."

That sentiment was echoed by Mike Tindall, the former England rugby captain and 2003 World Cup winner.

He tweeted: "The biggest loser in the Lance Armstrong affair is the sport of cycling to try and change results over the 15 years seems ridiculous".

Another England rugby international, Danny Cipriani, paid tribute to Armstrong's charity work.

"Lance Armstrong could be guilty or not... The charity work he has done is amazing. Raising over $500million for cancer. Serious witch hunt!" he wrote.

AFP

Comments
  • keith.gough - 2012-08-24 13:40

    Have all the East German and Russian and Chinese olympic records and results been expunged. To me this reeks of a personal vendetta and a witch hunt. The allegations are still hearsay and circumstantial.

      bernard.ingram - 2012-08-24 17:09

      you hit the nail on the head

  • Stormkaap - 2012-08-24 14:24

    Johan what you should be disappointed about is the fact so many cyclists dope. And that it has got to the stage where one cannot distinguish who is clean or not. How about the doc that Lance had that was known to be a doping specialist. Stop blaming the Cycling Federation make sure the cyclists on your team is clean then we wont have this mess!

      bernard.ingram - 2012-08-24 17:21

      yeah Stormvaak, again your argument reminds me of a drunken Frenchman trying to speak Spanish, but sounding like a Portuguese instead. Those vitamins you are taking as supplements, those energy drinks you use to boost you are filled with illegal and enhancing substances. So you see, anything you take to supplement your body is illegal. What the cyclists did is use something to give them a boost, just like you do when you drink a Red Bull when you feel a bit low. They need a boost, because it is such a demanding sport. What they used were mostly not on the banned list, so it was legal to use at that time. For the USADA to pronounce something illegal 15 years later without a positive sample is just ridiculous. You cannot change laws retrospectively. Then again, you are Stormvaak, so you just rely on circumstantial evidence, like your Stormers team, who are circumstantially mooted to be Super Rugby title holders.

  • bernard.ingram - 2012-08-24 17:44

    "Armstrong's coach hits out" "..former team boss Johan Bruyneel." Typical "journalistic writing" from this site.

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