People will doubt me forever, admits Lizzie Armitstead as she avoids anti-doping ban

An emotional Lizzie Armitstead in a videograb from a BBC interview
An emotional Lizzie Armitstead in a videograb from a BBC interview
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AN AUDIBLY and visibly shaken Lizzie Armitstead has described her “horrible” predicament after avoiding an anti-doping ban, but says she is not a victim.

The 27-year-old world champion avoided a two-year suspension over three whereabouts ‘failures’ after a challenge at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Otley-based Armitstead, who will feature in the Olympic road race in Rio on Sunday, had an August 20, 2015 ‘failure’ struck from her record, granting her a reprieve for the Games.

She recognises her reputation is tarnished in the eyes of many, but tries to keep her ordeal in perspective.

“I’m not at the point of accepting it yet - but I will have to come to the point of accepting that people will doubt me forever,” she said.

Armitstead told Sky Sports News: “This is horrible, but I’ll get through it. I have perspective on it. There are much worse things happening.

“I’m not a victim and I don’t need to behave like one.”

Asked how she is coping, Armitstead added: “You have no choice, actually. I have perspective on what’s happening to me. This isn’t going to...

“I understand the privilege I have. I understand I’m a privileged person and that I have the ability to be a professional cyclist.”

After missing two earlier tests, personal circumstances dictated that she missed a third in June - an incident that put her participation in Rio in doubt before she was cleared by CAS.

Since being cleared to compete after a provisional suspension on July 11, Armitstead has faced awkward questions and raised eyebrows from other athletes.

She again declined to publicly disclose the circumstances surrounding the third ‘strike’ on June 9, 2016.

But following a lengthy statement on Tuesday, Armitstead spoke to Sky Sports News on Wednesday.

She repeated much of what was said before, but her angst was clear.

Athletes must be available at a clear location for a nominated hour every day for testing. Three whereabouts failures (or strikes) in a 12-month period can lead to a two-year ban.

Armitstead appealed against the first ‘strike’ at CAS - UK Anti-Doping had dismissed an initial appeal - only after receiving a third.

The sports law court declared it void after ruling UKAD’s doping control officer (DCO) had failed to follow procedure. UKAD is awaiting the reasoned decision from CAS.

She was Britain’s first medallist of London 2012 four years ago with silver in the road race on The Mall and is among a group of favourites for the same event in Rio on Sunday.

Christine Ohuruogu was the last British athlete to be banned for three missed tests when she was suspended for a year in 2006.

Second placed Lois Toulson and Matthew Lee of Great Britain watch the scoreboard at the Swimming World Championships 2017 in Duna Arena in Budapest, Hungary. (Tibor Illyes/MTI via AP)

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