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Lance Armstrong reacts to French report into 1998 Tour positives

Lance Armstrong has reiterated a call for cycling to address its doping past in a collective and cooperative manner, telling Cyclingnews that "If we don't come together, have the conversation and draw a line in the sand and then move on, we're all screwed."

Armstrong was stripped of seven Tour titles, which he won from 1999 to 2005 after USADA's investigation in doping at US Postal.

In 1998 Armstrong was still recovering from cancer and missed that year's Tour before returning at the end of the season to finish fourth at the Vuelta and the Worlds. His first Tour was widely accepted at the time as the 'Tour of renewal' as cycling looked to turn a corner after the Festina affair. However this week the 1998 has returned to the front pages with the French Senate releasing a list of riders who tested positive for EPO during the race.

Contacted by Cyclingnews, he was asked for a reaction to the news that the French Senate released the names of riders who tested positive for EPO during the 1998 Tour. The list included several of Armstrong's rivals from the era, along with his one-time teammate Kevin Livingston.

"My initial reaction is that I am not surprised. As I have said, it was an unfortunate era for all of us and virtually all of us broke the rules, and lied about it," he told Cyclingnews.

"I will leave this up to other people and the passage of time to determine if the punishments doled out, or not, meet the crimes on any individual basis," he told Cyclingnews.

"I have not been contacted by anyone. I suspect in many ways they [WADA] are afraid of a TRC as it would fly in the face of the now famous talking point 'the most sophisticated doping program in the history of the world'". 

At the same time the ASO road book incorporated an advert from Festina, with former drug cheat Richard Virenque posing with a watch from the brand that once supported him. Of course the company and rider were synonymous with one of the Tour's darkest hours back in 1998.

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Daniel Benson
Daniel Benson

Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.