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Webber on Armstrong, Marko

Tuesday 29-January-2013 12:10

Red Bull driver Mark Webber has hit out at former friend Lance Armstrong and offered a curt response to Helmu Marko's criticism.

Webber, who became friends with Armstrong through his own love for cycling and admired the American for the way in which he battled back from cancer - having lost his grandfather to the disease when he was just 14 - now realises he was just one of the many people that Armstrong treated "like idiots".

In truth, their friendship ended in 2008 when Armstrong failed to show "without a word of an apology" for the 2008 Monaco Grand Prix after Red Bull "had gone out of their way to meet all his demands", an incident that now makes much more sense to Webber in light of the damaging revelations revealed in Armstrong's recent interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Writing in his final BBC column, Webber said: "I think what's staggering to everyone is the amount of people he was prepared to take out on the way up; people who were morally on the right side of the bridge.

"He wasn't worried about the ramifications and the position he may have put these people in; it was all about Planet Lance.

"That's why, Lance, using your words, the "death penalty" (regarding his life ban from cycling) isn't too heavy. You rubbed a lot of people's noses in it for so long and treated the rest of us like idiots.

"Whenever I think of Armstrong now, I think of the clean cyclists who competed in the system Armstrong was fuelling week in, week out.

"We'll never know but some of them on their day could have challenged the likes of Armstrong, Ivan Basso, Jan Ullrich, Alexander Vinokourov, Alberto Contador, Richard Virenque and so on.

"Sadly, we don't even know their names, but in my reckoning they're morally streets ahead of those guys. Life is full of choices. Sure, none of us are perfect, but ultimately karma always triumphs."

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In other news surrounding Webber, the Australian has finally responded to the fairly stinging criticism he received from Red Bull Racing advisor Helmut Marko earlier this month.

Speaking to Red Bull's own Red Bulletin magazine, Marko claimed Webber "can't maintain this form throughout the year" and "falls relatively easily into a downward spiral" when things start to go wrong in the closing stages of a season, like in 2012.

In a pre-season Q&A on his own website, Webber responded to Marko's claims, saying simply: "Look, everyone at this level has their own agendas and it's been evident for a long time now that I've never been a part of Marko's."

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