YORK, United Kingdom (AFP) — Lance Armstrong’s admission of doping was a “calculated public relations exercise,” Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said on Friday, calling for him to reveal more detail about his activities.
“We need to know more about the organized doping program,” Prudhomme said in York, northern England, where the second stage of the 2014 Tour will begin.
The Texan rider, winner of seven Tours between 1999 and 2005, was stripped of the titles last year after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) said he was at the heart of the most sophisticated doping program in the history of sport.
Prudhomme said that Armstrong had finally admitted what he had denied for so many years — but only up to a point and had not revealed more about the system unearthed in the USADA report.
“We have to know more about it, to get to the bottom of things in such a way that it can’t happen again,” he said. “We were given a calculated public relations exercise with clearly rehearsed answers. You can’t dope as he did over the years without help. We (the Tour de France) have long said that a rider shouldn’t be the only one to pay the price.”
Asked about the possibility that Armstrong will have to pay damages, Prudhomme said: “If he says, ‘yes, I doped,’ he should hand back the money himself. That seems obvious to me.
“This money will not come back to the organizers, but will go towards anti-doping activities and training youngsters. Without a doubt there’s been damage done but we’ve got to look to the future.
“Armstrong’s clearly part of the past. He’s been stripped of his titles. We have to look to the future but we need to know more and he needs to say more.”
Prudhomme said he did not see the interview live on television but added that Armstrong did not appear any different.
“It’s the face that we’ve always seen. We might have expected something different,” he added.