BMC rider Tejay van Garderen says it's unfair to have double standards when it comes to Lance Armstrong as there are many others in the sport with chequered pasts

Tejay van Garderen has defended his decision to accept the help of Lance Armstrong, claiming if you were to take away everyone in cycling with a tainted history, there would be very few people left.

The 26-year-old American courted controversy in November 2014 when it was revealed he was being motorpaced by Armstrong in his home town of Aspen, Colorado.

But van Garderen says that while he’s not trained with the 1993 World Champion since, he was more concerned about his training than the negative headlines that would come out of the partnership.

“I’ve not really done any motorpacing with Lance since [November],” he told reporters ahead of the Tour de France. “Not because of any worries about what people might think, but he has kids who go to school in Texas, so most of the year he’s in Austin.

“We happen to run into each other every now and again if we’re both in Aspen, but it’s rare.

“As far as what I was doing with him – we are both top level cyclists, former and current, living in a very small town. It’s hard to avoid each other, so to avoid an awkward situation we’d chat and go for a ride every now and then.

“He offered to motorpace me when my usual pacer was out of town and I didn’t see any harm in it. He told me there was a camera crew coming and that I could duck out if I wanted, but I was more interested in my training.”

Tejay Van Garderen during Stage 6 of the 2015 Tour of Catalonia (Watson)

Tejay Van Garderen during Stage 6 of the 2015 Tour of Catalonia (Watson)

Van Garderen admits he knew the collaboration with Armstrong, who had his seven Tour de France titles stripped after the USADA investigation into him, would cause controversy, but maintains that the Texan shouldn’t be made a scapegoat.

The BMC rider cites many other figures still in the sport with chequered pasts, and questions why Armstrong is treated differently to the likes of Astana manager Alexander Vinokourov.

“I don’t think it sends the wrong message as there’s plenty of people in the sport who have dodgy pasts and admitted it,” he added.

“If you want to take away every single person who’s ever done anything in the past you’re basically getting rid of everyone.

“Vinokourov has a team, lots of the sports directors out there [have doped], George Hincapie has a Gran Fondo and a development team, Jonathan Vaughters runs a team. To have that double standard isn’t very fair, so I didn’t think anything of training with Lance.

“Just because Lance was the most successful cyclist it doesn’t make what he did any more wrong than what those other guys did.”

 Cycling Weekly’s experts discuss the 2015 Tour de France Grand Départ

  • Rightway1208

    No he isn’t. Lance also did more for the sport of cycling positively than anyone in history. As for returning the money, then every company who ever made a dime off of Lance should do the same.
    Like it or not, Lance did what every competitive cyclist did guring his reign. They all admitted it. Every one of then should also have their titles stripped and be banned as well. Including George, Alexander, Levi, et al.if it’s good enough for Lance, it should be good enough for the rest of the dopers and cheaters, but it didn’t happen that way.
    Had it not been for Lance, No one in the USA would know a thing about pro cycling. People wouldn’t know who Phillips Leggitt, Paul Sherwin or Bobke are,
    Lance has paid the price, as he should have, but the Judas goats didn’t. They got a pat on the back.

  • John Senior

    All true – TJ can train with who he wants to but shouldn’t expect people to trust his performances if he chooses to train with someone who is the worlds most notorious sporting cheat- and also true that if you want to believe someones riding clean then an association with Riis or Vinikourov isn’t a good starting point.

  • Lynn Pounian

    Lance is the living embodiment of the saying, “Pigs get fed, hogs get slaughtered.”

    Unchecked avarice and cruelty, not doping, caused his downfall.

    (Lest some commenter accuse me of supporting a doper, I emphatically don’t. He is appalling. But No Name summed it up perfectly.)

  • The Man With No Name

    It’s insane that Armstong is a villain in the public consciousness yet Pantani is still referred to as a hero and the last man to win the Giro and Tour double…while Armstrong has officially won nothing. It’s absurd and immoral that Lance is held to a different standard than the other dopers (hey Alberto! how are ya?). His real crime is how he bullied and attacked, but those actions shouldn’t be why he lost his titles. It’s for cheating, but other cheaters still have their titles. He’s a deplorable man, but cycling needs consistency.

