Friday 22 November 2019

Three-time Irish Olympian brands Lance Armstrong "self-serving" over latest doping comments

Former Rás winner David McCann at the launch of the 2015 An Post Rás which will begin on Sunday May 17th. McCann has described comments from Lance Armstrong that he would
Former Rás winner David McCann at the launch of the 2015 An Post Rás which will begin on Sunday May 17th. McCann has described comments from Lance Armstrong that he would "probably" dope again if he went back to the start of his career as self-serving.

Cormac Byrne

Three-time Irish National Road Race champion David McCann has described comments from Lance Armstrong that he would "probably" dope again if he went back to the start of his career as self-serving.

Speaking at the launch of the An Post Rás, McCann told Independent.ie that Armstrong was wrong in saying that 'everyone' was doping at the time to justify his comments.

"I think it’s in his interest to believe that everyone else was doing it. I can agree that a lot of them were doing it but I wasn’t doing it," said McCann, who finished 11th at  the World Championships Elite Time Trial in 2009.

"Everyone says it was ‘everyone’ but who are they including. The person who came 70th in the 1996 Olympics. I don’t know about the 69 ahead of me.

"It’s a bit self-serving of him to say that everyone was doing it.

"While I would agree with him that most of them were doing it, because I’ve been there, it was not everyone."

The disgraced Lance Armstrong told the BBC yesterday that if he went back in time to the beginning of his career he would "probably do it again".

"If I was racing in 2015, no, I wouldn't do it again because I don't think you have to," he told the BBC.

"(But) if you take me back to 1995, when doping was completely pervasive, I would probably do it again. When I made the decision, when my team made that decision, when the whole peloton made that decision, it was a bad decision and an imperfect time. But it happened. And I know what happened because of that."

Cycling has been steadily growing in popularity in recent years and McCann views it as a massive event for the country.

Unveiling a fast and tactical route which totals almost 1,200 kilometres for the 63rd edition of the race, the organisers have omitted some of the trickier climbs to ensure that the emphasis this time around is on opening up the possibility of attacks at any point in the race.

"It’s seems to be gathering more and more support. It’s always been a big fixture in the Irish sporting calendar," the 2004 Rás winner said.

“It’s going to allow for typical Rás style racing with plenty of attacking, which is what we love so much about the race. It should be a great one for the neutrals and hopefully this year an Irish rider can take home the trophy.

"The An Post sponsorship, the increased media presence and the supporters on the side of the road just seem to be more and more every year.

"It’s exciting to be a part of."

The Rás will begin on May 17 in Dunboyne and the race will include 21 categorised climbs over the eight-day event.

Despite the Lance Armstrong debacle and other high profile controversies, cycling is thriving around the country with the back-to-work scheme and the increase in leisure cycling events.

"The sport has grown in popularity through all that," he added.

"To me, the great thing in cycling at the moment is not the growth in the competitive side but the participation side and the leisure side. People are discovering, with out competing, what is to be gained from cycling and some of the leisure events supporting the Ras and it’s exciting to see people of all ages on bikes and that’s the popularity that really matters.

"The media loves to follow the Tour de France but it’s great to see people getting away from the car culture."

For details of Rás route for 2015 click here

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