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Former world champion Thor Hushovd published his biography, “Thor” on Wednesday. The account of his life as a professional includes details of his relationship with disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, a firm denial of ever having doped, and other revelations ranging from controversial to downright bizarre.
Of Armstrong, Hushovd claims to have known of the American’s doping as early as 2011. In the book, the Norwegian alleges that the UCI hid some of Armstrong’s positive samples.
“Look at the Armstrong case,” Hushovd said. “He was the sport’s big superstar and the golden calf, and the UCI was [facing] a great loss that Armstrong was taken and revealed as a cheater. I think the positive samples were tricked away to save Armstrong and to protect the sport.”
Hushovd denies media reports that he was close with Armstrong, saying only that they were on speaking terms when they were both racing. To reinforce their chilly relations, Hushovd mentions a text he received from Armstrong after speaking out following the American’s admission to doping. “Do you really think I’m the only one who cheats out there? How stupid is it possible to be!” Hushovd claims Armstrong said via text.
As for why he did not contribute to the case against Armstrong, Hushovd says, “Many would probably say I almost defended Lance with my evasive answer. So be it. I did not need to judge him. Why should I jump on the wave and crucify Lance because the surroundings and the media expected it?”
Of his own career, Hushovd is adamant that he did not cheat, saying, “I understand that it can be hard for people to believe that after a long life in the sport, [I was] never offered any kind of doping. But it’s true. No one has ever come to me and asked if I would try. With hand on heart I can say that I have never been tempted.”
Speaking of his 2010 world championship victory, Hushovd says that he felt that Edvald Boasson Hagen did not do his part to support the Norwegian team. So, while he paid Alexander Kristoff the 50,000 Norwegian krone ($7,611 USD) he had promised for support in the race, he reneged on the offer to Boasson Hagen. “He used his own chance, [and] was in breach …” Hushovd said of his teammate.
Outside of racing, Hushovd reveals that he struggled with weight.
“For me that was a pretty big man, [it] was a perpetual battle against weight,” he says. “I did not dare to eat what I wanted and needed. I felt watched. … [In cycling, there] is a weight hysteria without equal. It’s crazy. We are on the verge of being sick.”
One of the more curious revelations is that Hushovd spent 140,000 Norwegian krone ($21,294 USD) on two hair transplant procedures.
“Even before I was turned 30, I got comments, ‘Gee, you’re starting to get thin forelock, Thor …’ he said. “I could take it, it was true, yet people should understand that it is silly to say. No one is happy for such a comment. “