Greg LeMond Claimed to Have Known That Lance Armstrong Doped

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Greg LeMond, a two-time Tour de France champion who was the first American to claim the title, feels vindicated by the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s (USADA) lifetime ban of fellow American Lance Armstrong. Armstrong has been accused of systematically doping thoughout his career and using erythropoietin (EPO), anabolic steroids and blood transfusions to fuel his seven Tour de France victories. LeMond has been an outspoken opponent of doping and a critic of Armstrong.

LeMond responded to the Lance Armstrong doping scandal in an interview with Ger Gilroy for the Irish website “Newstalk”.

LeMond told Gilroy that he knew Armstrong was doping around the year 2000 when he heard information about Armstrong’s doping exploits from a person within the United States Postal Service professional cycling team. (Armstrong rode for the USPS team for most of his Tour de France wins.)

“At first, after the Festina affair, [in 1998] the story that Armstrong had lost weight and come back, I bought into the story,” according to LeMond. “But then I started hearing rumors. And the rumors were observations from people within the sport. In 2000 I heard some very disturbing stuff from somebody within the team. And I kind of backed away from cycling at that point. I knew I was in a zero, no-win situation.”

LeMond’s had since been critical of Armstrong and particularly Armstrong’s relationship with a controversial sports medicine doctor named Michele Ferrari.

LeMond has been particularly critical of the generation of riders that followed his retirement from the sport. It was those riders that ushered in the use of new blood-boosting drugs such as erythropoietin (EPO). Doping in cycling was also widespread during LeMond’s career but was limited primarily to steroids and amphetamines.

While LeMond reportedly had undiagnosed attention deficit disorder since childhood, he never admitted using amphetamines such as Ritalin. (Amphetamines and stimulant drugs are a recognized medical treatment for ADD.) Instead, he found cycling to be better than any drug.

However, LeMond was more sympathetic to cyclists who used stimulants than those who used EPO and blood boosting drugs. He believed that the extreme nature of cycling may leave some athletes prone to depression. According to LeMond, some athletes used stimulants as a form of self-treatment for depression.

“Sometimes athletes seek a stimulant to get out of that and this can become highly addictive,” according to LeMond.

LeMond believed the real problem with doping in cycling only began with EPO.

“It’s the big, massive oxygen drugs we need to push out of the sport, so people can actually have a chance to win the race without having to dope themselves to the max,” according to LeMond.

Photo credit: Chris Timm via Wikipedia


Velonews.com (October 10, 2012). Greg LeMond speaks out in wide-ranging interview on Irish radio. Retrieved from http://velonews.competitor.com/2012/10/news/must-hear-greg-lemond-speaks-out-in-wide-ranging-interview-on-irish-radio_256161