Italian national coach: "Lance, speak out. Spit it out"
Italian national coach and former world and Olympic champion Paolo Bettini has called on Lance Armstrong to confess to his doping past so that professional cycling can start afresh.
Bettini raced between 1997 and 2008, when EPO use was rampant in the peloton. He won numerous classics, two world titles in 2006 and 2007 and gold in the road race at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. He took over from the late Franco Ballerini as Italian national coach in 2010 and hopes to become the manager of the Italian nation teams after next week's Italian Cycling Federation elections, while Max Scanidri would become national professional coach and team selector.
Bettini called on Armstrong to confess after a report in the New York Times suggested that the Texan may have talked to associates and anti-doping officials about publicly admitting that he used banned performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions during his cycling career.
"It's true, the show must go on, as they, but it (cycling) has got to be credible and an eventual confession by the American could be the chance to cancel everything that happened in the past and start all over again," Bettini is reported as saying in the Italian La Repubblica newspaper.
"Armstrong's got to do it. All the evidence points in one direction: against him. He didn’t defend himself against the accusations thinking he'd left the world of cycling. But I can tell him as an ex-rider, this is his world and you can never just leave like that."
Bettini also confirmed that he is favour of some kind of amnesty or truth and reconciliation commission, without indicating if he had anything to confess about his professional career.
"The really serious thing is that what happened has revealed that the whole system is crooked, at every level. Some people have talked about an amnesty. I'm in favour if everything comes out," Bettini said.
"Lets get rid of who we have to get rid of and start all over again. I don’t really believe in confessions in sport but if it helps put an end to this vicious circle then I welcome it. Lance, speak out. Spit it out. It'd be good for him and for all of us."