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LeMond: Armstrong was a top-30 Tour rider at best

Cycling News
October 22, 2013, 11:58,
October 22, 2013, 12:41
Second Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Three-time Tour winner Greg LeMond could do without the UCI

Three-time Tour winner Greg LeMond could do without the UCI

  • Three-time Tour winner Greg LeMond could do without the UCI
  • Greg Lemond after winning the 1990 Tour de France.
  • Greg LeMond

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American interviewed by CNN

Greg LeMond believes that without doping and on a truly level playing field, Lance Armstrong would have been capable only of a top-30 finish at the Tour de France at best.

In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper aired on Monday night, LeMond denounced Armstrong as a bully and a thug, and said that Armstrong should face jail for doping and corruption, which he believes constitute criminal as well as sporting infractions. LeMond is officially the only American to have won the Tour de France after Armstrong's seven victories were erased from the record books.

“I know his physical capabilities, he's a top-30 [Tour finisher] at best no matter what. If he's clean, everybody's clean, he's a top-30 at best. He's not capable of winning the Tour, he's not capable of the top five,” LeMond told CNN.

LeMond dismissed Armstrong’s claim in a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey earlier this year, in which he said that he doped simply to level the playing field, and accused him of collusion. “He couldn't race on a level playing field. That's why he bribed the governing body,” LeMond said.

Armstrong and his US Postal Service team were the subject of a federal investigation led by Jeff Novitzky that ended in February 2012, although much of the evidence amassed was later used by USADA in its sporting case against Armstrong and led to a life ban and the stripping of his seven Tour de France titles.

After describing Armstrong’s activities as “criminal,” LeMond was asked if he believed the Texan should be jailed.

“I do, yeah. There is a point where there are people who are just not good,” LeMond said “There are people who are criminals who just shouldn't be able to participate again in anything. It's like Bernie Madoff - should he be allowed to come in and be a part of Wall Street managing money? No, he shouldn't. And that's [the case] with Armstrong. He shouldn't be allowed to be back in sport.”

In the lengthy interview, LeMond also described his first meeting with Armstrong after winning the third of his Tours de France in 1990, and revealed that he had inadvertently offended the then 19-year-old.

“I met Lance in the wind tunnel in, I think, 1990. I had just won the Tour and was aware that some young riders might be nervous to meet me and I jokingly said that he looked like more of a football player than a cyclist. My wife said he didn't take it well,” LeMond said.

LeMond denounced Armstrong for using his recovery from cancer and his subsequent fundraising efforts as something of a screen with which to mask his doping programme.

“That was actually the thing that got me the most was that he manipulated the cancer community,” LeMond said. “It was like Teflon. He used the money, he used the foundation to not only cover for him but also destroy people.”

LeMond also revisited the 2001 incident in which Armstrong – under fire for his relationship with Dr. Michele Ferrari – threatened to unearth claims that LeMond had used EPO during his career.

“He did offer $300,000 to a teammate to say that I took EPO, and the guy refused. And this was a guy that could have used the money,” LeMond said, adding of Armstrong: “He's a bully, he's a thug to me and I'm the one that wouldn't put up with it.”




