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Armstrong hits back at Clerc

LANCE Armstrong lashed out at former Tour de France boss Patrice Clerc on Tuesday, saying he should take responsibility for the many doping scandals at the race during the American's three-year absence.

Armstrong was responding to comments made by Clerc, the former head of Tour organizer ASO, who told French newspaper Le Monde last week that the seven-time champion's return meant "reopening a troubled chapter of the Tour history."

"Was the Tour and was ASO in a perfect situation when I was gone?" Armstrong asked. "When you look at any company or any organization, and you have dissension among the ranks, corruption among the ranks, you have too look at the boss. He was the boss.

"Under his reign, and under his leadership, cycling was not perfect."

Armstrong returned this year after retiring following his seventh win in 2005.

In 2006, the race was tarnished by one of the biggest scandals in Tour history when Floyd Landis had his title stripped for testing positive for testosterone. The next year, leader Michael Rasmussen was sent home for lying about his whereabouts in pre-race doping checks. In 2008, six riders were caught doping.

"The question really has to be turned back to him," Armstrong added. "I understand he is upset that he no longer has the job. But...I would turn the question around, and analyze the four years I was gone."


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