Lance Armstrong finally admitted, to Oprah Winfrey, what many had alleged and believed: He took part in systematic use of performance-enhancing drugs during his unprecedented streak of seven victories in the Tour de France.
In the interview, which was recorded Monday and whose first part (of two) was shown Thursday night on the Oprah Winfrey Network, Armstrong admitted that he wished he had done many things differently, particularly fighting allegations by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that he cheated. It was a USADA report that led to his lifetime ban from cycling and the stripping of his titles.
“I’d do anything to go back to that day,” he said of when USADA began its inquiry. “I wouldn’t fight. I wouldn’t sue ‘em. I’d listen. I’d say, ‘Guys, let me call my family, my sponsors, my organization, tell them what I’ve got to do, and I’ll be right there.’ I wish I had done that.”
Armstrong admitted that he began doping in the mid-1990s, during what he called the EPO generation. He denied he pressured teammates into doping but admitted he could be conceived of as a bully because he was the team’s No. 1 rider and led by example.
Winfrey asked Armstrong why he so “brazenly denied” doping allegations, which he called “the most logical” and “best” question.
“This is too late probably for most people,” he said of his admission of guilt. “And that’s my fault. I view this situation as one big lie I’ve repeated a lot of times.”
Later he added that it’s “a major flaw. A guy who wanted to control every outcome. To never forgive me, I understand that. I have started that process to speak to those people directly.”
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