  • Steph Durant

    The whole peloton was and is into thuggery? I didn’t know that.

    (I could personally care less about drug cheating. So, Lance was the best drug cheater. Big deal. Whoop-de-doo.)

  • RE

    Gosh. That was so witty. He died. Ha ha. It’s so funny when people die, isn’t it?

  • rjsciolino

    Nice try, “Cycling”..” The 1993 World Champion”, Lance Armstrong is the former seven time Tour de France winner and he always will be. I love it when so called journalist spin in their descriptions, adjectives and pronouns to promote their agenda.. like referring to Bruce Jenner as “she”.

    Cracks me up. Nice try though…see right through it!

  • Bob Arsenault

    Amen! Key sentence, and it’s what I believe is true in all professional sports including ping pong (a little tongue and cheek)! “If you want to take away every single person who’s ever done anything in the past you’re basically getting rid of everyone.”

  • Eric Prot

    Les who …?

  • Les

    Eric nobody ? Unimportant man making pointless comment

  • Les

    Followed by a whole peloton guilty of the same crime

  • Les

    Idiotic comments. He was simply part of a culture that at that time did no more and no less than all the others. He was in fact a young 20 something exploited by others and created billions for the industry. Get over yourself. !!!!!!!!!

  • Oddity

    Nah, 7 time winner.

  • Steph Durant

    OK … why’s he not associating with Pantani then ….

    oh, wait ……

  • Steph Durant

    Followed by 7 time loser.

    And the latter is the permanent record.

  • Steph Durant

    Yeah, well, TJ, the friends one keeps tells people a lot about a person.

    You’re a chum of an unrepentant sociopathic thug.

    Good for you.

  • Oddity

    7 time winner

  • Ken Serious

    Agreed – Armstrong is the greatest fraudster in the history of sport & should not be associated with. He should be in jail for all the millions he’s swindled. Also he’s insulting to anyone who’s been touched by cancer as he used his charity to hide behind whilst he cheated his way through life, to make himself irreproachable, just like the worst celebrity paedophiles. His charity should have been had it’s entire funds redistributed to cancer charities worldwide that have no link to him. TJ is obviously a better cyclist than thinker.

  • Dabber

    No, just myself.

  • elan

    Agree with the comments from him.If we had to stop cyclists associating with other cyclists there would be no pros left.This also includes the Brits.Mabey less will be said about athletes as Lance cant be blamed for that,or can they?All of a sudden Britain is getting The wrong type of publicity and some don’t like it.Hope Lance can help other cyclists,and I hope he raises millions for cancer research at the Tour run.

  • Roger

    “Unlikely to enhance any respect for respect for him”, “Bla bla doesn’t make one have positive thoughts” sounded more like speaking for the world in general.

  • Dabber

    That’s exactly what I’m doing…. speaking for myself.

  • Roger

    Speak for yourself. It’s certainly none of my business whom he trains with and I see no reason to have less respect for him than for any other human being. And the fact that he has had contact with Armstrong is zero indication that he has done anything illegal.

  • Dabber

    Sure he can train with ever he wants but it’s unlikely to enhance any respect for him by doing so. Does he care about that? Probably not.
    In a sport where everyone is under suspicion contact with Armstrong doesn’t make one have positive thoughts.

  • Zig

    Mr Armstrong is the worst cheater in the history of any sport. A bully and pathetic human being. He can never return to cycling. He just needs to go away.
    (Hopefully he will also be required to return his millions of ill gotten gains)

  • Unfrickingbelievable

    No double standards here. Lance was a thug and is now reaping what he sowed. You can’t name another rider busted for doping who stooped to his level to win. It should come as no surprise that Lance gets zero respect

  • Switchyard O’Taylor

    Even Dr. Ferrari?

  • Roger

    Dunno, but it is irrelevant anyway. He can train with anyone he wants to.

  • Eric Prot

    Lance who … ?

  • ladyxx

    Well said.