July 2, 2020

Armstrong Critics Unmoved by Winfrey Interview

Several members of both groups faulted Armstrong for the vagueness of his confession, particularly around sensitive matters, and its lack of apology, particularly toward people he had attacked for telling the truth in the past. Many characterized Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey as being more self-serving than revelatory.

“He spoke to a talk-show host,” David Howman, the executive director of the World Anti-Doping Agency, said from Montreal on Friday. “I don’t think any of it amounted to assistance to the antidoping community, let alone substantial assistance. You bundle it all up and say, ‘So what?’ ”

Howman said several of Armstrong’s statements were not accurate, adding that if he was serious about clearing the air, he needed to give testimony under oath and face cross-examination. Although Armstrong’s representatives frequently contacted Howman when Armstrong was still racing, they have not communicated with WADA since the United States Anti-Doping Agency found that Armstrong had used performance-enhancing drugs and techniques.

“Nothing we’ve seen indicates that Usada got it wrong and that the lifetime ban should be reversed,” he said.

Richard Pound, the founding chairman of WADA and a member of the International Olympic Committee, also said he was unmoved.

“If what he’s looking for is some kind of reconstruction of his image, instead of providing entertainment with Oprah Winfrey, he’s got a long way to go,” Pound said from his Montreal office.

Jonathan Vaughters, a former Armstrong teammate and one of the cyclists whose sworn testimony led to Usada’s imposing a lifetime ban on Armstrong, also joined in the call for sworn testimony.

Vaughters, who has also admitted to doping, is now the chief executive of Slipstream Sports. The company owns the Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda cycling team, which includes another former Armstrong teammate, Christian Vande Velde.

In his testimony to Usada, Vande Velde said Armstrong told him in 2002 that he needed to follow the team’s doping program “to the letter” if he wanted to remain with the squad, adding that “Lance called the shots on the team.”

In Thursday’s broadcast, Armstrong denied pressuring or requiring Vande Velde to dope and played down his control over the team.

A request for comment to Vande Velde went unanswered. But Vaughters took strong exception to Armstrong’s account.

“Listen, Christian’s affidavit is freely available for anyone to look at,” Vaughters said. “That affidavit was taken under oath; it’s sworn testimony; it’s truthful. Again, that’s why I look forward to the moment when Lance testifies.”

An earlier target of Armstrong’s bullying was similarly unimpressed by the lack of detail or apology from Armstrong. Christophe Bassons was the only member of the Festina team to be cleared by an investigation that followed a series of police drug raids that almost brought the 1998 Tour de France to a close. He quit the Tour the next year after Armstrong rode up beside him and made vague threats for speaking out against doping. Armstrong went on to win the Tour for the first time.

Speaking to RMC, a French radio network, Bassons speculated that Armstrong had another motive.

“I think he has political ambitions,” Bassons told the broadcaster. “He’s maintaining his image as someone who is very courageous, very tough.”

Jeffrey M. Tillotson, the lawyer for the insurance company that unsuccessfully tried not to pay Tour de France win bonuses to Armstrong on the basis that he had cheated, said his client, SCA Promotions, would make a decision about suing Armstrong over the weekend. If it proceeds, the company will seek $12 million, a sum representing the bonuses, which had been insured by Armstrong’s team, as well as legal fees.

“It seemed to us that he was more sorry that he had been caught than for what he had done,” Tillotson said. “If he’s serious about rehabbing himself, he needs to start making amends to the people he bullied and vilified, and he needs to start paying money back.”

One of the few organizations with anything positive to offer about Armstrong was the International Cycling Union, which is more commonly known by its initials in French, U.C.I.

During the interview with Winfrey, Armstrong flatly dismissed widespread allegations that he had persuaded the governing body to cover up a positive drug test at a race in Switzerland and that a donation he later made to it was effectively hush money.

In a statement, Pat McQuaid, the body’s president, said Armstrong made “an important step forward on the long road to repairing the damage that has been caused to cycling and to restoring confidence in the sport.”

McQuaid noted Armstrong’s denial that the organization had been involved in any cover-up.

In a statement that also called on Armstrong to present evidence to antidoping officials, the International Olympic Committee said, “This is indeed a very sad day for sport, but there is a positive side if these revelations can begin to draw a line under previous practices.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/19/sports/cycling/those-wronged-by-lance-armstrong-see-little-right-in-interview.html?partner=rss&emc=rss