FabiquesAnquetillara More than 1 year ago
I like Greg Lemond, I always did. But I do not get this. He is cycling legend, why on earth, when interviewed at any occasion it is always about Lance? He does not need that. He has enough of his own to talk about. I understand the clash between him and LA. I understand Lemond was dragged through mud by LA, bullied, finanicaly beaten, rendered as jealous idiot by LA PR squad and Lemond was right, all along, all those years. Lemond was right about LA. But especially for that and moreover, now it is time for Greg to let it go and with pride and dignity when asked about Lance, just say: "All has been told, I have no further comment about him." Greg won their conflict, Greg was right. No need to dig in the mud. There are other people, other authorites that should (and in some cases are legaly obliged) to deal with Lance and Lance's mess. This constant going and going about Lance from Lemond is pointless and silly. Not "stylish".
brian meahan More than 1 year ago
It was an excerpt of an interview in which he was asked about LA.
heaths1 More than 1 year ago
I agree too with this analysis. But I also think that what Lemond said is bad for another reason: it really cheapens or diminishes racing. I've never raced, but I've grown to love cycling as a sport because it is so much more than just athletic ability. To win 7 years in a row requires more than doping; what about the strategic planning, tactical brilliance, teamwork, handling skills, bravery/guts, equipment design, etc that it takes to win at this level? (reference Team Sky). Heck, what about the LUCK?! How do you not crash out or get tangled up with dog leashes or whatev for 7 straight years and ~15,000 miles? You need to have the total package to win. To say that Lance, as bad as he is, is just top 30 implies to the general public that it is only about physical conditioning, and I just don't believe that. Cycling is a brilliant sport, and saying stuff like this diminishes the brilliance. I hope Greg can chillax a bit. For his own peace of mind, and for the sport as well.
TheFred More than 1 year ago
FA, the answer to your question, "why", is found in Greg's childhood. His molestation (ie incestuous hom$exual paedophilia and s0domy) shaped his life. Tragedy turned to triumph as his emotions found a physical outlet and he conquered the world athletically. Sadly, he is unable to shake his demons of the past, or even have a healthy self-analysis, so what you're seeing now is just a different manifestation of the internal pain he's suffered through his entire life.
Silver Bullet More than 1 year ago
When Fred was little, a certain Lance would come over from the neighbouring trailer, and he would take little freddy into the woods. Lance would stroke him a tickle him, make him feel loved when his real parents were permanently high. When freddy would let lance inside him, sometimes lance would even give him a ride on his bike. This made freddy feel so special that he would always apologise for lance, regardless of the relatively rationality of his detractors. Hows that for some amateur psychoanalysis fred?
Chrono More than 1 year ago
What a creep of a post by TheFred - offering up smug psychoanalysis from on high of the effects of Greg LeMond's abuse as a child. Someone who does that in my book has to do a lot of crawling just to raise themselves as high as the gutter. Close to the most despicable thing I've come across on this site.
Chuck_T More than 1 year ago
Fred that's a low post.
TheFred More than 1 year ago
Silver, chuck, and chrono, Obviously you didn't watch the interview. It was the first thing LeMond talked about. I was answering FA's question as to why LeMond behaves the way he does. And no, I'm not an amateur.
Chrono More than 1 year ago
I couldn't give a monkey's if you're an "amateur", though if you're a pro it's probably all the more damning to smugly reduce someone with such experiences to a couple of sentences on a public forum.
TheFred More than 1 year ago
Chrono, there is no smug tone. Apparently you, nor the others, even watched the interview to which you comment. If you had, you'd know that the first thing they discussed was Greg's childhood experience which drove him toward the extreme athletics. To be repetitive, FA asked "why" and this is what is behind all of Greg's self destructive behavior, including this interview. Sadly, Greg is not alone. Throughout history, many of the greatest achievements have been by men who had suffered some great tragedy early in life; it is the reason for their striving. As much as people hate Lance, he is in the same boat, driven by a tragic childhood.
Chrono More than 1 year ago
