Armstrong unfazed by doping maelstorm
Unrepentant and seemingly unconcerned, Lance Armstrong was going about his business as usual on Thursday as the cycling world was left reeling by the revelations about his alleged role as a doping ringleader.
Five of his former team mates who confessed to using performance enhancing drugs were formally banned by USA Cycling on Thursday while Spanish authorities were reviewing the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) documentation after three of their nationals were implicated.
The International Olympic Committee was also sifting through the mountain of evidence that USADA said proved that Armstrong cheated his way to the top while the riders and officials were assessing the latest damage to the sport's already tarnished image.
"It is understandable now for people to look at any results in cycling and question that," the head of British cycling Dave Brailsford told BBC radio. "It completely and utterly lost its way and I think it lost its moral compass."
Bradley Wiggins, who won this year's Tour de France, said he was shocked at the scale of the evidence against Armstrong, who was banned for life and stripped of his seven Tour de France wins by USADA last month after electing not to fight the doping charges against him.
"It's pretty damning stuff," Wiggins told Sky Sports news. "It is jaw-dropping the amount of people who have testified against him."
Armstrong, 41, has always denied any wrongdoing and has yet to comment on USADA's report.
On Thursday, he seemed oblivious to the storm, tweeting: "Hanging @LIVESTRONGHQ w/ the team talking about next week's events and plans for 2013. Can't wait to see so many friends and supporters."
The Texan's lawyers spoke for him, attacking USADA's investigation as an unconstitutional "witch hunt", but the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) said the American watchdog had done a thorough job in trying circumstances.
"We would like to commend USADA for having the courage and the resolve to keep focused in working on this difficult case for the sake of clean athletes and the integrity of sport," said WADA president John Fahey in a statement.
There was little immediate reaction from his sponsors although Nike reissued a statement they first released last month, standing by him.