Armstrong is a legend

British cyclist Alex Dowsett believes Lance Armstrong remains “a legend of the sport” but could not shake his hand in light of recent doping allegations.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency banned Armstrong for life and stripped him of his seven Tour de France titles.

Armstrong report key claims:

Lance Armstrong

  • Achievements of USPS/Discovery Channel pro cycling team accomplished through the most sophisticated, professional and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen
  • Armstrong’s career at the team was fuelled from start to finish by doping
  • More than a dozen former team-mates, friends and former team employees confirm a fraudulent course of conduct
  • Armstrong acted with the help of a small army of enablers, including doping doctors, drug smugglers and others within and outside the sport and his team
  • He had ultimate control over not only his own personal drug use but over the doping culture of the team
  • Team staff were good at predicting when testers would turn up and seemed to have inside information
  • Evidence is beyond strong and as strong as any case brought by Usada in its existence

Team Sky rider Dowsett, 24, said on Thursday morning: “He is still a legend of the sport. A guy who had cancer came back and won the Tour de France.”

However, he later told BBC Sport: “I don’t think I could shake his hand.”

Armstrong, who has always denied doping but chose not to fight the charges filed against him,

has been labelled a “serial” cheat

and is accused of leading “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen”.

Dowsett joined Team Sky for the 2011 season from the US-based Trek-LiveStrong squad – an under-23 development team created by Armstrong to nurture emerging talent.

He made his initial “legend” comment immediately after finishing a stage at the Tour of Beijing.

When he later spoke to BBC Radio 5 live, he explained: “When I first referred to Lance as a legend a couple of months ago it was referring mainly to what he has done for cancer.

“The Livestrong charity is something I rode for when I was with the Trek Livestrong team and I saw all the good that it did.

“It has really raised the profile of cancer awareness and raised huge amounts of funds.

“I rode for his development team and I did meet him a few times but I don’t think I’d want to [shake his hand].

“It’s what [these revelations] could do in terms of tarnishing the sport. It could put us all out of not just our jobs but doing what we love.”

Fellow Briton
Steve Cummings

, who rides for BMC Racing and like Dowsett, is competing in the Tour of Beijing, also pointed out Armstrong had done a great deal for charity.

He said: “It is easy to say and point your finger on all the bad things but you could look at the good things he has done as well.

“He has done a lot good things, like his cancer charity, you know. When I met him, he was a nice guy to me.”

Britain’s six-time Olympic track champion
Sir Chris Hoy

told BBC Sport it was a “depressing day for cycling”.

He added: “It’s frustrating and sad but at least we’re naming and shaming people and it doesn’t matter how big the names are, we’re not afraid to do everything we can to prosecute them.”

Patrick Jonker

, who rode alongside Armstrong in the US Postal Service Pro Cycling (USPS) team in 2000, believes his former team-mate cannot solely be to blame.

The Australian, who said he had never taken performance enhancing drugs, told BBC Sport: “Reading the report, Lance could not have acted as the sole power behind this.

“You would have to have the knowledge of a doctor to enforce that. To crucify Lance and only Lance would be wrong.”

Nike statement

“We are saddened that Lance Armstrong may no longer be able to participate in certain competitions and his titles appear to be impacted.

“Lance has stated his innocence and has been unwavering on this position.

“Nike plans to continue to support Lance and the Lance Armstrong Foundation, a foundation that Lance created to serve cancer survivors.”

Major League Soccer team Sporting Kansas City and sportswear brand Nike have both pledged to continue to support Armstrong.

Nike re-issued a statement they first released in August saying that while they are “saddened that Lance Armstrong may no longer be able to participate in certain competitions and his titles appear to be impacted” they “plan to continue to support Lance and the Lance Armstrong Foundation”.

Kansas chief executive Robb Heineman refuted any suggestion that the name of the team’s ground would be changed from the Livestrong Sporting Park.

“The reason we did the partnership was for everyone affected by cancer and the 80 million members of Livestrong worldwide,” said Heineman.

“That is how we think of the relationship with the brand. The Lance information is less relevant around our partnership.”

In a statement accompanying its report, 

Usada chief executive Travis T Tygart said there was “conclusive and undeniable proof” that Armstrong was a cheat who was at the heart of a team-run doping conspiracy.

The report has been sent to the International Cycling Union (UCI), the World Anti-Doping Agency and the World Triathlon Corporation.

Eleven of Armstrong’s former team-mates have testified against him.

But Armstrong’s lawyer Sean Breen has described Usada’s report as a “one-sided hatchet job”.

Sean Breen

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Lance Armstrong’ lawyer Sean Breen: “It is a farce”

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