Maybe & even probably your post is in earnest, but there is huge smugness in imagining people and their whole inner lives can be so easily known, reduced to a category in your database. Our own inner lives can be deeply mysterious to us but someone we barely, if at all, know are so simple as to be reducible to matchbox sized analysis. I supose you have Eddy Merckx's ferocious will to win similarly explained as nothing but some traumatic need, as well as every other champion.
azureskies More than 1 year ago
I would not be so graphic as Fred , but the traumas Lance and Greg experienced in their lives shaped their extreme focus on their athletic abilities, in a tough painful sport.
TheFred More than 1 year ago
Yes, you're right. They are not too dissimilar. Brutal childhoods were the catalyst for their extreme athletic outlet.
arlobike More than 1 year ago
It's not LeMond's fault if CNN isn't asking him about his 1983 World's win or his rivalry with Hinault. The Armstrong questions are what interest mainstream viewers. I suppose LeMond could refuse all interviews that deal with Armstrong, but why should he?
LeeOliver More than 1 year ago
No, I saw VO2max data for Armstrong in the 90s, and while it cannot be verified as accurate, he simply didn't have the same sort of aerobic power as LeMond. It was less than 80ml/kg/min I think. LeMond's was one of the highest ever record at around 90, as was Boardman's (fact) and possibly Indurain's. That is why LeMond always knew the times and power outputs were dubious to say the least.
haciendoelcuchillo More than 1 year ago
Exactly, LeeOliver. I agree. More than 1 year ago
Yeah, I administered some of those tests and when I saw the numbers that carmichael was spouting off in the late 90's, well, it was quite a shock. Actually, I tested a lot of the nat team member in the mid - late 90s and while Lance was one of the best in the lab, he certainly wasn't the best by a long shot and no where near the numbers that were made public by carmichael.
jnroyal More than 1 year ago
"No, I saw VO2max data for Armstrong in the 90s, and while it cannot be verified as accurate, he simply didn't have the same sort of aerobic power as LeMond. It was less than 80ml/kg/min I think. LeMond's was one of the highest ever record at around 90, as was Boardman's (fact) and possibly Indurain's. That is why LeMond always knew the times and power outputs were dubious to say the least." ^^^THIS^^^ We like to believe that anyone can succeed given enough hardwork and dedication, but no amount of training can make up for bad genetics. EPO can go a long way toward covering up those bad genetics.
bing181 More than 1 year ago
This? What this. How about some actual figures instead of "I saw some data". And everyone jumps on it as some kind of proof of something. Available data lists Lemond at 92.5, Indurain at 88. I have no idea where you get your "less than 80" for Armstrong, because it's always been widely reported as being anything from 84 to 88, usually 85. LA had very high figures. FWIW, highest published VO2 Max in the current peloton is Boasson Hagen at 86.4, though all that pales next to Hinault, who claims to have had a VO2 Max of 93 .... and 86 in the off-season(!). More than 1 year ago
I saw the numbers and help generate some of them. I never saw anything close to 84 for a minute VO2 test. Maybe some breath to breath values were that high but that is not how VO2 max is traditionally measured.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
VO2 max mean nothing
sleepwell More than 1 year ago
Lemond doped. Almost every rider he beat on the way to his so called TDF wins has come out as a doper. Didn't he use that same argument against Lance Armstrong? He is only making a bad situation worse with all these stupid interviews. It is his way to stay relevant.
Norman Gillan More than 1 year ago
not sure if you'e been following recent developments...its mr armstrong who is in the bad situation...greg's just speaking in the land of free speech...enjoy....
sleepwell More than 1 year ago
Every dog has his day. Lemond is a huge fraud too. He at some point will be exposed as the cheat he was. Like Armstrong everyone the Lemond beat has admitted to doping. I think one thing we did learn with the USPS is that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it is a duck.
Stalky More than 1 year ago
those are some strong assumptions and accusations
Chrono More than 1 year ago
20 years or so since LeMond's career ended. Not even a hint of exposure yet. Enjoy the wait.
sbroaddus More than 1 year ago
sounds like sleepwell needs to wake up. this is not the place to toss around garbage that won't stick to the wall.
antmills More than 1 year ago
.... sleepwell ..... What a load of B***OCKs!
