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Exclusive: Q&A with ‘The Secret Race’ authors

VN: In the book you disclose that Saxo Bank team manger Bjarne Riis put you in touch with notorious Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes when you rode at Team CSC expressly for you to undertake a doping regimen. Riis has denied this. Will this turn into a war of words in the media, or is there a way to prove this?

TH: People can either believe me or not believe me. I understand Bjarne. I lied for years and years, and I got pretty damn good at it. I understand that’s the first reaction. Whether he comes clean some day, that’s up to him. I’m not going to get into a pissing match with him, so to speak. I told the truth and it feels great. I understand that he’s lying for a lot of different reasons. He’s trying to save his team.

VN: What’s your relationship with the sport of cycling now?

TH: I love cycling. What happened in my career, it really made me miss the good old days, riding on the (University of Colorado) cycling team, doing it for the pure fun of it, for the enjoyment. Now I am working with my coaching company, that’s been going well. I will continue doing that. I love working with the weekend warrior types and the kids, that’s been a lot of fun, they are just really passionate about it, they do it for the fun of it. I’ve tried to stay away from the more serious type of cyclist.

VN: Even after everything you’ve put yourself through, do you still have passion for the sport?

TH: I do. I don’t ride nearly what I used to, but it’s a beautiful sport, and I still follow it.

VN: Your 2004 Olympic time trial gold medal goes to your former Postal teammate Viatcheslav Ekimov. How do you feel about that?

TH: It is what it is. I happily gave it up, and I thought it was the right thing to do. When I gave it back to USADA, at the time they didn’t know what was going to happen to it. If he believes he earned it, then that’s great for him. Obviously I have my opinion. I’m at peace with my decision. To have all this off my back, I feel like a million bucks — a lot better even than when I won that gold medal.

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