Nation e-Edition

Matthews not judging Lance

International Cycling Union president Pat McQuaid (left) presenting the winner’s trophy to Barbadian Darren Matthews at the end of the 2012 Tour of Tobago.

By Justin Marville | Wed, October 31, 2012 - 12:03 AM

Not everyone is ready to kick Lance Armstrong to the curb.

Even amidst all the damning evidence from a United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) report, top local rider Darren Matthews said he wasn’t quite willing to give the disgraced American cyclist a guilty verdict.

“That is a tricky case because only a few people know the full extent of this USADA report, but everyone knows a piece here and a piece there,” said the 21-year-old endurance rider.

“And then there are over 500 tests they’ve done on Armstrong which have all come back negative, so basically before you can cast judgement, everyone has to know everything that is in the USADA report.

“[But] obviously it had to be fairly substantial because UCI (the world governing body) eventually passed on the ban,” he added.

Matthews is just the latest sportsman to chime in on the high-profile case since Armstrong refused to contest the USADA’s lifetime ban in August.

The UCI has since upheld USADA’s ruling and stripped the 41-year-old former US Postal rider of all seven of the Tour de France titles he won between 1999 and 2005.

The fallout from the scandal hasn’t ended there. Armstrong has been dumped by major sponsors Nike, Oakley, Trek Bicycles, Anheuser-Busch, 24 Hour Fitness and Honey Stinger. He has also resigned from his cancer foundation Livestrong.

And the repercussions are just as bad for the sport, said Matthews, adding that the world will now have a negative outlook on every cyclist.

“They believe now that every cyclist is doping but then they are not as stringent with the other sports, because if you’re going to give a cyclist 500 tests then you can’t give a tennis player three,” argued Matthews.

“Doping can’t just be in cycling but they’re more on to cycling because it is one of the more demanding sports out there.  

“The whole Lance Armstrong case has been a bad day for cycling but with the length of time they waited to bring it out then Lance did a really good job hiding all this or something else is at play,” he added.

Matthews is back home resting following a spectacular season on the road where he earned nine podium finishes on foreign soil including victories in the Tour of Tobago and the Tobago Cycling Classic.

He also became the first Barbadian to medal in a regional endurance event when he placed third in the Pan American Cycling Championships’ scratch race in March.

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