Olympics-Cycling-Armitstead at fault for mess she's in - Cavendish

Reuters

RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 9 (Reuters) - World champion Lizzie Armitstead is responsible for the chaos she is in following three missed drugs tests, fellow British cyclist Mark Cavendish said on Tuesday.

Armitstead was allowed to compete at the Rio Olympics only after being cleared by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) following a provisional suspension by UK Anti-Doping (UKAD).

"Did she dope? No and I don't be believe she did. Was it an administrative error? Yes it was, absolutely? Was it her fault? Yes it was, absolutely," Cavendish, who is in Rio to take part in the omnium event on the track, told Sky Sports.

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Cavendish, who has 30 Tour de France stage wins to his name, was speaking from experience, having once missed a test.

"I know from personal experience how difficult the whereabouts system can be," the Manxman said.

"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?'"

Armitstead, who finished fifth in the Olympic road race on Sunday, claimed that her phone was on silent when testers tried to locate her at a hotel.

"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," Cavendish said.

"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."

Cavendish, however, hinted the rule that states an athlete can face a suspension of up to two years in the case they miss three tests within a 12-month rolling period, is too harsh.

"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," he said.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ed Osmond)

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