How Armstrong tried to bully us

One of the on-going untruths regarding the Lance Armstrong affair is this is a new story. Not here it isn’t, 10 years ago David Walsh questioned Armstrong’s performances in the pages of out sister publication, Cycle Sport.

In a six-page feature Walsh cast doubt on on the American’s performances, his campaign against Christophe Bassons (who spoke out against drugs in 1999) and about Armstrong’s association with Doctor Michele Ferrari.

These facts are now well documented but back in August 2002 it was considered by many to be quite outrageous. The Walsh feature didn’t win us many friends but it wasn’t meant to, this was a turning point.

Lance had always been a bully but it had little to do with us until he tried to dictate who was allowed to write for our magazines. It was made very clear that if any of our journalists sat next to Walsh in press conferences, or worst of all, should any magazine print his words, then we would be ‘on the list.’

That meant we would be completely cut-off – no interviews, no nothing from the Armstrong camp. The Cycle Sport feature was commission as soon as I could reach David Walsh on the phone.

I was prepared for a backlash but not quite on this scale. We were labelled ‘Lance haters’ and angry readers deserted the magazine in droves. It certainly wasn’t good for sales but we had to print a counter view to the Lance lie. Today I am very pleased we did.
Robert Garbutt, Editor.

This article was first published in the October 18 issue of Cycling Weekly. You can also read our magazines on Zinio and download from the Apple store.

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