Armstrong lied about making clean return, says Wiggins
Rivalry ... Lance Armstrong leads Bradley Wiggins in the 2009 Tour de France. Photo: Getty Images
BRITISH champion Bradley Wiggins does not believe Lance Armstrong rode clean in the 2009 Tour de France - despite the American's insistence he did not dope after 2005.
Wiggins, the reigning Tour de France champion, has spoken about the 2009 race when he watched Armstrong with disbelief and thought: "You lying bastard." Armstrong just beat Wiggins to a podium finish that year, behind Spanish winner Alberto Contador - who has previously been sanctioned for doping - and runner-up Andy Schleck.
Armstrong, now disqualified for that year, finished five minutes, 24 seconds behind Contador. Schleck was 4.11 behind the winning time and Wiggins was originally fourth, at 6.01, but has been upgraded to third as a result of Armstrong's lifetime ban from the sport.
In Adelaide for the Tour Down Under this week, Schleck said he believed Armstrong's assertion he raced clean in his comeback and cited his beating him in the 2009 Tour de France.
At a Team Sky training camp, Wiggins said he did not believe Armstrong's claims that he did not take banned drugs after returning to the sport in 2009.
Referring to the moment in Armstrong's interview with Oprah Winfrey when the ex-cyclist insisted he swore off banned drugs after retiring for the first time, Wiggins said: ''That was the thing that upset me the most about 2009 and 2010. I thought, 'You lying bastard'. I can still remember going toe-to-toe with him, watching him and his body language. The man I saw [in the 2009 Tour, struggling] at the top of Verbier [Switzerland] in 2009 to the man I saw on the top of Ventoux [southern France] … 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 any more."
It was on the penultimate stage of the 2009 Tour, including the legendary climb of Mont Ventoux, when Armstrong gained a crucial 22 seconds on Wiggins. On the earlier summit finish at Verbier, Wiggins had gained 29 seconds on Armstrong.
Wiggins said he found his selective confession televised last week ''difficult to watch''. ''It's heartbreaking for the sport, but then the anger kicks in. In the end I felt he deserved everything he gets.''
Schleck in contrast, accepted Armstrong's claims. "He made his comeback and he was beaten in the first year by Alberto and me … I believe in his comeback that he was clean.''