LANCE ARMSTRONG’S FORMER team-mate Tyler Hamilton believes the disgraced former champion’s doping confession was a ‘huge first step.’
Hamilton, a fellow confessed drug cheat on the Armstrong’s tainted US Postal Service team, was one of the key members who contributed to the 1000-page reasoned dossier that saw the fallen cycling star stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life.
And while many questioned the legitimacy and timing of Armstrong’s admission of guilt, Hamilton felt his responses were genuine.
“I think it’s a huge, huge first step for Lance Armstrong,” Hamilton said.
“For a lot of people, it’s raw. I’ve known about it for a long time, since 1998. Big first step.
“You can tell, it’s real. He’s very emotional and he’s definitely sorry. I don’t know. I think it’s going to be a hard next few weeks for him, next few months, years.
“He did the right thing, finally. And it’s never too late to tell the truth.”
Hamilton was one of 11 former team-mates to testify against Armstrong to the US Anti-Doping Agency, with some of the most damaging evidence coming from Levi Leipheimer, stripped Tour winner Floyd Landis and loyal lieutenant George Hincapie.
After years of denials and attacks against his detractors, Armstrong finally confessed to having taken performance-enhancing drugs, describing himself as ‘deeply flawed’ and a ‘bully’.
Hamilton, who himself meddled with the truth before confessing to doping in 2011 after twice being banned, believed the sincerity of Armstrong’s initial apology but said the future would tell the real tale.
“It’s really what happens next, you know. The proof is in the pudding,” he said.
Despite Armstrong declaring he needed to apologise to ‘a lot of people’, Hamilton said he had not heard from him nor did he expect a call.
“He needs to apologise to a lot of other people before he apologises to me,” he said.