Lance Armstrong deserves faith: Anderson
Australian cycling great Phil Anderson, a former teammate of Lance Armstrong, says the seven-time Tour de France winner deserves the benefit of the doubt in his latest fight against doping allegations.
Anderson rode with Armstrong on team Motorola in the early 1990s and said he’d be surprised and disappointed if the American had changed his strong stance against drugs.
He said Armstrong has had to deal with “sceptics” his entire career.
The US Anti-Doping Agency has levelled fresh allegations against Armstrong, despite the 40-year-old being cleared by a separate federal criminal investigation earlier this year.
Anderson, the first non-European to wear the yellow jersey at the Tour, said Armstrong needed to take the latest accusations seriously but sees no reason at this stage to lose faith in one of the greatest athletes of all time.
“It’s hard to tell between the lines, he was cleared by the federal court earlier this year … it seems like people just couldn’t come to grips with how a person can survive cancer and come back into top competition, let alone come back to competition and win seven Tour de France’s,” Anderson told AAP.
“There’s a lot of sceptics out there and the French have been after him his entire career post-cancer.
“(USADA) are digging up some evidence that was thrown out in the federal enquiry, so it’s hard to know exactly where it’s going to go, but obviously Lance has to take it seriously because he has a lot at stake – his reputation, his foundation and all of his followers.
“It’s got to be proven and we’ll have to see.”
Anderson, 54, said he never saw any evidence of Armstrong being a drug cheat.
“We rode together for three years and we were very close and I never saw any signs,” he said.
“He felt very strongly against drug cheats at that time and I can’t believe he would have changed his position.
“But he’s been on his bloody death bed and people do change, but I’d be very disappointed if that was the case.”© AAP 2013