Schleck not expecting full Armstrong confession
ADELAIDE, Australia — Tour de France winner Andy Schleck isn't expecting Lance Armstrong to make a full confession to using performance-enhancing drugs in an interview with Oprah Winfrey.
Schleck said a candid interview on Winfrey's cable network set to be broadcast Jan. 17 might help Armstrong win back disillusioned fans, but it is unlikely the American will fully admit to doping.
The Luxembourg rider, in Australia for the Tour Down Under, said, “I don't think (Armstrong) goes there to say he's innocent and that he didn't do anything. It's been many years. For him it's not easy — the media, the pressure.”
Schleck said he believed Armstrong had granted the interview to Winfrey “for a good reason. But if he confesses? We don't know.”
The segment will be Armstrong's first in-depth interview since he was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency issued an extensive report detailing accusations of drug use by the Texan and his teammates on his U.S. Postal Service teams. Schleck was surprised by the evidence and USADA's conclusion that Armstrong oversaw one of the most sophisticated doping operations in sports.
“It shocked me,” Schleck said. “Somehow, even three or four years ago we maybe knew that the Lance Armstrong era was not the cleanest in cycling so far. But I believe that since 2005 and 2006, with the biological passport, everything has changed for the new generation.”
Schleck, who was awarded the 2010 Tour de France after Alberto Contador was disqualified for doping, said cycling would continue to see positive tests but numbers were fast diminishing.
“There will still be some guys positive again this year,” he said. “But that's not necessarily a bad sign. That's a sign the system works.
“I don't believe in cycling they dope more. In every sport, there's cheaters, but in cycling, they get caught. That's a good thing.”
The Tour Down Under opens the 2013 ProTour. Schleck's RadioShack Leopard Trek team will not include his older brother Frank, who is awaiting the outcome of a disciplinary hearing after testing positive for a banned diuretic at last year's Tour de France.
Tour Down Under race director Mike Turtur, who lured Armstrong to the race in 2009, 2010 and 2011, also doubted Armstrong would make a full confession.
“Obviously, a confession would lead to other matters so I can't see that happening,” he said. “But I'll be as interested as anyone else.”