Lance Armstrong’s refusal to admit some allegations in his past have disappointed some of his former associates.
Lance Armstrong’s long-delayed admission of doping during the height of his career and his apology were not enough, associates of the disgraced cyclist and the US anti-doping chief said Thursday.
Betsy Andreu, the wife of Armstrong’s former teammate Frankie Andreu and one of the first to publicly accuse the Texan of doping, said Thursday she doubted Armstrong was remorseful, pouring scorn on his televised bid for redemption.
“I’m really disappointed,” Andreu told CNN. “He owed it to me. You owed it to me, Lance, and you dropped the ball.”
“After what you’ve done to me, what you’ve done to my family and you couldn’t own up to it. And now we’re supposed to believe you?” she said.
In a pre-taped interview with Oprah Winfrey, Armstrong came clean for the first time about his use of blood-booster EPO, transfusions and testosterone to win seven consecutive Tour de France races, after a decade of strident denials.
Andreu said she heard Armstrong confess to using performance-enhancing drugs back in 1996 at an Indiana hospital. He in turn said she was “crazy.”
During the interview, the 41-year-old Armstrong said he had called the Andreus, but that a 40-minute conversation “wasn’t enough” for him to make peace with his onetime friends.
He admitted lying and bullying associates but declined to discuss the 1996 hospital incident.
“If he’s not going to tell the truth, if he can’t say, ‘Yes, the hospital room happened’, then how are we to believe everything else he’s saying? We’re already questioning him,” Andreu said.
Travis Tygart, the head of the US Anti-Doping Agency, said Armstrong was moving in the right direction but he needs to do much more.
“Tonight, Lance Armstrong finally acknowledged that his cycling career was built on a powerful combination of doping and deceit,” said Tygart, who guided the USADA probe that led to Armstrong being stripped of the record seven Tour de France titles and banned from the sport for life.
Tygart had previously accused Armstrong of selfishly protecting himself at the expense of others, including former cycling teammates.
“His admission that he doped throughout his career is a small step in the right direction,” Tygart said.
“But if he is sincere in his desire to correct his past mistakes, he will testify under oath about the full extent of his doping activities.”
Armstrong told Winfrey he might be willing to testify at a “truth and reconciliation” commission to help clean up the sport.
Livestrong, the cancer charity founded by Armstrong, said Thursday it was “disappointed” that he had misled it and many others about doping.
Prior to recording the interview Monday in his hometown of Austin, Texas, he personally went to Livestrong headquarters to apologize to its staff — and in the interview, he wore its iconic yellow rubber wristband.
“We accepted his apology in order to move on and chart a strong, independent course,” the charity said.
Elsewhere in the sports world, tennis star Novak Djokovic said Armstrong should “suffer for his lies.”
“I think it’s a disgrace for the sport to have an athlete like this,” Djokovic, the world number one, said at the Australian Open in Melbourne.
“He cheated the sport. (…) I think they should take all his titles away because it’s not fair towards any sportsman, any athlete.”
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