Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Long Pursuit of Lance by Walsh Is Finally at End; CYCLING

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Long Pursuit of Lance by Walsh Is Finally at End; CYCLING

Article excerpt

DAVID Walsh, whose 13-year pursuit of Lance Armstrong concluded with the disgraced cyclist admitting to doping to win seven Tour de France titles, believes more should have been done to allow questions to be asked of the American.

The Sunday Times was forced to pay PS300,000 in damages and incurred PS600,000 in costs after Armstrong successfully sued them for making claims he was a drugs cheat.

With the 41-year-old now exposed after Walsh's rigorous investigation and a United States Anti-Doping Agency inquiry which concluded Armstrong led the United States Postal Service team's doping programme, The Sunday Times is poised to recover the money.

Walsh has revealed two offers made on Armstrong's behalf have been rebuffed, with the perception that the Texan (pictured below) would like to settle the case. But Walsh feels the damages should not have been awarded in the first place.

"I just look forward to the money being paid back to The Sunday Times, because they should never have had to pay it in the first place," Walsh, the newspaper's chief sports writer, said.

"The Sunday Times really needed to be encouraged to ask questions about this guy, to investigate him. That's what our judges should have been saying to us: 'It's in the public interest for you to go out there and find out the truth about this guy'.

"But what we were being told was: 'Until he tests positive, you can do nothing. You can't suggest that he deserves to be investigated'.

"Well, what happens if when he tests positive it gets covered up? They would say 'expose that'. That's what we were trying to do. That's why The Sunday Times ended up paying almost PS1m."

Walsh first met Armstrong in 1993, the year the then 21-year-old rode the Tour for the first time and won the World Road Race Championships, but his suspicions were roused in 1999 when the world was captivated by the story of the cancer survivor leading, and winning, the Tour.

Cycling was a sport mired in doping following the 1998 Tour and Walsh was sceptical of Armstrong's answers on the subject.

He began asking questions and finding the answers to support his hunch, but little forensic evidence. …

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