Tour champion sad to see blanks next to seven years of history
Reigning Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins, interviewed by Sky News, has called the USADA case file on Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Service team's doping conspiracy "pretty damning", but said he was not surprised by the "shocking" contents of its dossier.
"It's been coming for a long time, the evidence has been building slowly. It's pretty much three years now [since the investigation began] and it was always going to come to a head," Wiggins said. "It's been released and it's pretty damning stuff."
Responding to criticisms of the USADA case from Armstrong's attorneys, Wiggins said, "It's clear it's not a one-sided hatchet job."
Wiggins reluctantly took up the issue, acknowledging that he is expected to as the current Tour de France winner. "I've got to answer the questions, pick up the pieces, expect to be the voice of everyone behind me. Which I'm not happy about doing, but I understand why."
He hopes that his performance this year "is the future of cycling in this country and the future of our sport".
"That's where it moves forward. I would say a lot of this happened nearly 15 years ago, the sport has changed considerably and we're a big part of changing the sport."
Yet as a part of Tour de France history, Wiggins also finds it sad to think that there could be a blank space next to seven years of Tour palmares.
"I don't know what they do now - strip him of his titles and give it to the guy in second place who's already tested positive as well and been banned from the sport? Or give it to the third place who's already subsequently been gone? I think there was one report that in 2003 they'd have to go down to fifth place to award the victory
"It's a shame that the race that I won, this historical race, is probably going to be without a winner for those seven years, which is quite sad. What happens to those history books?"
In a separate video interview on Sky, Wiggins denies having ever raced against Armstrong at the Tour de France, clearly forgetting being 37 seconds off the podium behind the third placed Armstrong in 2009 - a position which he now stands to inherit.
Of the US Postal/Discovery Channel era, Wiggins said he "had a good idea of what was going on" at the time, and said he is part of ensuring that what happened in the past won't happen again. "As long as I keep banging that drum, and doing what I'm doing, I'm the example."
- Lance Armstrong