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LONDON (AFP) — British cycling star Bradley Wiggins said Lance Armstrong’s anticipated admission of doping in a two-episode interview with talk-show host Oprah Winfrey would be both a “great” and “sad” day for the sport.
Wiggins, winner of last year’s Tour de France and Olympic time trial, added that the extent of doping in the 1990s meant it had now become cycling’s “lost” decade as a consequence of so many results being corrupted by drugs cheats.
“There’s a lot of angry people about,” Wiggins told Sky News in an interview conducted at his Team Sky training camp in Madeira. “They need that closure in their life because they’ve been battling for so long for this.
“It will be a great day for a lot of people and quite a sad day for the sport in some ways. But I think it has been a sad couple of months. The ’90s are pretty much a write-off now.”
Wiggins’s compatriot Nicole Cooke, meanwhile, used the occasion of her retirement on Monday to slam Armstrong, his former teammate Tyler Hamilton and other drug cheats who “robbed” clean riders such as herself of victories and prize money.
Hamilton denied doping before confessing on the CBS news program “60 Minutes” and again in his award-winning book “The Secret Race.”
“Tyler Hamilton will make more money from his book describing how he cheated than I will make in all my years of honest labor,” said the 29-year-old Cooke, who won road race gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
“When Lance cries on Oprah later this week and she passes him a tissue, spare a thought for all of those genuine people who walked away with no reward — just shattered dreams. Each one of them is worth a thousand Lances,” said Cooke.
“I do despair that the sport will ever clean itself up when rewards of stealing are greater than riding clean. If that remains the case, the temptation for those with no morals will always be too great.”
Austrian cyclist Bernhard Kohl, who was stripped of third place at the 2008 Tour de France after a positive dope test, said the much-anticipated interview was unlikely to change cycling.
“It won’t shock anyone anymore if Armstrong admits everything,” Kohl told the Austria Press Agency.
“There won’t be a loud bang. Everyone knows that he did it. When you think of everything that’s come out in the last 10 years, then you know how this sport works … we’ll never root it (doping) out.”