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Toby Young
Monday 21st January 2013

It's not just Lance Armstrong Alastair Campbell was wrong about. When is he going to book an appearance on Oprah?


Better late than never. Yesterday, Alastair Campbell finally admitted he'd been wrong about Lance Armstrong. In a breath-takingly oleaginous article in the Times in 2004, Campbell took Armstrong's side against those accusing him of doping. "It is his cheating of death, the heroism of his comeback, his record since that makes him one of the most inspiring sportsmen of all time," panted Campbell. "If you ask Armstrong a question, large or small, he answers it straight out."

Is that right, Ali? Here's Armstrong answering "straight out" Ali's question of whether he ever used drugs:

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.

Campbell returned to the subject of "the most inspiring sportsmen of all time" last year, shortly after Armstrong had announced he wouldn't contest allegations of cheating by the US Anti-Doping Agency. Even this failed to convince Campbell that his hero had feet of clay. "I still want to believe, as his achievements on and off the bike are so remarkable," he wrote. (To read more, click here.)

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