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'A great day for clean cycling' - David Walsh on Lance's doping decision

The threat of losing seven Tour de France titles was more appealing to Armstrong than a full tribunal, says the Sunday Times sports writer.

Image: John Giles/PA Archive/Press Association Images

SUNDAY TIMES SPORTSWRITER David Walsh declared it “a great day for clean cycling” as Lance Armstrong announced that he will no longer fight against doping charges.

Armstrong, 40, described the US Anti-Doping Agency’s case against him as “an unconstitutional witch hunt” but said in a statement on Thursday that he would no longer address the issue.

In response, USADA said that it expected him to be stripped of his record seven Tour de France titles and banned from cycling for life. Armstrong continues to maintain his innocence.

“Armstrong in a sense in the last three days ended up in a situation where he had one straightforward choice,” Walsh, one of the cyclist’s leading critics, said on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“He could let this case go to arbitration and argue that he had never taken drugs as he says he never has. But if he had gone for the tribunal, all the evidence would have come out and that’s why we’re not getting a tribunal.”

Along with French journalist Pierre Ballester, Walsh co-authored LA Confidentiel, a 2006 book which contained claims of doping made by a number of Armstrong’s former associates.

Although defamation cases against both authors were subsequently dropped, the Sunday Times settled a libel case taken by Armstrong over an article written by Walsh in which he referred to the book.

“It’s a great day for clean cycling,” Walsh continued.

People really should look at the people who control world cycling because they have been a part of this story and a part of this story that doesn’t reflect well on them or the way sport is administered.

Listen to Walsh’s interview on RTÉ Morning Ireland here >

In full: Lance Armstrong’s statement on USADA doping charges

WADA chief: Armstrong failure to defend charges seen as admission of guilt

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Niall Kelly

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