Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins on Thursday admitted he has no sympathy for Lance Armstrong and slammed the disgraced rider’s claims that he was clean when he returned to the sport in 2009.
American Armstrong last week admitted in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs during his record run of seven Tour de France wins.
The 41-year-old has been stripped of all results from Aug. 1, 1998, which resulted in British rider Wiggins’ finish in the 2009 Tour de France being upgraded from fourth to third.
Armstrong claims he did not dope in that event, which marked his return to competitive cycling, despite evidence to the contrary in the US Anti-Doping Agency report which resulted in his downfall.
After watching the Oprah interview, Sky Procycling star Wiggins still does not believe Armstrong is telling the truth about his return.
“What upset me the most was about 2009-2010 — I thought: ‘You lying bastard,’” Wiggins said. “I can still remember going toe-to-toe with him and watching the man I saw on the top of Verbiers in 2009 to the man I saw on the top of Ventoux a week later when we were in doping control together. It wasn’t the same bike rider. You only have to watch the videos of how the guy was riding. I don’t believe anything that comes out of his mouth anymore.”
Wiggins admits he did not want to watch Armstrong’s confession because he had spent so long idolizing the American as a youngster and when he eventually did sit down with his seven-year-old son to see what Armstrong had to say, Wiggins found it hard to contain his anger.
“Part of me didn’t want to watch it, the fan in me didn’t want that perception of him to be broken as this amazing athlete,” Wiggins said. “Then I had to watch it — I watched it with my seven-year-old son — so those initial questions, the yes, no answers, just watching him suddenly cave in after all those years of lying so convincingly — it was a lot of anger, a lot of sadness and slightly emotional.”
“It was difficult to watch. My wife couldn’t watch it, she walked out of the room,” he said. “It was heartbreaking in some respects for the sport, but then the anger kicks in ... the natural things that most people were thinking when they watched it. It’s very difficult and then I have to explain to my son what it’s all about. He’s won the same race your dad’s won, but by the end of the hour and a half I had the best feeling in the world about the whole thing.”
“There was this element of being quite smug about the whole thing to be honest. Then I got quite: ‘You deserve everything you get’ about it,” Wiggins said. “In that hour and a half of watching the whole thing, the up and down of the emotions, and by the end it was: ‘You deserve everything you get now,’ and feeling no sympathy whatsoever behind all the welling up and the tears.”