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: °C Friday 31 October, 2014

Armstrong apologises to former nemesis Bassons

The disgraced cyclist has made peace with the anti-doping campaigner.

Armstrong admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs in an interview with Oprah earlier this year.
Armstrong admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs in an interview with Oprah earlier this year.

LANCE ARMSTRONG CONTINUED his tour of penance on Friday, as he met with former cyclist and anti-doping campaigner Christophe Bassons.

The disgraced Armstrong is catching up with his conscience in recent times, and moved to set up a meeting with one-time Tour de France rider Bassons — who spoke out about the culture of doping in cycling in 1999.

The Texan, who was yet to win the French race at that point, intimidated Bassons, after he wrote a column for local newspaper Le Parisien questioning the performances of some in the race.

The then-Festina rider was bullied by Armstrong, with Bassons claiming he approached him during stage 10 on July 14, 1999, after the French rider attacked from the start of the stage after the peloton plotted to ride slowly without telling him.

L’Equipe has reported that Armstrong met with Bassons in Paris, and apologised for his treatment of him 14 years ago.

“I maybe felt it like that, but it’s been reported that Armstrong did me harm and threw me out of cycling, and that’s not the case,” Bassons said.

“If you felt it like that, I’m sorry,” Armstrong replied.

Armstrong said Bassons, Scott Mercier and Darren Clarke were the three riders who were public opponents of doping throughout his career.

Having been stripped of seven Tour titles, Armstrong said his mid-race discussion with Bassons was a regrettable moment.

“If my son one day was wearing the yellow jersey and I saw him talking to Bassons the way I did, I would have a long, long conversation with him. It’s one of the episodes of my life that I regret the most,” he said.

Armstrong also recently extended the olive branch to former US Postal masseuse Emma O’Reilly, who was the whistleblower on the team’s secret doping.

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