Rider confessions came too late says five-time Tour winner
Former Tour de France winner Eddy Merckx has told the Belgian press that he is "sickened" by the events that have surrounded disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong after details of systematic doping at the US Postal team were revealed in USADA's Reasoned Decision report.
Arguably the greatest cyclist of all time, Merckx says those involved in providing the authorities with information should have done so sooner - coming clean and admitting their errors of the past comes too late says the once proud Armstrong supporter.
"I'm angry at the riders for speaking to investigators," Merckx said on Le Soir.
"Damn it, that they speak up at the time, at least that would be useful. Afterwards is too late. If a rider is concerned about questionable practices, it's his duty to speak up for the good of others."
Merckx had previously expressed his support of the former Tour winner however, with news the UCI handed Armstrong a lifetime ban in addition to stripping his seven Tour de France wins, the Belgian is left deeply disappointed with the state of the sport.
"Lance has been very correct all through his career," Merckx had told La Dernière Heure. "What more can he do? All of the controls that he has done - over 500 since 2000 - have come back negative. Either the controls don't serve any purpose or Armstrong was legit. The whole case is based on witnesses, it's deeply unjust."
Commenting after the UCI's release earlier in the week, Merckx said: "I'm sick, only for my sport. I met Lance many times, he never told me about doping, physicians or other things. He did not need to report to me, it was his problem but I fell into the trap. I am amazed at him, especially after what he went through." he told Le Soir.
- Lance Armstrong