Lance Armstrong is 'a disgusting human being' says British Olympic champion Nicole Cooke

Interview with Oprah Winfrey described as 'pantomine'

Nicole Cooke has described Lance Armstrong as “a disgusting human being” and his confessional interview with Oprah Winfrey as “a pantomime”.

The former Olympic champion from Swansea was strongly critical of drug cheats, particularly Armstrong and Tyler Hamilton, in her retirement statement on Monday.

And after watching the disqualified seven-times Tour de France winner finally admit to his doping past, she was equally forthright this morning.

Armstrong claimed he only doped to create "a level playing field" but Cooke told BBC Radio Five Live: "That says that Lance Armstrong was living in his own horrible world.

"If he was trying to convince himself by arguments like that, he's got no morals - he is a disgusting human being.

"The sad thing is that there were clean riders who had livelihoods, whole careers stolen from them by that. We're probably not going to see those people vindicated in any way through this.

"I don't think he grasps the scale of what he's done and its impact on so many people. It's not just on the top level of professional teams where he had an impact, it's all the way down and to the women's side of the sport, even down to grass-roots levels."

Armstrong confirmed he doped during all seven of his Tour de France wins, from 1999 to 2005 and that he used blood-boosting agent EPO, blood doping and testosterone, cortisone or human growth hormone.

He continued to deny having used drugs following his return to the sport in 2009 and offered little insight into other parties who facilitated or were involved in his cheating.

And Cooke said: "He admitted to taking drugs but he hasn't totally uncovered exactly what was going on and he didn't want to get into naming names.

"There's still also the question of how deep was that corruption around Lance Armstrong, that supported him and enabled him to get through the testing. There are still so many questions that need to be asked and answered.

"I think we still need to get to the bottom of the Lance Armstrong fraud. Floyd Landis (Armstrong's former team-mate who was stripped of the 2006 Tour title) said that he was able to cover up his positive tests with officials and we really need to find out the answer to those questions.

"We're close to the bottom but we still need to uncover the last few things."

Cooke does not foresee those answers emerging during the second half of the interview tomorrow night, adding: "To be honest I don't have any expectations.

"It is a pantomime to me. Lance Armstrong should have been taken to a court, not to an Oprah Winfrey sofa."

PA

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