Speaking from his years of experience, the former chief doping control officer of Tour de France says that with such an organized network, it might have been possible for Armstrong to easily influence some of the men in the administration too.
Recently in the city as a UCI ( International Cycling Union) observer for Tour de India, Bruin, who was in-charge of Tour de France’s anti doping unit when the Armstrong doping case unearthed, however, says it no longer surprises him.
“I was not in Lance’s close circle, but what I understand is that with such network everything was possible. If the top politicians can be involved in scams, who knows everything might be possible in the sport,” 64-year old Bruin told TOI.
Having worked against the drug cheats all his life, the veteran UCI official, says as an anti-doping officer there was no way that they could mistrust a champion like Armstrong. “Who would? We tested him a thousand times and never did he come out positive. It seems Lance had company of good doctors, who ensured he came out clean every time,” Bruin said.
Ask him about his interaction with the former champion during the Tour of 2008 and you can still spot signs of disbelief on Bruin’s face. “I spoke to Lance quite a few times and trust me, I couldn’t realise that there was something wrong. I asked him whether he had taken medicines that were illegal and he denied. He was ever smiling…,” the Dutch reminisced.
And, that perhaps was a learning experience for Bruin. “I have learnt not to believe anyone, no matter how big a personality he is. You can never trust anyone, but for yourself.”
While, the ban on Festina was an eye-opener, the Armstrong episode once again exposed the authorities’ inability to detect drug cheats. Ask him on that and Bruin defends. “In the doping business, people are trying to use new techniques everyday. The laboratories are always trying to find solutions but they don’t know what they are looking for. There are a few things which are not in our hands,” he said.
The Tour de France has been in the news for wrong reasons, but even now when the cyclists gear up for the long journeys, Bruin feels excited. “As long as people enjoy those challenges, the Tour will keep the flag waving. No Armstrong can bring it down.”
Life, after all, is not just about the bike!
- Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong’s appeals to compete again fall flat (sykose.com)
- Ask Lance Armstrong “Does It Pay To Be Nice?” (thasportsjunkies101.wordpress.com)
- Dustin Hoffman Joins Lance Armstrong Biopic (thetaylornetworkofpodcasts.com)