Speaking to selected media high in the Swiss mountains, Cancellara moved to take the moral high ground, criticising Armstrong and the riders of his generation. He distanced himself from the Belgian team manager but praised RadioShack-Nissan-Trek team owner Flavio Becca.
Cancellara said that he has not read the 202 pages of the USADA Reasoned Decision but is aware of the contents.
"It reads like a book. I hear that in 200 pages Bruyneel’s name appears 129 times. I want to know what happened. But I don’t know what the future brings. Neither for Bruyneel or for the team. It’s not in my hands,” Cancellara is reported as saying in the Het Laatste Nieuws newspaper.
“I do not know how owner Flavio Becca will react. He hasn’t experienced any problems with his team in the last two years. He’s lost money, not won and now has a bad image. Every normal businessman would throw in the towel, but I do not think Becca will.”
Last of the Mohicans
Cancellara reportedly tried to break his 2013 contract with RadioShack-Nissan but opted to stay in the troubled team. The multiple Classics winner and former world time trial champion has been a professional since 2000. He was part of the Mapei development team before riding for Fassa Bortolo between 2003 and 2005. He teamed up with Bjarne Riis at Team CSC between 2006-2010 and joined Leopard-Trek in 2011.
Cancellara has rubbed shoulders with Armstrong during his career but was critical of the Texan after hearing of the damning doping accusations in the USADA report.
“Lance was apparently a systematic doper. He doped on a scale that cycling has never seen before. He has really destroyed a lot,” Cancellara is reported as saying.
“I hope that Armstrong is the last of the Mohicans, that he’s the last of the Ullrich, Basso, Landis, Heras generation. If you drive too fast, you pay the penalty. Lance must now live with the consequences of what he did,” the Swiss rider continued.
"Today riders are again paying the price for what went wrong six or seven years ago. That's not fair. Lance has ensured that the early years of my career were wasted years. I hope that this time is finally behind us. It will not happen immediately, it takes time but it should happen.”
The Swiss rider continued by saying that he was hopeful the times were changing for the better. "Now I understand how US Postal was able to put eight or nine riders in the front on a mountain stage and drop all the others. In the 'golden years' it was all very simple, it was 'training and loading, training and loading. 'Loading', that's the term the riders use when they talk about doping. Nowadays, we work differently, more professionally, with more attention to detail. That's the cycling I believe in, not 'training and loading'. It's changed."
Cancellara confirmed that he will soon start his pre-season build-up after a difficult and injury affected 2012 programme. He fractured his collarbone at the Tour of Flanders, crashed in the Olympic road race and finished seventh in the Olympic time trial. He ended his season just after the Olympics.
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