‘Armstrong will never be able to atone for cheating’, warns former Olympic cycling champion
Lance Armstrong will never be able to atone for his tainted past, according to Nicole Cooke.
The American was stripped of seven Tour de France titles and banned for life after a United States Anti-doping Agency investigation into his United States Postal Service team's doping practices during his years of supremacy, 1999 to 2005.
Armstrong is reported to have confessed to doping in his interview with Oprah Winfrey, which will be broadcast later this week, while the 41-year-old is also said to have called prominent figures in cycling to apologise for his actions.
Cooke, who retired from the sport yesterday, said: "He will never give back the careers and the opportunities and the dreams that were stolen from so many people.
"It's outrageous, everything that he's done. The bullying, everything else."
Some allies of Armstrong might argue what he has given to the sport of cycling outweighs his many misdemeanours. Cooke, the 2008 Olympic and world road race champion, vehemently disagrees.
"It's absolutely disgusting that point of view," she added.
"You are putting dopers up on a pedestal. Think of the example you are giving to society: doping pays. Cheating pays."
Cycling's world governing body has urged Armstrong to co-operate with the independent review it set-up in the aftermath of the USADA report.
A statement from the UCI read: "The UCI will not be making any further comments on matters concerning Lance Armstrong until it has had the opportunity to view his much publicised interview with Oprah Winfrey.
"The UCI notes the media speculation surrounding the interview and reports that he has finally come clean and admitted doping during his cycling career.
"If these reports are true, we would strongly urge Lance Armstrong to testify to the Independent Commission established to investigate the allegations made against the UCI in the recent USADA reasoned decision on Lance Armstrong and the United States Postal Service (USPS) team."