Hushovd defends Lance stance

Thor Hushovd (File)
Thor Hushovd (File)

Oslo - Former Norwegian cycling road race world champion Thor Hushovd on Thursday defended his decision not to reveal that he knew Lance Armstrong, the disgraced former cyclist, had used banned substances.

In a new autobiography, titled Thor, Hushovd claims that Armstrong admitted to doping during a private conservation they had in May 2011.

Armstrong only went public in early 2013, and has since been stripped of his record seven Tour de France titles.

Hushovd said the 2011 disclosure shocked him, but he had not felt any obligation to report the statement.

"At the time I didn't consider it the thing to do, to approach anyone, like the anti-doping agencies, about what he said. I considered him a friend," Hushovd said at a news conference in connection with the release of the book.

The 36-year-old said he would likely have done the same again, but did not consider himself close to Armstrong.

"Why can't the anti-doping agencies catch the cheaters? That is what should be criticized," Hushovd said.

Hushovd said he had a "naive" view about doping in cycling, a stance he held throughout his career. He insisted he never used doping and did not condone what Armstrong had done.

"My job has been to ride as fast as I can. That is what I have done. It is up to others to find out who has been engaged in doping," Hushovd said.

Parts of the book's contents including the mention of the conversation with Armstrong were published before Thursday's formal launch. The head of the Norwegian Cycling Federation and Anti-Doping Norway criticized Hushovd over not revealing what he knew about Armstrong.

Hushovd said on Thursday this would have disrupted his season and resulted in an exchange of accusations that could not have been proved. Furthermore, in 2011, it was six years since Armstrong had last competed in the Tour de France.

Hushovd, who recently retired, is considered Norway's greatest cyclist, and known for his skill in sprinting. In 2010, he was the first Scandinavian to win the cycling world road race championship.

Asked what cycling can do to tackle doping, Hushovd said one measure would be to ban cyclists convicted of doping from running cycling teams.

The autobiography was written by Hushovd's cousin Jostein Ravnasen.

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