Lance Armstrong: 'I'm the fall guy in cycling dope scandal'
Shamed American goes from 'penitent confessor to scapegoat', claiming the sport has never been clean
DISGRACED cyclist Lance Armstrong is back on the attack. Two weeks after admitting on the Oprah Winfrey show that he cheated his way to seven Tour de France titles, the Texan has now claimed that no generation of cyclists has ever been clean and that he has been made the scapegoat in the fight against doping.
In an interview with Cycling News, Armstrong suggested that he had been subjected to a "public lynching" and branded the sport's governing body, the UCI, "pathetic". He also said the sport attracted "tough motherf***ers" who would look for any way to gain an advantage.
He declared that the only way forward for cycling was a truth and reconciliation commission, without involvement from the UCI, and said that any living cyclist who ever made the podium of a major event should be called to give evidence.
The alternative, said Armstrong, was a continuation of the "current state of chaos and petty bullshit" that cycling is in.
It is the first time that Armstrong has turned on the UCI, which has come under intense criticism for the way it handled the doping scandal. However, not everyone is convinced that Armstrong's motives are honourable.
The Independent claimed that his attack on the governing body and calls for a truth commission "laid bare" his "desire to conjure a reduction in his life ban".
Others were struck by the change in tone since his interview with Oprah. "Armstrong has moved from penitent confessor to scapegoat," noted the Washington Post.
And his claims that cycling has always been dirty did not go down well. The Times said Armstrong's "attempt to smear the entire history of the sport right back to the second edition of the Tour, in 1904, when the winner, Maurice Garin, was disqualified for catching a train for part of the route in defence of his title, is likely to enrage traditionalists".
The newspaper added: "Armstrong's persistent failure to acknowledge his unique position at the head of a sophisticated doping ring... will also frustrate those hoping that he is held fully to account for his misdemeanours rather than being allowed to deflect blame elsewhere."