Whistleblower feels vindicated

SIMON DAY
Last updated 05:00 19/01/2013
Stephen Swart

VINDICATED: Stephen Swart.

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Stephen Swart, the former teammate of cyclist Lance Armstrong, who started the demise of the seven-times Tour de France champion's credibility, says he finally feels vindicated.

Yesterday, Armstrong admitted in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that he had used drugs during all his tour victories.

"People always said that: 'You started this, now you are vindicated'. But we never had specifically 'I did this' until today," Swart, now an Auckland builder, said yesterday.

"There is more satisfaction and being vindicated today than anytime prior."

Swart, a member of team Motorola, was the first former teammate to admit using performance enhancing drugs and the first to allege the use of erythropoietin (EPO), a banned red cell booster which improves endurance, in Armstrong's team during his tour victories.

He has no expectations that Armstrong will contact him and apologise.

"He's not going to contact me, what has he got to apologise about? I've already said what I've done. I've never said what he has done. I've said what we've done as a team," he said.

"But if he gave me a call I would be willing to listen to what he has to say."

After watching the 90-minute interview from his Coromandel holiday home, Swart believes many questions remain unanswered by Armstrong.

"He is looking for a bit of compassion along the way. But all of the facts are out there [as to] what he has done. As far of the rest of that goes, there are few blanks in his statements."

As for Armstrong's claim he hasn't used drugs since 2005, Swart says: "I'm a bit open minded about that. I think there is a bit more too it than that."

During the interview Armstrong admitted to being a bully to get what he wanted. Although never specifically told, Swart said the bullying extended to telling the team to take drugs.

"It did in a direct and indirect way. And if it wasn't through him, it was through management. You can apply the pressure by saying we have to perform," Swart said.

"We all know what the score is - it was just whether you were willing to cross the line."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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