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One small step for Lance Armstrong in how not to cheat

Disgraced cyclist praises the honesty of the game.
Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong tees off on the eighth hole at the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship, Thursday, July 13, 2006, in Stateline, Nev. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong tees off on the eighth hole at the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship, Thursday, July 13, 2006, in Stateline, Nev. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Lance Armstrong insists he would never cheat – at golf.

The disgraced American cyclist, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after admitting to doping throughout all of them, is a keen golfer and said the code of fair play is one of the things that most attracted him to the sport.

He told Golf Digest magazine: “Golf is different from the culture of cycling when I was competing, and that’s putting it mildly. Cycling, it was the Wild West.

“Nobody considered doping cheating. It was an arms race where absolutely anything went, and it was every man for himself. You might consider me the last guy to have anything to say about cheating, but golf is different. I love adhering to a code of honour that we in cycling didn’t have.

“If I moved my ball in the rough and got caught, I wouldn’t just regret it, I’d be heart-broken forever. When I think about reform in cycling, I think about golf.”

Armstrong also expressed his sympathy for the way the media have treated 14-time major winner Tiger Woods after revelations about his private life led to the break-up of his marriage.

“Did the punishment for what Tiger did exceed the crime? As someone with some experience along those lines, I’d say it did. What happened was, the media changed,” Armstrong said.

“Somewhere between the end of Michael Jordan’s career in 2003 and Tiger’s scandal in 2009, the media stopped being compliant to athletes and celebrities.”

Armstrong also spoke about Britain’s 2013 Tour de France winner Chris Froome in the interview, noting: “[Froome] does everything wrong. He’s got a choppy pedal stroke. His arms are sticking out, his head is down, and he’s all over the bike.

“He’s the Jim Furyk of cycling, unconventional in every way – except that it works, and the reason it works is superior cadence.

“His tempo is amazing. It’s paced in a way that gives his unusual mechanics time to fall together.”

Updated: December 19, 2014 04:00 AM