• Cycling

Wiggins has no sympathy for exposed Armstrong

ESPN staff
October 11, 2012 « Fisher off to flyer after Ryder Cup inspiration | Chartbeat test »

Reigning Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins has said he has no sympathy for disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, saying it is his generation that now has to "pick up the pieces" for the American's misdemeanours.

Armstrong was unmasked as a serial user of performance-enhancing drugs during his seven Tour de France wins after the United States Anti-Doping Agency released their extensive list of evidence against the American on Wednesday.

And Wiggins, who won this year's Tour along with time trial gold at the Olympic Games, has no sympathy for Armstrong or the predicament he is now in. The Englishman believes he is at the vanguard of a new generation of cyclists who are partaking in the sport cleanly.

"Not really, no," Wiggins told Sky Sports, when asked if he had any sympathy for Armstrong. "My main concern is that I'm stood here as the winner of the Tour de France, having to now pick up the pieces for other people's misdemeanours, and where our sport goes to from here.

"There's a lot of naivety in these reports - not everybody understands cycling. I saw a typical report in the BBC saying that now this leaves the sport of cycling in tatters.

"It's quite the opposite really, considering the summer of sport we've had as a British cycling nation - the winner of the Tour de France, how many Olympic golds, I lost count.

"We're the ones picking up the pieces really. We're the ones that have changed the sport and are looking forward, so for me it's just about looking forward and not looking back any more to what happened 10, 15 years ago."

Wiggins, who competed against Armstrong in the 2009 Tour de France, nevertheless acknowledged that he was suspicious of the American all along.

"The evidence is overwhelming now. In a way that brings closure to this whole investigation, which has been ongoing for quite a few years," he said. "Now, as a sport, we can start to move forward.

He added: "I've been involved in professional cycling for a long time. I realised what it takes to train for and win the Tour de France, and I'm not surprised by it. I had a good idea of what was going on."

Wiggins also stressed that it is a lot harder to dope in modern cycling - saying testing procedures are more advanced than you will find anywhere else in sport.

"Those steps have been taken a long time ago which is why we're one of the most successful sports for catching people," he added. "Our testing procedures are better than any other sport out there.

"What it means for our sport now - I don't think that is relevant to what we are doing today. I think what we're doing today is setting an example for the future of our sport and we'll continue to do that.

"As long as I keep banging that drum and doing what I'm doing I'm the example, which is why I'm stood here answering these questions."

On Thursday, five of Armstrong's former team-mates were handed six-month bans for their doping.

George Hincapie, Tom Danielson, Levi Leipheimer, Christian Vande Velde and David Zabriskie could all have received two-year bans for their violations, but received leniency after helping the USADA with its investigation into Armstrong.

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