CHEATING runs in the blood (no pun intended). This is true in the case of the American Lance Armstrong, now known to be the king of cheats, and one who used drugs of every kind to win seven consecutive Tour de France titles from 1999.
In 1993, Armstrong participated in the Thrift Drug Triple Crown of cycling: the Thrift Drug Classic in Pittsburgh, the K-Mart West Virginia Classic and the CoreStates USPRO national championship in Philadephia.
There was a bonus of $US1 million which was available to anyone who won all three events.
Arrmstong won the first and, during the second, approached Stephen Swart of New Zealand, then a member of the Coors team, to try and ensure victory. In the presence of Australian cycling legend Phil Anderson, Armstrong offered Swart and his team $50,000 if they would allow him to win the race and the third in the series as well.
Anderson and Armstrong were on the Motorola team at the time.
Swart swore an affidavit to this effect in 2004; a recording of his doing so was shown on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation recently.
Armstrong subsequently won the second race and also the third. Swart received the bribe and it was shared among his team.
It is thus clear that Armstrong wasn’t into cheating only during his Tour de France wins – he had a history of trying every possible means to win and this dates back to 1993 when he was just a year old on the pro circuit.
Tomorrow the world cycling federation will rule on the report made public by the US anti-doping association. What the UCI says will determine whether cycling has a future as a sport or not.