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Cavendish: Armitstead “could have prevented chaos” over missed tests

"Was it her fault? Yes, absolutely."...

Mark Cavendish has said that Lizzie Armitstead “could have prevented the chaos” that engulfed her in the build-up to the Olympic road race after it emerged she had escaped a ban over three ‘Whereabouts’ failures.

World champion Armitstead finished fifth in Sunday’s race, won by Anna van der Breggen of the Netherlands.

However, she was only able to compete at Rio after the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled she was not at fault for missing an out-of-competition test in August last year, the first of three failures under the Whereabouts system that had led to UK Anti-Doping provisionally suspending her earlier in July.

> British Cycling advised Armitstead to include hotel room numbers on whereabouts information

Cavendish himself missed an out-of-competition test in 2011 due to a last-minute change of travel plans that was not logged on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s ADAMS system.

> Cavendish confirms he missed out-of-competition drugs test

Speaking to Sky Sports News HQ, he said he believes that Armitstead is riding clean, but said she needed to take responsibility for her Whereabouts failures.

He said: "Did she dope? No, and I don't believe she did, you know. Was it an administrative error? Yes. Was it her fault? Yes, absolutely.

“I know from personal experience how difficult the whereabouts system can be.

"But I have an alarm on my phone every night at 6pm and my wife has one on her phone and she makes a habit of when we talk every night she will ask me 'Have you done your Whereabouts?'

"But I don't think it is fair that you can get a bigger sanction for an administrative failure than for an actual doping offence. It's ridiculous."

Referring to his own experience, he said: "I had a missed test with the Giro d'Italia and I think the majority of sports people have a missed test because you are a bit blasé until you get your first missed test.

"I think Lizzie herself could have prevented the chaos that she's in but I think she's done well to deal with it, get on her bike and show why she's world champion," he added.

Cavendish is in Rio to ride the Omnium as he seeks the Olympic medal that has so far eluded him, and may also figure in the team pursuit when the track racing programme gets under way on Thursday.

"I'm proud to be British and I'm proud to represent the flag I was born under," he said. "I've won Europeans, Worlds, Commonwealths, everything you can do with a British jersey – apart from the Olympics.

"I'm not going in to try and get a bronze medal. I'm going to try and get a gold medal. If it happens it happens, if it doesn't, it doesn't – but gold is definitely the aim," added Cavendish, who missed out on the podium in Beijing, where he rode the Omnium with Sir Bradley Wiggins, and in London, when he started as favourite for the road race.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Pompey Tim | 7 years ago

Cav and Wiggo rode the Madison (not the Omnium) together in Beijing - who can forget how well that worked out?

RobertMW | 7 years ago

At the end of the day, she's a pro rider and the same rules apply to all. No excuses. I think she may have been having some personal problems which she's used in mitigation. I have no idea what they are as they are 'personal'! I'd personally like to think she's riding clean, but it doesn't look good.

oozaveared | 7 years ago

Maybe true but as she has said she isn't in a big well financed team with people who take care of the diary and the admin for her.  

I do like Cav but he could do with a little bit of empathy sometimes for the folk that do have the same testing regime butr don't have the same support or income.

Awavey replied to oozaveared | 7 years ago
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oozaveared wrote:

Maybe true but as she has said she isn't in a big well financed team with people who take care of the diary and the admin for her.  

What part of Cav setting a daily reminder alarm on his phone and his wife prompting him daily do you think comes down to being part of a 'big well financed pro team' precisely ?

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