Cycling: Bradley Wiggins: Lance Armstrong is a 'lying bastard'

British rider outraged by Armstrong's claim to have rode clean against him in 2009 and 2010

Majorca

Bradley Wiggins has rubbished Lance Armstrong's claim that he has not doped since 2005. Speaking for the first time about the Texan's confession to Oprah Winfrey last week, Wiggins accused Armstrong of being a "lying bastard" over his suggestion that he rode his final two Tours de France clean.

Wiggins described how he grew increasingly angry as he sat with his seven-year-old son, Ben, watching the Armstrong interview during a return home from pre-season training in Majorca. Armstrong, said Wiggins, "deserves everything he gets".

After an initial sadness at seeing a man he portrayed as an inspiration confess to systematic doping, Wiggins' emotions changed once Armstrong claimed he had not doped in 2009 or 2010, when Wiggins also rode the Tour. In 2009, Armstrong finished third, one place ahead of Wiggins.

There was one moment in particular in that race that has stayed with Wiggins. The Briton finished the 15th stage to Verbier, in the Swiss Alps, 29 seconds quicker than Armstrong. Six days later the American climbed to the top of the formidable Mont Ventoux 21 seconds quicker than Wiggins.

"What upset me the most was [Armstrong talking] about 2009-10 - I thought you lying bastard," said Wiggins. "I can still remember going toe to toe with him and watching the man I saw on the top of Verbier 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 any more."

Wiggins had not intended to watch Armstrong on Oprah but changed his mind. He said: "I was a fan of Lance Armstrong - I remember watching him win the worlds in '93 in Oslo. I was 13. Then he got cancer and then he came back and won the Tour de France in '99 when I was 19 years of age. I remember it was so inspirational at the time, having seen what he had come from, all those pictures of him with cancer and then he has won the Tour de France.

"Part of me didn't want to watch [the interview], the fan in me didn't want that perception of him to be broken as this amazing athlete. Then I had to watch it - I watched it with my 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.

"It was heartbreaking in some respects for the sport, but then the anger kicks in and you start thinking what a f***ing a***hole. It's very difficult - 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 I had the best feeling in the world when [Armstrong] starts welling up about his 13-year-old son having to ask what's this all about. I never have to have that conversation with my own son - his father has won the Tour clean. 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, and feeling no sympathy whatsoever."

Armstrong last week admitted to doping throughout his record seven Tour victories from 1999 to 2005. The 41-year-old was banned for life last year, and had his titles stripped, following the publication of a raft of evidence and testimony collected by US anti-doping authorities. Armstrong did not contest the charges brought by Usada but had always denied doping until last week when he sat down with Winfrey in a hotel in Austin, Texas. Armstrong maintained though that he had not used banned substances or any other forms of doping since he first retired from the sport after his 2005 Tour triumph.

Usada has accused him of doping during his comeback in 2009 and the following year, saying it has evidence of blood doping. It has been suggested, notably by those close to him, that Armstrong wants to engineer a reduction in his ban by making some form of confession - and by denying doping from 2005 any reduced ban could then be backdated to 2005. An eight-year backdated ban for confessing would leave him free to compete in triathlon or Ironman events - his favoured arena - this year. But any reduction could only follow a full confession under oath to Usada, and there is little confidence in his claim to have stopped in 2005.

Wiggins is currently preparing for the season with Dave Brailsford and the rest of Team Sky at their training base on Majorca's north coast. Brailsford, Team Sky's principal, believes their sport is now in the "last-chance saloon".

Brailsford has led a zero-tolerance policy to doping in the Sky team that has seen the departures of sports director Steven de Jongh and coach Bobby Julich. He said: "Cycling has got to move on - I don't think we have an option. This is the last-chance saloon for the credibility of cycling. There is enough information now coming out to really allow the authorities to make absolute concrete, clear preventive interventions. That will mean the sport is never allowed to go back to the place it was in the past."

* Britain's Geriant Thomas saw his lead in the Tour Down Under trimmed to five seconds by Dutchman Tom-Jelte Slagter.

 



Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?