ADELAIDE, Australia (AFP) — Cycling Australia president Klaus Mueller has launched a stinging attack on Lance Armstrong, labeling the self-confessed drug cheat delusional following his interview with Oprah Winfrey.
“It was the most phony, half-hearted, appalling confession from a bloke who has been so reprehensible in his conduct,” Mueller told News Limited newspapers on Sunday.
“It was half-baked and pathetic. He’s verging on delusional. There was a lack of any real contrition, there was no real apology to the sport to which he’s done enormous damage.
“That was the most disappointing of all, the lack of acknowledgement to the damage he’s done to the sport.”
Mueller, a Melbourne barrister who argues that doping should be a criminal offense, said Armstrong’s confession was designed to protect his wealth.
Triathlon Australia boss Anne Gripper, former head of the Union Cycliste Internationale’s anti-doping unit, agreed with Mueller, labeling Armstrong a bully and compulsive liar who did not deserve a second chance.
“He’s not (just) a drug cheat — he’s a bully, he’s a manipulator, he’s been incredibly unfair to a whole lot of people and he’s a dead-set liar,” Gripper told the Australian Associated Press.
“Not a single, one-off liar, he’s a pathological liar … I don’t want those people in our sport.”
There has been speculation that Armstrong was driven to confess by a desire to return to professional sport as a marathon runner or triathlete, but Gripper said there was little prospect of that.
However, she said the confession would allow cycling to move on.
“The big one was always Lance. I always knew the sport could never, never really move forward until the festering bubble that was ‘Did he or didn’t he?’ … had been fully exposed,” she said.
But she remains extremely curious why the U.S. federal investigation into his doping abruptly ended without charges.
“I just put it down to this inordinate influence that Lance Armstrong had … that was the only explanation I could come up with,” she said. “It would be interesting whether there is some review of that investigation.”
Cycling Australia’s Mueller has promised to implement the key recommendations of an independent review into the sport in Australia, which followed the resignations of men’s road coach Matt White and vice president Stephen Hodge after doping revelations.
“If you cheat to obtain a financial advantage, it ought to be criminal conduct,” he said. “He (Armstrong) ought to be thankful he’s not getting a protracted view from behind bars.
“I have urged the (Australian) government to make cheating in sport, whether it’s doping or betting, criminal conduct.”