Lance Armstrong has weighed in on Chris Froome’s adverse analytical drug test from the Vuelta a España. Speaking on his podcast, Armstrong reacted to the news that broke last week and said Froome’s reputation will be “tarnished forever” because of it.
He also expressed frustration at how it’s all unfolded with the test results being leaked to the media. In the 44 minute episode called, “The Chris Froome Saga” on Armstrong’s Stages podcast, the topic was discussed at length with former U.S. Postal teammate Dylan Casey.
“I’m the last person that should be opining on this situation,” he said. “But something’s not right about the way this unfolded, the way it was leaked, something about it just doesn’t feel legitimate – and I’m not trying to pass judgment, good or bad.”
Armstrong said that regardless of the outcome of the ongoing investigation, Froome’s reputation will be severely damaged. Team Sky and Froome are now responsible for proving to the authorities that all the rules were followed despite a urine sample with twice the allowable limit of Sabutamol.
“He should be allowed due process to explain what happened here. Hoe could be completely exonerated, but he is tarnished forever. Damage is done,” Armstrong said.
The American knows a thing or two about trying to rehabilitate a reputation. He was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and was banned from the sport for life because of the findings of the USADA’s lengthy investigation into the doping regime that he helped orchestrate to power his dominant career.
“Cycling is the sporting world’s doormat and by the way, I’m gonna say this: I have to take a lot of blame for that,” Armstrong said. He was also critical of the reporting on the ongoing case in the New York Times saying it was too harsh on Froome, cycling and cycling’s history. Armstrong again acknowledges that damaging role he played in that portrayal of cycling.
“You’d have thought Froome had a gallon of EPO for breakfast and that is not accurate, and not fair to him.”
For his part, Armstrong is rehabilitating his image following his admission to cheating. He is slowly being accepted back into the sport after being invited to the inaugural Colorado Classic in 2017 and being invited as an official guest of the Flanders Classics organizers at the 2018 Ronde van Vlaanderen.
The case into Froome is ongoing and it’s not clear when a verdict can be expected which many have pointed out could make things awkward if Froome races the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France as originally planned without a ruling being handed down. Armstrong said this could be terrible for cycling’s reputation. “This investigation could go on for months. Come next July, riding the Tour de France, it’s going to be a nightmare. And I know what that’s like.”