LAUSANNE, Jan 24, 2013 (AFP) – Lance Armstrong’s doping scandal was both
disappointing and sad, International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques
Rogge told AFP Thursday.
Rogge – who steps down as president in September after 12 years in charge –
added that if the American was truly contrite he could in future act as an
example to younger cyclists.
Armstrong had already been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and
his 2000 Olympic bronze medal before making his personal confession to
American talk show host Oprah Winfrey last week.
“Armstrong’s is a sad story but one has to take this as an opportunity,”
Rogge told AFP in an exclusive interview conducted at IOC headquarters in
“It is a pivotal moment for cycling.
“There is a new spirit within cycling. The fight should be intensified in
terms of the role the entourage has played.
“The athletes are not the only ones implicated in doping.
“The entourage gives bad advice to the athletes.”
Rogge, who has made the fight against doping one of his major policies
during his presidency, said it would be important how Armstrong conducted
himself in the aftermath of his guilt admission.
“If he shows remorse and contrition as he appeared to do in the interview
it would be a good example for younger cyclists,” he said.
Rogge, who refused to comment on senior IOC member and former WADA chief
Dick Pound’s remark that cycling could be excluded from the Games, said the
doping by Armstrong and fallen athlete Marion Jones was easier to escape
“I cannot condone the culture at the time but in those days there were
flaws in the dope testing methodology,” he said.
“There was not a very solid test for EPO nor a test for Human Growth
Hormone, where the athletes were so they could be tested out of competition
and no blood-doping test.
“All those are in place now. Most importantly we have the judicial
authorities in foreign countries helping us and above all the biological
passports which is a very powerful weapon against doping.”
Rogge, who said he hoped cycling’s governing body, the International
Cycling Union (UCI), and WADA would mend the fences between each other, said
it was premature for people to be looking at UCI president Pat McQuaid to
resign over the Armstrong affair or for his predecessor Hein Verbruggen to
step down from the IOC.
“Calls for resignation are only valid once guilt has been proven,” he said.
“First the investigation then the judgement and then the punishment, not
the reverse order.”