sleepwell More than 1 year ago
Beat doper on natural talent? Have we not come to the conclusion that is not possible?
NashbarShorts More than 1 year ago
When did EPO and similar oxygen-vector drugs become commercially available?
Brokenman More than 1 year ago
No one doubts that doping occurred for years in cycling including the LeMond era. However, there was quite a difference when EPO was introduced. From all the recent information, it is apparent that EPO made someone a different rider. I believe LeMond when he describes how the peloton became inexplicably faster in the early 90s and he may be resentful how prevalent EPO may have cost him early retirement or even more tour wins. Still, to anyone that believes that LeMond was squeaky clean, please explain to me his miraculous recovery from anemia in the 1989 Giro after his soigneur, Otto, gave him injections of “iron”.
azureskies More than 1 year ago
I agree broken man. I believe that Greg had 4 more tour wins in him, 1, the first stolen from him by Hinault, 2 and three, the years taken from him by his gunshot wound, and possibly more stolen from him by EPOfueled racers like Chiappuchi. Still, I hope for Gregs' sake he can forgive, better for him, and better for cycling, as everything he says, although true, is most damaging to the sport of cycling.
1CameronMurray More than 1 year ago
jeez, you really are a bell-end!
kenlep44 More than 1 year ago
sleepwell you are so totally right. if anyone thinks the riders of the 80's were clean then you are all on some sort of drugs yourself
Chrono More than 1 year ago
And since LeMond went from a world-beater to an also-ran once EPO hit the peloton, what does this tell us about LeMond's willingness to dope? Interesting that those who probably went into rages & were Armstrong's biggest defenders against allegations of doping now are angry at the thought that everyone didn't dope. Also those same people are most likely to be American but they hate a genuine US champion. All very sad & messed up.
NashbarShorts More than 1 year ago
Well said!!
chechu More than 1 year ago
Seems to me it's Lemond who needs to have some serious councelling about his obsession
ianfra More than 1 year ago
Not an obsession. Lemond was asked a series of questions and he answered them, revealing more truths about LA. Not an obsessive at all.
azureskies More than 1 year ago
Thanks Betsy,
Matthew Lab More than 1 year ago
aka, fugs.
Norman Gillan More than 1 year ago
....maybe when he resorts to fraud, blackmail and extortion we can call it an obsession. Until then, maybe you should focus on your hero's 'issues'...
NashbarShorts More than 1 year ago
Chechu somebody just offered me 300K to say that you're an askhole -- and I accepted.
Francisco Firmino More than 1 year ago
LeMond is a saint!!!!!!!!!!!!1
Doug Park More than 1 year ago
I still find it amazing that in a an age when doping was rampant with no testing that Greg Lemond actually is calling himself above all this. to get to where he was and all he had no other way, his talents weren't that good....maybe top 30
Norman Gillan More than 1 year ago
such insight must have missed the coors, the junior worlds, sarthe, avenir and all the other stand out performances of the the young lemond....
Doug Park More than 1 year ago
but that goes to all the riders Lemond is accusing of being dopers and all the time he is saying he never did anything....i cant imagine that he was winning tours in a time that doping was the standard he wasn't, cant see him being truthful. They all did and they are just accusing a few....i meet Greg and he never looked you in the Eye and did talk to you just at you. I meet Lance and he looked you in the eye and talk to you. Lemond has blamed other people for his company issue but if the company plan doesn't make sense stop it....simple. My brother was dying of cancer and lance took time almost weekly to check up on him and even to contact his wide on the day he died, amazing person and true hero. and lance has at least admitted to doping and not to place blame on everyone else. He could have taken down the world of cycling including past champions.
NashbarShorts More than 1 year ago
So clearly -- the person who makes eye contact while speaking to you is clearly a LIAR and a sociopath who tries to destroy people's personal lives...and also feels making millions while lying to the cancer communtiy is an acceptable business model. That's just great. Think I'll chose the guy who doesn't make eye contact. :(
FrancoisC More than 1 year ago
Self righteous piece of ... Lemond is just as much a cheat... and if anything he's worse since he lies still to this day... at least Armstrong has come out!
Chrono More than 1 year ago
