Bradley Wiggins praises disgraced doper Lance Armstrong as Tour de France’s ‘perfect winner’

SIR BRADLEY WIGGINS has shocked the cycling world by describing disgraced doper Lance Armstrong as the "perfect winner" of the Tour de France.

American Armstrong was stripped of all seven of the Tour titles he won when cheating was discovered.

 Sir Bradley Wiggins has described Lance Armstrong 'archetypal Tour de France cyclist'

Reuters
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Sir Bradley Wiggins has described Lance Armstrong 'archetypal Tour de France cyclist'

Yet Wiggins, Britain's first rider to win the Tour, has praised Armstrong as the "archetypal Tour de France cyclist" in a book to be published this week.

Wiggins wrote: "Legend has it that Henri Desgrange, the father of the Tour, envisaged a ‘perfect winner’ … the ideal Tour de France would have one finisher, a type of super-athlete who would not only defeat his opponents but also whatever nature might throw at him.

"[The winner] is always a very special, very driven human being. Therein lies the paradox of Lance’s having being stripped. His opponents didn’t necessarily like him, but . . . sure as hell respected him."

Wiggins makes clear his admiration for Amstrong by recalling their first encounter when the American smiled at him.

 Armstrong was stripped of all seven of his Tour titles

AP:Associated Press
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Armstrong was stripped of all seven of his Tour titles

He writes: "I felt 10ft tall because . . . well, because he was Lance Armstrong. Am I allowed to say that, or does it make me some sort of cycling heretic?”

Wiggins was recently asked in a radio interview whether Armstrong had said sorry for tarnishing cycling.

He said: "No, he doesn't need to apologise to me. That’s not condoning what he did, not for one minute, but once you come out of cycling, I see it more from the human side now, and it is what it is.”

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SIR BRADLEY WIGGINS has shocked the cycling world by describing disgraced doper Lance Armstrong as the "perfect winner" of the Tour de France.