The Lance Armstrong Story - Final Thoughts. David Walsh Interview Pt. 7

Uploaded by globalcyclingnetwork on 14.01.2013

It could be argued that the fight against doping in all sports is futile because there’s
so many different people with interests, you’ve got the athletes that want to make money from
the sport, the governing body doesn’t want the sport to come into disrepute, the media
wants to get as easy a story as possible and that means being friends with the athletes,
you obviously don’t have that view but how is that going to be resolved?
People say well you’ve got so much doping in sport and it’s so difficult to eradicate
I mean and sport really has tried and I would say not hard enough but it has tried and it’s
failed miserably to eradicate doping. So why not just accept it’s there it’s part of
sport now just get on with it. Well the reason why we can never do that is, is put yourself
in the mindset of you being a father to a gifted athlete and you brought him up to say
that the truth is important and to believe in the truth, you’ve brought him up not
to cheat and then he calls you up maybe you know he’s brought up in London or he’s
brought up in Manchester and then he goes to France and he rings you up and he says
Dad you know I now realise that I can’t achieve what I want to achieve in cycling
unless I dope because pretty much all my rivals, all my big rivals are doping, what do you
say to him, I believe you say to him Son I’m sorry you’ve got to come home, you can’t
do this because you’ll be building whatever success you might achieve on a lie. See everybody
that says well look doping is there, doping exists, lets not get obsessed about it and
fight a battle that we’re never going to win, those people, they tend to be people
who are looking at it from the point of view I’m a spectator, I’m sitting on my couch,
I love records I love great performances and I’m not that concerned. Well my argument
always was you’d be damn concerned if it was your son faced with that dilemma and you’d
say how horrible it is that he had to come to that crossroads in his life where the only
way to progress was to cheat, it’s just not acceptable, should never be acceptable
and we should fight in more imaginative ways than ever and we should never give up the
Well there’s a big gap in the record books now, 7 years of tour de France which haven’t
got a winner I think we can safely say that most people don’t see Lance Armstrong as
a champion anymore but in your view who is the best ever cyclist now?
I would say Merckx, for sure you know the amount of races he won the fact that he could
win the one day classics he could win the short tours he could win the Grand tours just
he could sprint he could time trial, he could do the lot. The cannibal they called him because
he just devoured the opposition and he’s definitely the greatest cyclist. Bradley Wiggins
has done extremely well to win the tour de France win an olympic gold medal I mean in
the same year it’s a fantastic achievement he won plenty of other races this year as
well but at the kind of pantheon of great cyclists I mean Bradley doesn’t get near
really the you know if I’m thinking of the Tour de France winners that I would regard
as truly great I’m thinking of, I’m thinking of Merckx I’m thinking of Jacques Anquetil
I’m thinking of Greg Lemond, there the kind of people I’m thinking of and generally
I’d, I would be going for people who came before EPO because that was the, there was
always drugs in cycling but when EPO came it really did change the territory and it
meant that people who should never, could never win the tour de France without it would
win it.
Something that set alarm bells ringing for you is not just Lances dominance but also
that of his team US postal. Team sky seem to be very dominant this year is that something
that also worries you?
Team Sky have been so good that people almost say, Dave Brailsford himself makes this point
you know the more success we achieve the more suspicious we look and that’s true because
that’s what cycling is now. Uhm.. I really want to believe they’re clean , I believe
that what Dave Brailsford did on the track was done without drugs, I think they’ve
been sensationally kind of successful we saw that in Beijing, we’ve seen that at London
2012. I think Brailsford has applied a lot of the principals that he used with the track
team and he’s adapted them to road cycling with tremendous success. I think Sky had the
biggest budget, so I think it’s natural that they’ll get the best riders Jonathan
Vaughters who had Bradley Wiggins on the Garmin team, he said to me if Bradley Wiggins had
stayed with us, we would’ve won the tour de France with him, now I believe the Garmin
team are clean so a simple question to self, if you believe Bradley Wiggins would have
won the tour clean with Garmin then why can’t you believe that Bradley Wiggins won the tour
clean with Sky, well I do believe he won it clean with Sky because I believe the race
in which he finished 4th for Garmin was a tougher race than last year’s race I think
Bradley won a good race but it wasn’t an especially difficult tour de France, I mean
if Contador is back in 2013 and if we have Chris Froome a year older, a year stronger
it’s going to be a tougher race for Bradley Wiggins to win and my feeling is to say that
Sky, Team Sky are clean but that doesn’t mean we stop watching and stop watching closely.