Reigning Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins said he believes Lance Armstrong doped during his comeback to cycling, something Armstrong denied to Oprah during their televised interview, Wiggins told Cycling Weekly’s Nick Bull.
“That was the thing that upset me the most about 2009 and 2010. I thought, you lying bastard,” Wiggins said. “I can still remember going toe-to-toe with him, watching him and his body language. The man I saw at the top of Verbier in 2009 to the man I saw on the top of Ventoux two weeks later, it wasn’t the same bike rider. Watch the videos and see the way the guy was riding. I just don’t believe anything that comes out of his mouth anymore.”
Armstrong finished third that year, keeping Wiggins — who finished fourth — off the podium.
During his interview with Oprah, Armstrong admitted to doping during his seven straight Tour de France victories. Wiggins says he didn’t plan to watch the interview but ultimately decided to watch it with his son.
“Part of me didn’t want to watch it, the fan in me didn’t really want that perception of him to be broken as an amazing athlete. But I watched it with my seven-year-old son, and those initial first questions – the yes/no answers – watching him suddenly cave in after all these years of lying so convincingly… there was a lot of anger, a lot of sadness… I was slightly emotional as well if I’m honest. It was difficult to watch really. My wife couldn’t watch it, she walked out the room.
“It’s heartbreaking for the sport, but then the anger kicks in and you start thinking “you f*****g a******e” or whatever feelings most people had when watching it. I had to explain to my son what it’s all about, he’s won the same race as his dad has won. But by the end of the hour-and-a-half, I had the best feeling in the world.
“When he started welling up about his 13-year-old son asking him what it’s all about – I never have to have that conversation with my own son. His father’s won the Tour clean; there’s this element of being smug about the whole thing to be honest. Then I got a ‘you deserve everything you get’ kind of thing. By the end, I was feeling no sympathy for him behind all the welling up and the tears.”