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Alfredo Relaño | 19/01/2013
The USADA found him guilty of having led the most sophisticated doping system in history (which allowed him to claim seven Tours) and now Armstrong himself has confessed. Yes, I doped. I broke the rules. It was my decision. It was a mathematically calculated decision, or at least it was as I see it, in which he said that "the five who didn't dope were heroes". It's still to be seen who comprised 'Lot's family', in order to build a monument in honour of them and their fair play. Because it is true: it was impossible to compete in cycling with a chance of winning without being involved. David Millar tells the tale well in his book.
Manzano [an AS journalist and ex-cyclist] explained it years ago in this newspaper, and his circle (and part of mine) accused him of wickedness. 'Omerta' still ruled, and Armstrong himself chased down Simeoni (a clean second ranked cyclist, likely second ranked because he was clean, who had reported doctor Ferrari shenanigans) to stop any chance he had of breaking away from the peloton. Armstrong was the peloton's godfather, while Thomas Weisel, the sponsor of his team, US Postal, advised UCI President Verbruggen on investments. And together they fought the legal battles against those who accused them, like the Sunday Times.
Now it isn't Manzano and Simeoni, but Armstrong. Cycling needs this catharsis because if it can't see the sport for what it truly is it can't fix it. Armstrong will now have to hear charges of perjury, face up to David Walsh and the Sunday Times, from whom he won 300,000 Pounds Sterling for libel and return the trophies and the prizes. I don't wish him ill. My father told me that one must always hate the sin, and feel for the sinner. At times it is difficult, but I always try, in honour of his memory. In this particular case it helps that I can hope that cycling will now finally take a long hard look in the mirror and decide to change.