Posts like this give me a good laugh. Hilarious to think of such triumphant delusions reduced to flames of futile rage.
Stalky More than 1 year ago
Your eloquence makes my stomach tend towards turmoil.
Chrono More than 1 year ago
Congrats Stalky on spelling eloquence correctly. Got to hand it to you. Shows that not every laughable Armstrong fan-in-mourning is an illiterate redneck.
NashbarShorts More than 1 year ago
It's time to finally put your USPostal kit up on eBay.
Pokerface07 More than 1 year ago
Wow. There are a lot of angry, bitter, ignorant people here. Your hero Lance has been knocked off his pedestal so the next logical step seems to try and lump one of his biggest critics in with him? If Lemond had been doping, don't you think it would have come out by now? And would he have spent a large part of his career post-racing trying to bring down other dopers if he had? Don't you think he would have sat by with his mouth closed if he himself had something to hide?
haciendoelcuchillo More than 1 year ago
Well said, Pokerface.
kenlep44 More than 1 year ago
poker face seriously Lemond knows there is no chance he will get caught there was no testing no blood samples taken nothing. he can get away with lying as much as he wants. Of course no one knows for sure but really the 80's were doped to the gills in every other sport but you think that cycling wasnt? Look at video of that era the size of the riders legs were way the hell bigger than they are now. that reeks of steroids. wich were the drugs of chice in the 80's
go crazy More than 1 year ago
You mean like how Indurain is still considered clean? LOL. If Lemond doped, it would have been easy to get away with.
velogeek More than 1 year ago
You should realize that Lance also sent many years after his TdF victories before he was outed definitively, and he also spent a large part of his post-career trying to bring down other dopers. In his case, of course, it was in defense of his ill-gotten money and fame, but Lemond himself has a bike company and the image of being one of the greatest riders of our time. Not trying to say Lemond doped and pursued Armstrong for the sake of defense of his business image. I very much doubt it. I'm just trying to point out that this line of argument is fallacious.
Brian Handy More than 1 year ago
If if if... We can never really know exactly where Lance would have stacked up in a mostly clean peloton. We all know the fact that no one was given those Tour titles speaks louder than anyone or anything else. And Lemond can take long off a short peer, for all I care.
KonaDan More than 1 year ago
I have to agree. For one, I live in Kona and I've seen LA training as a triathlete. Do that first, then try and tell me "top 30 at best." BS. One incredible athlete: swimmer, rider, and when he went to work on it, a runner too. Failings? Those too, but who among us lacks those, other than Greg Lemond (apparently)? No ... to say his natural talent was mediocre and to say he belongs in jail? That reeks of jealousy, and ignores reality.
the vagabond More than 1 year ago
But today Armstrong looks like an athlete and LeMond looks like a washed-up old football player.
wrinklyvet More than 1 year ago
Lemond is ten years older. Give him a break! He's a bit wrinkly but I wouldn't be upset about that!
TheFred More than 1 year ago
Lemond is self destructive. His bad appearance goes far beyond the pock marks and wrinkles. He is completely out of shape, overweight, and has aged excessively. He is seen swigging a soda during the interview; clearly he has completely let himself go. But he's always been like that. It was his fault he got shot. He was hunting with someone who does not know gun safety (ie never point or fire until you can 100% identify your target and what is beyond the target in the line of fire). Furthermore, while other euro racers were stoically racing, Lemond was jetting around playing like a rock star; if he had been where he should have, it wouldn't have happened. I don't hate Greg. I've known him for a long, long time. He's always been a nutter (but who wouldn't be after what he went through?). Funny thing is, people identify with athletes and love or hate them based on their perception of who they are. Why not just enjoy the spectacle? After all, every one of them who make it to the top of the world are out of balance personally. The mere fact that they have clawed to the top of the heap shows an unhealthy absorption with self. They are fulfilling their own personal obsessions and we get to watch the performance. They are entertainers, not heros.
cantpedal More than 1 year ago
walk around with shotgun pellets (lead) in the lining for your heart for 25 years and see how you look and feel