Lance Armstrong believes his part in cycling’s drugs shame has led to a premature condemnation of Chris Froome.
A urine sample provided by Froome after the Espana a Vuelta in September showed twice the permitted amount of the legal asthma drug, salbutamol.
Froome, a four-time Tour de France winner, denies any wrongdoing and believes his legacy will not be tainted.
Speaking at the BBC’S Sport Personality of the Year awards, where he was a contender for the main prize, he told an audience of millions he had "never taken more" of the drug "than I am allowed".
But, the test has already been labelled a disaster for the sport by the former head of cycling’s lead body.
Whilst investigations continue, Froome rides on, but Pat McQuaid, head of UCI from 2005-13, believes Froome will find it very hard to avoid a ban.
Stripped of his seven Tour de France titles after being found guilty of illegal drug use throughout his career, Armstrong had this to say on the media reaction to Froome’s failed test.
“The article the day after (the test result was made public) in the New York Times was the biggest bunch of bull…. I have ever read. If you are a fan of baseball that gets the New York Times every day and you read that story, it is so harsh on Froome and our sport and our sport’s history,” he told the Independent..
“And yes, I am responsible for a lot of that, I am trying to accept some responsibility here because I have tainted the whole equation, obviously.
"But you don’t get an accurate depiction of this situation by reading that article. You’d have thought Froome had a gallon of EPO for breakfast and that is not accurate, and not fair to him.”
Armstrong added: “Something’s not right about the way this unfolded, the way it was leaked. Something about it just doesn’t feel legitimate – and I’m not trying to pass judgement, good or bad.
"He should be allowed due process to explain what happened here. He could be completely exonerated, but he is tarnished forever. Damage is done.
"This investigation could go on for months. Come next July, riding around France, it’s going to be a nightmare. And I know what’s that like”
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