Greg LeMond has reiterated his belief that Lance Armstrong deserves his current doping ban. Armstrong was banned for life by the USADA in 2012 for his part in the US Postal doping scandal and was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles as a result. Armstrong later confessed to doping in January 2013 and chose not to fight the USADA’s charges relating to systematic doping.
LeMond is currently at the Tour Down Under in Adelaide, Australia and has had a long and turbulent relationship with the man who replaced him as America’s number one Tour rider. Armstrong turned professional just as LeMond began to wind down his career in the early 1990s but dramatically fell out when LeMond raised doubts over Armstrong’s credibility by stating, “If Armstrong's clean, it's the greatest comeback. And if he's not, then it's the greatest fraud,”
“We had a decent relationship, but since 2001 we’ve not had any relationship. I’m not one that holds a grudge but I’m also realistic with who I’m dealing with and he’s not really shown any remorse for what he’s done,” LeMond told members of the Australian press on the morning of the Tour Down Under’s third stage.
“That’s not about doping but about what he’s done to people’s lives, destroyed them. He took a good ten years out of my life. I'd be willing to talk to him under certain circumstances.”
When asked if Armstrong should see his ban reduced, LeMond stated his belief that the former US Postal leader should remain outside of the sport.
"If anyone deserves a life ban…. Ben Johnson got a life ban in 1988 and relative to that he wasn’t involved in the conspiracy to cover up stuff. I don’t think there’s ever been a cyclist who has ever been involved in that level of deception. It’s unfortunate.”
LeMond was asked if Armstrong should be considered for a reduction in his ban.
“What’s the point, so he can race amateur races? He can do his own races. If there’s anyone who deserved a ban it’s this guy. Otherwise what’s the point in rules. I believe everyone deserves a second chance but it’s like he was positive one time, admitted it and said he was sorry. It’s repeated cover-ups and bribes. There’s nothing like it in the history of cycling.”
LeMond also reiterated how Armstrong tried to force him out of the sport of cycling and pressured the likes of Trek, who at one point had a business relationship with LeMond, to drop him.
“Cycling was my life and it was a major attempt to make sure that I was excluded from it. Even from the tour de France at one point. That’s pretty hard when you have one guy really focused on eliminating you. It was very stressful but it’s really the way he treated me, and I and don’t like being threatened or bullied, so I was willing to risk everything.”
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Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both Cyclingnews.com and BikePerfect.com. Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has 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 runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.
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