Rio 2016: Armitstead could have avoided doping controversy, says Cavendish

Mark Cavendish is adamant Lizzie Armitstead is not guilty of doping offences, but says she could have done more to avoid the furore caused by missing three drugs tests.

lizziearmitstead - Cropped

Lizzie Armitstead was cleared for the Rio Olympics after she argued in the Court of Arbitration for Sport that procedures were not properly followed by UK Anti-Doping for the first of her three missed tests.

Mark Cavendish is adamant Lizzie Armitstead is not guilty of doping offences, but says she could have done more to avoid the furore caused by missing three drugs tests.

Armitstead, the road race world champion, was cleared to compete at the Rio Olympics - where she placed outside the medal positions - after successfully arguing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport that procedures were not properly followed by UK Anti-Doping for the first of the missed tests.

The 27-year-old has protested her innocence that she is a clean athlete, a view endorsed by fellow Brit Cavendish.

However, Cavendish believes Armitstead brought the controversy on herself by failing to follow the necessary procedures.

"Did she dope? No, and I don't believe she did," Cavendish told Sky Sports.

"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. 

"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 blase until you get your first missed test. 

"You are a bit blase until you miss your first test, but missing three? 

"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."

Support Sportstar


Dear Reader,

Support our journalism — where text and pictures intermingle so seamlessly — and help us scale up your experience as the world changes around us. Your contribution is vital to our brand of uninfluenced, boots-on-the-ground reportage that’s worth your while. Clickbait sensationalism is not for us, but editorial independence is — we owe it to you.

Read the Free eBook