MARK Webber has accused disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong of treating people “like idiots” during the time he was doping.
Red Bull Formula One river Webber was firm friends with Armstrong throughout the middle of the last decade, not least due to his own love of cycling. In particular, Webber was struck by Armstrong’s battle against cancer in the wake of his own grandfather’s fight prior to his passing when Webber was just 14.
The friendship, however, ended in 2008 when Armstrong failed to show “without a word of an apology” for the 2008 Monaco Grand Prix after Red Bull “had gone out of their way to meet all his demands”.
Over time, Webber concedes to the realisation “perhaps he [Armstrong] wasn’t all I had hoped him to be”.
In his interview with Oprah Winfrey earlier this month, Armstrong admitted to doping his way to his seven Tour de France titles, of which he has since been stripped. Expressing the disillusionment felt by so many, in his final BBC column, Webber said: “I think what’s staggering to everyone is the amount of people he was prepared to take out on the way up. People who were morally on the right side of the bridge.
“He wasn’t worried about the ramifications and the position he may have put these people in; it was all about Planet Lance.
“That’s why, Lance, using your words, the “death penalty” [regarding his life ban from cycling] isn’t too heavy. You rubbed a lot of people’s noses in it for so long and treated the rest of us like idiots. Whenever I think of Armstrong now, I think of the clean cyclists who competed in the system Armstrong was fuelling week in, week out. We’ll never know but some of them, on their day, could have challenged the likes of Armstrong, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Alexander Vinokourov, Alberto Contador and so on.
“Sadly, we don’t even know their names but, in my reckoning, they’re morally streets ahead of those guys. Life is full of choices. Sure, none of us are perfect, but ultimately karma always triumphs.”