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Lance Armstrong says he'd cheat again if doping remained pervasive

Lance Armstrong says he would use drugs again if racing in the drug-infested culture of the 1990s

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, who admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs extensively during his career, said he would use them again if he was competing in the doping-abundant culture that existed in professional cycling during the 1990s.

In an interview with the BBC, Armstrong, 43, spoke about his career and maintained he had to use performance-enhancing drugs in order to compete.

"If I was racing in 2015, no, I wouldn't do it again because I don't think you have to," Armstrong said. "If you take me back to 1995, when doping was completely pervasive, I would probably do it again."

Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France victories and given a lifetime ban from competitive cycling in 2012 after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency found he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career. He publicly admitted to doping during a 2013 televised interview with Oprah Winfrey.

During his career, Armstrong repeatedly denied he was taking drugs. Along the way, he called several former riders and teammates liars when they accused him of doping. He also threatened lawsuits against some of them, including a former U.S. Postal team masseuse who revealed details about Armstrong's use of banned substances.

"I would want to change the man that did those things, maybe not the decision, but the way he acted," Armstrong said.

"The way he treated people, the way he couldn't stop fighting. It was unacceptable, inexcusable."

Armstrong also expressed a desire for a level of forgiveness from the public. He said he's hopeful that he's "getting close to that time" where his public life might return to normal.

"But that's me, my word doesn't matter anymore. What matters is what people collectively think, whether that's the cycling community, the cancer community.

"Listen, of course I want to be out of timeout, what kid doesn't?"

As for his Tour de France victories, Armstrong said he believes he should be considered a seven-time winner.

"I think there has to be a winner, I'm just saying that as a fan," Armstrong said. "I don't think history is stupid, history rectifies a lot of things. If you ask me what happens in 50 years, I don't think it sits empty... I feel like I won those Tours."

Times staff writer Kurtis Lee contributed to this report.

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