Anorak | When Alastair Campbell interviewed Lance Armstong David Walsh was missing

When Alastair Campbell interviewed Lance Armstong David Walsh was missing

by | 5th, September 2012

AS the Times titles go after Lance Armstrong , and writer David Walsh is listened to anew, the paper might reflect on the decision to let spin doctor Alastair Campbell interview the cyclist in 2004.

The story teases:

Cancer, death, WMD, Bush, drugs, divorce … and five Tour de France victories. Discussions at the summit with Lance Armstrong were tough and uncompromising

When I arrive at the flat at the scheduled time, it is Sheryl Crow, his new pop-star girlfriend, who greets me at the door, very warm and welcoming. She comments favourably on the haircut, then Armstrong appears at the end of the hallway, smaller and slighter than he looked on the bike in Paris, big Texan smile, T-shirt, blue jeans, brown boots. A long, firm handshake and we go into the kitchen for coffee and curly little chocolate biscuits he says he got from a store down the street.

It gets no better.

Highlights are:

Armstrong: “…it [cancer] caused me to be a brutally open and honest person.”

Campbell: “If you ask Armstrong a question, large or small, he answers it straight out.”

But Campbell never did ask Armstrong about David Walsh. Instead readers got such candour:

Favourite other sport? Tennis. Best player? Pete Sampras. Is that the same as favourite player? No, his favourite is Andre Agassi….Second favourite other sport? “I love American football…Baseball and basketball? “Don’t watch.” Soccer? Not really… Track and field? “El Guerrouj, that is one runner. I don’t know Marion Jones, but I like what I see. Paula Radcliffe, she is one bad ass.”

Drugs are mentioned:

Armstrong: “This hot button on drugs will always be there. The next thing will be genetic doping. I’m not the first and I won’t be the last (to get the whispers) but I know the truth and that’s what matters to me. People want to know that the guy who worked the hardest and fought the hardest and got the best coaches and the best team-mates went out and won fair and square, and that’s what I’ve been doing.”

No mention of

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Posted: 5th, September 2012 | In: Sports Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink