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Armstrong talks doping

By Simon Townley

There has to be co-operation at all levels if drugs in cycling are going to be beaten, Lance Armstrong said on Tuesday. "To fix the problem will require help on all levels: the government level, police level, governing body level, the rider's level … (it will need) harsher penalties, financial penalties," he said.

Armstrong, the seven time winner of the Tour who retired last year, who joined his former Discovery teammates at Alpe d'Huez on Monday's rest day, defended cycling's record in fighting drugs and said it was still the most beautiful sport.

"I think cycling does more than anybody else. I don't give a shit what people say, there is no sport that can say they have done what cycling has done," he said. "They have been very aggressive. I guess if there has been a cancer within the sport, we have to get rid of it. But show me another sport which has done what cycling has.

"It was a feeling of surprise, or shock when we heard about the suspensions just before the Tour; but also as a fan of cycling it is something when you look at you think: 'Oh … no, the sport doesn't need that. It's another punch in the face; but to be honest I wasn't (planning) on coming to the Tour de France. The only reason I did was because of what happened. And now I think it is time where fans of cycling have to stand up and say 'I am a fan'.

"In coming, I want to be supportive … not just for the team. Not just the race but for the sport of cycling. To me it is still the most beautiful sport there is. I don't have the answers, but I think slowly we are getting there."

Life without racing has meant readjustment for Armstrong but he still finds time for cycling. Apart from arriving for the Alps stages through to Paris, he was at the Tour of California, the Tour de Georgia and the Giro d'Italia.

"The retirement thing hasn't really worked out. I have been busier than ever. But I can't complain. I am working great. The Foundation work, we are making great strides there. Having a bit of fun. Playing with my kids," he said.

"A lot of work, different things, and new challenges. I work on my Foundation, a lot of work in Washington DC. Being a father. The last couple of years were difficult to have enough time to do that. I can't complain. I am happy."

And his tip for the race? "Floyd Landis."

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