Doping charge a matter of time, says cyclist

IT was only a matter of time before seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong was charged for doping, according to one of Orange’s premier cyclists.

“I think a lot of people in cycling came to the realisation a year ago that Lance was doping,” Mick Troy said after the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) officially charged Armstrong with having used illicit performance enhancing drugs.

The results were based on blood samples from 2009 and 2010 as well as the testimony of other cyclists.

“But it was along with 80 to 90 per cent of the sport,” Mr Troy continued.

“It was a level playing field, it just wasn’t a natural one. You really take the results with a pinch of salt.

“Really, nearly all cyclists have been implicated in some drug scandal at some stage.”

To back Troy’s argument up, take a look at the 2005 Tour de France results.

It was the first time Australian champion Cadel Evans competed in the iconic race.

Evans finished eighth.

Armstrong won ahead of Italian Ivan Basso, German Jan Ullrich, Spaniard Francisco Macebo, London Olympic gold medallist Alexandre Vinokourov, American Levi Leipheimer and Denmark’s Michael Rasmussen.

Since 2005 and Armstrong’s failure to continue the fight to clear his name, all seven have been embroiled in some drug scandal, with Ullrich banned from the sport.

“You could nearly say Cadel won in 2005,” Mr Troy said.

“Albeit a hollow victory.”

Since the findings of the USADA, Armstrong issued this statement.

“There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say when enough is enough? For me, that time is now,” the now-disgraced champion wrote on his website.

“I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999 ... the toll this has taken on my family, and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today - finished with this nonsense.”

Although not doubting Armstrong’s standing in the sport and the ensuing body blow cycling would take as a result of the American’s life-time ban, Troy said the sport would bounce back.

“I look at some of the results lately, Cadel Evans, Brad Wiggins, the sport is getting cleaner. They’re not absolutely flying like they used to. Times riding up the mountain are now a minute slower than they once were,” he said.

“I still got up [on Wednesday] morning and went for a ride. I enjoy the mateship and the comradery too much. I love it.”

nick.mcgrath@ruralpress.com

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