Lance Armstrong was so good he would have won the Tour de France without drugs, legendary commentator Phil Liggett claims.
In an interview with 7NEWS, Liggett said: “When Lance realised that the Tour de France was drug-ridden, he told his team ‘We’ll do it and we’ll do it better than they do it. And if they didn’t agree, they were off the team. Most of his team had to take drugs just to back him up…because Lance was exceptional.”
“Don’t forget [Lance] was racing against other drug users, they also passed the drug test but the fact is the Tour de France itself didn’t promote the second-place riders to wins, that’s unprecedented.
“We’ve got seven Xs in the history books. All the guys who finished second have all had drug involvement or controversial situations but they were never nailed.
“But they didn’t give them Lance’s victories, there’s simply no winners at the Tour de France for seven years, so they knew the guys in second place took drugs but couldn’t prove it.
“It was a different world back then – guys were dying left, right and centre. Young riders were dying.”
“I haven’t spoken to Lance as a friend since 2011, he’s never contacted me but you know even when I was working with him, he’d only contact me with one-liners saying ‘Hey do you know this guy’ or ‘Can you do that in LA’.
“Those were the longest emails he ever sent me because Lance was his own person, I never mixed in his inner circle which was like five guys.
“So we can never say we were close friends but I certainly admired him enormously on both fronts, his riding style and his work in raising 600 million bucks for cancer.
“I’ve got no mixed feelings, people say ‘You must hate him’ – I would never hate Lance Armstrong at all.
“I still admire him, I know how he beat cancer, I know how he fought hard and that’s the mentality of the man who can only do things one way and that’s the very best way.
“I admired him for his achievements but I can’t condone drug cheats, it’s not for me, I just can’t do that.”