Why do you specifically mention the Spaniards when it happened in many countries?
I've seen people from many nationalities coming to Armstrong's defence.
Including French TdF director Leblanc and former French cyclist Laurent Jalabert.
Leblanc and Jalabert were both part of the system, so of course they defended Armstrong. Irrelevant.
What's more, as duong pointed out, I don't really think Jalabert was that much of an Armstrong defender.
Jalabert, while never really acknowledging anything openly, has had a rather cynical attitude when talking about doping. An attitude that always kind of means "I'm not going to say it but we both understand, right"...
I hear a lot of French people (not all, but many) congratulate their own country for daring to throw down their own heroes unlike other countries.
Richard Virenque is often mentioned in this regard.
Pfffft. I still remember that Festina affair quite well. His "soigneur" Willy Voet, a man who has stood by Virenque through thick and thin was held at the Belgian-French border with doping products in his car. What was the reaction from dear old Virenque? He shoved Voet under the bus and claimed to not be aware of what Voet was transporting. Many of his mostly French supporters were all too keen to believe that. Not all, granted, but many.
Virenque was by far the most famous name in that Festina affair so after all these years, it's the name that has stuck, but I remember vividly how the fingerpointing across the border took place.
Willy Voet knew what he was doing and he was guilty so I have no sympathy for the man but the attitude against Voet at the start of the scandal was ridiculous.
Only when the evidence was building up did people start to accept that Virenque was just as guilty.
Your example is flawed, because Virenque was the FIRST one, so of course it took time for people to accept it!
It took ME a lot of time to accept it, at first I was convinced they were innocent and it was all a conspiracy by people who were jealous of Festina's success.
I remember getting mad at a doctor on TV, who was saying: "I'll tell you the truth: as far as I know, about 90% of professional cyclist - at least - are dopers."
I insulted this guy and thought he was lying.
And then the evidence started building up, more and more... And I've come a long way since.
You can say whatever you want about French people being "hypocritical" and "arrogant" and whatnot, the fact is that this work has not been done in most other countries.
Virenque was the first one, but then, there's an endless list of French cyclists who got caught. The last one was Jeannie Longo, and she certainly was a cyclist that France was proud of! Yet she was caught, and there was no public outcry about it, none at all.
Compare this with the reaction to the Contador case in Spain.
Regarding Armstrong, as duong said, it may be true that other people than the French suspected Armtrong, but the French were stigmatised by Armstrong defenders as the evil accusers who were just jealous.
They accused French cycling fans of hating him because he was successful, they even accused French labs of having made up their tests when they showed something dodgy!
So yes, the French are 100% legitimate to claim the Armstrong downfall as a victory.
As for the rest, well, I used to follow doping very closely, I have now more or less given up, at least I don't investigate it as I used to...
But I'm telling you (not you specifically, but everyone who likes to sneer at the French on this topic), the French ARE ahead of most other countries in terms of anti-doping, and the Spanish (and not only them) are way behind. Now you can continue to laugh at everything the French say, but then, you have no right to claim you're disappointed when another Armstrong case breaks out.
(Oh and regarding the British team in track cycling... I had heard nothing about doping allegations, what I had heard was that the British had fallen on purpose so they would get a second chance - which was all the more embarrassing as they had excluded Chinese badminton players for losing a match on purpose the day before...
Now if you like to think that everything the French say