Challenge triathlon chief executive Felix Walchschofer
says he ''would not like to see'' disgraced cyclist Lance
Armstrong as a competitor at any time in the future but might
well have no choice.
Walchschofer, from Germany, attended Challenge Wanaka at the
weekend and said if Armstrong's admissions of doping led to
sanctions being reduced or lifted, the law was likely to be
on Armstrong's side if he wanted to compete in a Challenge
''If he was to go against us [in] court, I think he might
That was despite Challenge being a private organisation and
Walchschofer's view that ''we would not want to have him at
any of our start lines''.
Walchschofer said many other athletes banned for doping had
been persuaded not to compete in Challenge events when their
''We have just talked to them and said, `We do not want to
have you', and they did not come to race with us.''
He believed public opinion could strongly influence athletes'
decisions and cited the case of German triathlete Nina Kraft,
who was banned for one year after testing positive for
performance-enhancing drug Epoetin.
Although she competed in ironman events after the ban ended,
Walchschofer persuaded her not to compete in a Challenge
''She wanted to race with Challenge Roth [in Germany] but I
contacted her and said, `Nina, we don't want to have you
racing, and if you decide to push it our lawyers and
everything will go public'.
''And she decided not to race.''
Both Walchschofer and Australian triathlete great Chris
McCormack have told the Otago Daily Times they did not
consider Armstrong to be a strong triathlete because he was
not a good runner.
Walchschofer said he would not have made the top three in
''The field was much too strong.''
Walchschofer said Challenge was investing a lot of money in
the fight against doping, testing athletes at every event and
now taking ''blood controls'' before events in Europe as well
''We want to have a clean and fair sport. It would be against
our belief to have someone like Lance Armstrong even if the
ban was lifted.''
Walchschofer said Armstrong had never raced in a Challenge
''We never approached him because ... for us it was obvious
something was very, very wrong there.''
Walchschofer runs the Challenge triathlon series started by
his late father, Herbert. It is the main rival to the Ironman