Bradley Wiggins and team Sky have responded to the “damning” evidence in the Lance Armstrong doping case.

The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) released the details of its guilty decision, which should see Armstrong officially stripped of his seven Tour de France wins.

“It’s pretty damning,” Wiggins told Sky News. “There’s a lot of it and I think the evidence is now overwhelming. In a way this brings an end to the investigation, which has been going on for quite a few years. Maybe now, as a sport, we can move forward. My main concern is now I’m standing here as the winner of the Tour de France having to now pick up the pieces for other people’s misdemeanours.”

The US agency found Armstrong doped through most of his career and stripped him of his results from 1998, including his seven Tour wins. After Armstrong refused a hearing – which the agency said “speaks volumes” – it announced its decision on August 24 and made the details public two days ago.

The Union Cycliste International (UCI) has 21 days, until October 31, to respond. It may accept or appeal the agency’s decision.

Wiggins said that he had not read the 202-page Reasoned Decision that the agency made public, but has seen the newspapers. The decision includes sworn testimony from 26 people, including 15 riders.

“It is certainly not a one-sided hatchet job, it is pretty damning. It is pretty jaw-dropping the amount of people who have testified against him. I am shocked at the scale of the evidence,” Wiggins said.

Wiggins joined Sky in 2010 and won the Tour with them this year. It came after years racing on the track with British Cycling, including three Olympic gold medals.

“I was very fortunate that I was in a system in British Cycling that, regardless of what team I was in, they supported me with the right way to deal with it. They probably saved me otherwise it might have been me, who knows. The peer pressure was huge.”

Sky cyclist Michael Barry testified against Armstrong and admitted he used drugs. “I used EPO and testosterone off and on from 2003 until 2006,” he said in his testimony. “I also used cortisone on one occasion in 2003 and experimented with hGH on one occasion in 2004. I obtained the doping products from the US Postal Service doctors and staff and from fellow athletes.”

Team manager David Brailsford told the Telegraph that he asked Barry if he had a doping past at the Giro d’Italia in 2010 and Barry responded there was no problem. “Clearly there was, and I’m disappointed that I asked him the question and he told me a lie. But we have no doubt that he was clean when he rode for us. I am not sure what more we could have done.”

Barry, after three years with Sky, retired on September 5.

Sky’s Michael Rogers trained under banned doctor Michele Ferrari. Levi Leipheimer said in his testimony that he saw the Australian, Yaroslav Popovych, Andrey Kashechkin and Alexander Vinokourov at a Ferrari training camp in Tenerife in May 2005. And that he saw him at Ferrari camp with Paolo Savoldelli, Popovych and Eddy Mazzoleni in St. Moritz in June 2005.

Rogers admitted in 2006 to working with Ferrari since 2005 but cut ties with him after that year’s Tour due to pressure from his T-Mobile team.

“I was very transparent. We came forward to the press and told them my position. Since then I have had absolutely no contact with Ferrari whatsoever,” Rogers told the Sydney Morning Herald overnight.

Asked if Ferrari suggested drug use, Rogers said, ”No … absolutely not. The agreement I had with him was very, very … We didn’t have much communication. I didn’t really get that much out of it. … It was an error to go to him. He didn’t have the best name in the industry, but that was the mistake I made … I certainly regret [it].”

Sky’s Sean Yates rode with Armstrong in team Motorola from 1992 to 1996 and helped direct the Discovery Channel team when Armstrong won the Tour in 2005.

He told BBC Radio he was shocked by “the depth of the whole system, as it’s been called. I worked with Lance but never had any inclination that this type of practice was going on. … I was with Lance in 2005, for his last Tour win. … I never ever saw an indication of anything dodgy going on. I used to jump out in the morning, get out on my bike, come back, drive the car, and call the tactics now and then, but I never saw anything that was untoward.”

 

Related links 

USADA’s Armstrong doping report in brief

 

  • TG

    After listening to last nights program on Radio 5 Live, Sean Yates must have been the only person in the support team who didn’t know what was going on in Team Lance.

  • Bill Goodge

    Bye bye SPOTY and knighthood, Bradley!

  • martin watts

    It is obvious from the actions of cyclists over drugs- I don’t know why I was positive- must have been the chicken/beef/dog food- that they would have a job finding two good brains cells from among the whole lot of them. Dowsett has now shown their brain cell count is zero.

  • Robert

    P.s. The strangest part of the interview Wiggins gave to Sky, as referred to above, is the following:

    Sky: “And you used to race against Lance Armstrong, did…”

    Wiggins: “Well, that’s a myth. I never actually raced against Lance Armstrong, in my whole reign really. I raced once against him in the Criterium International in 2004 and never in the Tour de France. Er, so that was the only time really.”

    Has Wiggins really forgotten about the 2009 Tour de France when a blood-doped Armstrong pushed Wiggins off the podium and into 4th place? He also rode against Armstrong in the 2010 Tour. Do Sky now think that they can say anything they like, no matter how obviously untrue, and that people will believe it? Such statements do nothing to build people’s faith in what they are doing!

