Jose Luis Rubiera was on of the best domestique that Lance Armstrong had at US Postal and Discovery Channel and helped Armstrong in his victories at the Tour de France between 2001 and 2005, being key in the mountain stages.
In a rare interview, “Chechu” talked recently about doping and what happened during those times.
“When Armstrong is sanctioned and the Tours are taken away, they are not given to the second, when it was always understood that if the first one doped, it was said ‘you out’, and the second the winner. Those tours were deserted. The organizers, the UCI, they said: Come on, we took it from Armstrong, but what do we give it to, to Zülle, who was in the Festina case, to Ullrich, who was in Operation Puerto? Now, fortunately, the mentality of the athlete, that of the sponsor and that of the fan are different, everything changed”.
USADA (the American anti-doping agency) had described the US Postal doping of those years as “the most sophisticated, professional and successful doping program in the history of sport”.
“Well, it seems to me that it responds to a feeling of hatred or animosity towards the figure of Armstrong on the part of the people who were at that time – I don’t know if they are still now – managing the World Anti-Doping Agency and especially the American Anti-Doping Agency. Armstrong had a personal struggle with them and they with Armstrong; there was something personal there.”
“What you can read that was done in the US Postal Service, you can also read that it was done in Telekom or ONCE. And yet, the objective was always Armstrong, to destroy Armstrong. Pantani tested positive and nobody attacked him. Although he did end badly, psychologically sunk. Ullrich also had problems and I don’t think the World Anti-Doping Agency dealt with him like they did with Armstrong. Other riders who admitted they had doped or tested positive were told: ‘Come on, a two-year sanction’, and yet the US Postal workers, the doctors and others, were sanctioned for life.”