Irish author and campaigning sportswriter Paul Kimmage has hinted that disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong may come clean about his drug-fuelled rise to the top of the sport.
Armstrong won the Tour de France seven times in a row between 1999 and 2005 but was later found guilty by the US Anti-Doping Agency of being a key member in what it described as the “most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen”.
Speaking in Limerick at the ‘Cycle 4 Sick Children’ charity fundraiser over the weekend, Kimmage admitted a confession from the Texan may be nigh. “It’s really the only avenue he has left now in terms of trying to get back some of the support he had before,” said the award-winning author.
“I think if he confessed and explained how the people in power facilitated his cheating, he would gain a good measure of sympathy for that but that opens him up to all kinds of litigation from sponsors and from insurers. I did hear he is thinking about it and possibly started another book, which I imagine will be called, ‘It is about the bike’ ...so I have heard he’s doing that but obviously he’s got to sort out all the litigation stuff, so I don’t know really know is the answer.”
Kimmage was in London yesterday for the ‘Change Cycling Now’ conference where several of the most outspoken critics of the sport gathered to thrash out some ideas as to how cycling can go about restoring its reputation.
And one of the most positive steps taken yesterday was the news of former Tour de France winner Greg LeMond running for the UCI presidency after being asked to do so by the protest group.
“It is now or never to act,” said LeMond. “After the earthquake caused by the Armstrong case, another chance will not arise.”
LeMond, 51, said he is up for the challenge. “I’m ready. I was asked and I accepted. If we want to restore public confidence and sponsors, we must act quickly and decisively. Otherwise, cycling will die. Riders do not understand if we continue like this, there will soon be no money in cycling.”
While questioning whether he was really the best candidate for what could possibly be a stand-in job, LeMond replied, “I am willing to invest to make this institution more democratic, transparent and look for the best candidate in the longer term. I think someone like Dick Pound [former president of the World Anti-Doping Agency], is perfect in terms of ethics, who has real experience in the fight against doping and corruption.”
Irishman Pat McQuaid has been president of the international cycling federation since 2005, serving four two-year terms to date but LeMond has stressed that in his opinion, the Irishman should resign.
McQuaid himself has already made approaches to Cycling Ireland asking that the federation nominate him to run for the presidency of the world governing body again and it is anticipated the organisation will nominate him to do so.
When the issue of McQuaid’s tenure in charge of the UCI was raised at Cycling Ireland’s recent AGM, there was roughly a 50-50 split in the number of delegates who expressed reservations and those who spoke up for him.
Cycling Ireland recently issued a statement saying it saw nothing in the USADA report into the Lance Armstrong affair that would warrant it calling for McQuaid’s resignation.
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