Lance Armstrong is a legend, says Team Sky’s Alex Dowsett

British cyclist Alex Dowsett believes Lance Armstrong remains “a legend of the sport” despite the doping accusations against the American.


The United States Anti-Doping Agency banned Armstrong for life and stripped him of his seven Tour de France titles.


Team Sky rider Dowsett, 24, said: “He is still a legend of the sport. A guy who had cancer came back and won the Tour de France.


“I think it’s not really important and I really don’t think it matters.”

Armstrong, who has always denied doping but chose not to fight the doping charges filed against him, has been labelled a “serial” cheat and is accused of leading “the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen”.

Dowsett joined Team Sky for the 2011 season from the US-based Trek-LiveStrong squad – an under-23 development team created by Armstrong to nurture emerging talent.

He added: “All I know is that we all are racing clean. So, it was a different sport back then.”

Fellow Brit Steve Cummings, who rides for BMC Racing, and like Dowsett, is competing in the Tour of Beijing, pointed out Armstrong had done a great deal for charity.

He said: “It is easy to say and point your finger on all the bad things but you could look at the good things he has done as well.

“He has done a lot good things, like his cancer charity, you know. When I met him, he was a nice guy to me.”

Patrick Jonker, who rode alongside Armstrong in the US Postal Service Pro Cycling (USPS) team in 2000, believes his former team-mate cannot solely be to blame.

The Australian, who said he had never taking performance enhancing drugs, told BBC Sport: “Reading the report, Lance could not have acted as the sole power behind this.

“You would have to have the knowledge of a doctor to enforce that. To crucify Lance and only Lance would be wrong.”

In an statement accompanying its report,  Usada chief executive Travis T Tygart said there was “conclusive and undeniable proof” that Armstrong was a cheat who was at the heart of a team-run doping conspiracy.

The report has been sent to the International Cycling Union (UCI), the World Anti-Doping Agency and the World Triathlon Corporation.

Eleven of Armstrong’s former team-mates have testified against him.

But Armstrong’s lawyer Sean Breen has described Usada’s report as a “one-sided hatchet job”.