Stephen Swart's phone sat silent this week, at least as far as what would have been his highest profile conversation was concerned.

While the rest of the cycling fraternity may have waited in anticipation of a call from disgraced drug cheat Lance Armstrong to his old teammate Swart, the New Zealander knew the score: Armstrong had no intention of picking up the phone.

Armstrong was thought to have flown out of Auckland tonight, having failed to follow through on his stated intention of calling Swart.

While he was in Auckland for a Lion Breweries commercial, Armstrong, who won, and was stripped of, seven Tour de France titles for doping, repeatedly said he wanted to speak to Swart.


Whether it was to clear the air with one of the first riders to speak publicly about Armstrong's doping regime, or just say gidday wasn't clear.

Swart, asked last night whether the phone had rung said: "What would you think? You don't have to double check, you know the answer."

Had he genuinely expected sport's highest profile drug cheat to follow through on his intention?

"It's just a PR stunt on his behalf to make himself look (good) in front of everybody else," Swart, one of this country's finest road riders, said.

"All the people that he's hurt over the years, he's never officially gone in front of them and apologised."

Swart, who rode with Armstrong before his treatment for cancer, pointed out Armstrong would have known his itinerary well before landing in New Zealand.

Lance Armstrong. Photo / File
Lance Armstrong. Photo / File

"If he had any intention (of getting in touch) he would have made contact prior. He had no intention."

Swart said had Armstrong called he would have talked to him. There would have been no slamming the phone - "I've got no reason not to (chat).


"But people have got to realise that, hey this is the person you've seen in the past. Nothing's changed. He's not sorry for anything he's done.

"Bottom line, he's not the only one who should be apologising. There's a whole entourage around him who should be floated in the same boat."

Swart doubts he'll ever have contact with Armstrong again. After all, as he put it: "If there was a prime opportunity it was now."

Swart suspects his motives for Armstrong seeking positive noises are to garner some sympathy ahead of his impending US Government federal lawsuit.

Lance Armstrong arriving at Auckland International Airport. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Lance Armstrong arriving at Auckland International Airport. Photo / Jason Oxenham

There could be a $US100 million hit coming with the Justice Department saying Armstrong defrauded the government during the years it sponsored him through the naming rights of his team.

The US Anti Doping Agency report into the case included the line that it was "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen".

So how does Swart think of Armstrong now?

"He was gifted but also arrogant. Maybe they go hand in hand.

"No doubt he had talent. But if you thought he was a Tour de France winner? No way."

Swart chats occasionally to other former teammates.

The last time he spoke to Armstrong was in Switzerland in 1995.

"That pretty much says everything to me, in a basket."