Mark Cavendish says he believes Lizzie Armitstead has to take the blame for her whereabouts failures, which saw her provisionally suspended for three missed tests before having one overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
In an interview with Sky Sports News, Cavendish says that he does not believe Armitstead was doping, but that “Lizzie herself could have prevented the chaos she’s in.”
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27-year-old Armitstead competed in the Olympic road race in Rio on Sunday but could only manage fifth, having suffered through a week under the spotlight in the build up to the race as news broke of her missed tests.
“Did she dope? No, and I don’t believe she did, you know,” said Cavendish.
“Was it an administrative error? Yes. Was it her fault? Yes absolutely. I know from personal experience how difficult the whereabouts system can be.
“But I have an alarm on my phone every night at 6pm and my wife has one on her phone and she makes a habit of when we talk every night she will ask me ‘Have you done your whereabouts?’
Cavendish himself has recorded a missed test in the past, and says that he found it “ridiculous” that an athlete that misses three tests should get a bigger sanction than an actual failure.
“I don’t think it is fair that you can get a bigger sanction for an administrative failure than for an actual doping offence. It’s ridiculous,” he said.
“I had a missed test with the Giro d’Italia and I think the majority of sports people have a missed test…
“You are a bit blasé until you miss your first test, but missing three?
“I think Lizzie herself could have prevented the chaos that she’s in but I think she’s done well to deal with it, get on her bike and show why she’s world champion.”