  • Robert

    Yates needs to do the honourable thing by following the example of Matt White and resigning immediately. Everyday he stays simply adds to the powerful impression, justified or not, that Sky’s ‘clean team’ image is little more than a PR scam.

    Unfortunately, many other factors have already reinforced this impression. These include the hiring of Geert Leinders and Michael Barry, whose histories were well known. Then there was Wiggins defence of Armstrong even though he now admits that he pretty much knew what the truth was all along and his appalling reaction to being questioned about doping, calling sceptics ‘f**king w**kers’ and ‘c**t’s, even though the ‘old’ Wiggins (the one who ‘lost an hour a day’ in the Tour) said that fans would be justified in being sceptical about the possibility of there been a clean winner of the Tour for at least another 7 years. Then there have been the comments of Alex Dowsett in support of Armstrong, not to mention the dominant performances of the team itself in a sport where experts such as Ashenden agree blood manipulation is still going on, albeit at a lower level than previously.

    Perhaps Brailsford should follow Yates, as anyone who claims that they were ‘shocked’ by what was in the USADA report on Armstrong is either a liar or an idiot, given that most of it has been public knowledge for years.

  • David

    I don’t agree that the TdF records should be left blank for the Armstrong years. Equally I don’t think it should be just awarded to the next famous doper in line. I think that for each of those years the highest finishing rider who has never been implicated in doping should be awarded the race. I mean throughout their whole career, no failed tests and no links to Ferrari, Fuentes or Erik Rijckaert (the Festina doctor). If that means 25th place then so be it. If it means 107th place, so be it. You have to reward the honest riders.

  • David Cohen

    “maybe now, as a sport, we can move forward”. Not the first time that someone in the sport has said this, but will it be the last?

  • Terry

    Despite eye witness reports, I’d be happier slagging him off with forensic proof of actual positive tests of which there are none at present.
    I’m disappointed that yet another ‘hero’ bites the dust and refuse to buy DVD’s of old races as they’re not what they seem. Sky ( and the rest of the peleton/ UCI/ASO etc) now have an uphill battle convincing Joe Public they’re riding clean.
    What is telling is that whenever David Harmon mentions the d word in commentary Sean Kelly falls silent (and that’s no reflection on Sean himself)

  • will675

    Sean yates “never saw anything dodgy” yeah right, come on man. Do they think we are stupid?? Sky using dodgy doctors… Alex dowsett saying Armstrongs a ledgend and it doesnt matter!!! WTF. Micheal rogers used ferrari but never doped??? They didnt know barry was a doper… Doper Riis still in charge of a team with contador still obviously doped up to the max…. Vino in charge of a team next year… Garmin sharp full of ex dopers…. Bruyneel in charge of frank schleck!! Cancellara is the only one who has really talked sense but even he rode for csc a few years back… and thats just to mention a few. I bet the list is endless. I tell you what screw pro cycling the whole thing is a farce and a joke. Im gutted but Im going to continue to ride my bikes and enjoy cycling like i always have but i have no respect for this circus at all now.

  • barry

    Team Sky’s comments are a joke..
    Wiggins forgets riding the Tour in 2009 with Armstrong
    Yates saw ‘nothing’
    Brailsford forgets that he has past dopers and offoicials with dodgy doping historys..

  • Terry

    I’m going to keep saying it- 500+ negative dope tests, what part did the UCI, ASO and the labs play in all this ?

  • Peter Goodall

    When a professional comes out with remarks like “it doesn’t matter” and “he’s a legend” when everyone now know’s Armstrong is a cheat,we still have a battle on “our” hands to rid our sport off these “legends!”

  • phil j

    It,ll be like water off a ducks back for Armstrong. Unfortunate for fellow dopers who took it all to heart when uncovered such as Pantani there is no future after the event, So in summary being as everyone in the peloton was doping at the time, Marco was in fact the best climber of his generation and probably still would have been had he and everyone else not been on artificial performance boosting drugs.

  • Rhod

    … so Sean Yates “never ever saw an indication of anything dodgy going on” at USPS. Is he having a laugh. Just confess Sean; it will all come out in the end.

  • Stephen Mills

    I do hope that Dowsett thinks very carefully about making any further statements about ‘legends’. Guidance on ethics seems to be required for aspiring pros and neo-pros. I am surprised that he hasn’t understood from the recent media frenzy about a British celebrity that charitable work can be a smokescreen for enhancing and protecting the profile and personal shortcomings of ‘legends’.

    Cycling needs credibility before legends and celebrities.

  • Rob

    As 20 of 21 podium are suspected involvment in drugs, Armstrong being stripped of title will only leave complete chaos and a never ending saga of recrimination. A line must be draw under this period and all awards accepted as “possible drug assisted”. Of the 21 podium finisher who was the one not using drug, or are there “21” claimants (Armstrong included) ? Johan Bruyneel, who is now in charge of the RadioShack-Nissan team . Interesting.