I empathize but don't sympathize with Armstrong: Millar

Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:37am EST
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MADRID (Reuters) - Reformed British doper David Millar empathizes but does not sympathize with Lance Armstrong because of the way the disgraced American cyclist went about confessing to years of systematic cheating.

Armstrong told U.S. television chat show host Oprah Winfrey on Thursday he had taken illegal performance-enhancing drugs on each of his record seven Tour de France wins.

Millar, banned for two years for doping in 2004 and since his comeback an active anti-drugs campaigner, said Armstrong had "played a very tactical game" since the damning revelations about his drug use came to light.

He added that he wished he had been able to come clean on a TV show rather than being hauled off by French police and being interrogated by a judge.

"I can't help but empathize with him even if it was Oprah and not a judge but sympathize is too strong a word," Millar said at a Spanish Anti-Doping Agency (AEA) discussion forum in Madrid on Friday.

"Me and Lance were good friends years ago and I can imagine what he's been going through the last six months.

"I like to think I am quite a compassionate person and no matter what he did I do feel for him, his life is never going to be the same.

"He's got kids and they're going to have to go to school. A couple of years ago their dad was the best in the world and now he's a pariah."

Millar, 36, returned to cycling after serving his ban and now rides for the Garmin-Sharp team. He remains one of the sport's leading time trialists and won a silver medal at the 2010 UCI world championships.   Continued...

Garmin-Sharp rider David Millar of Britain reacts on the finish line as he wins the 12th stage of the 99th Tour de France cycling race between Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne and Annonay-Davezieux, July 13, 2012. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier