Lance Armstrong confesses to Oprah Winfrey: My mythic story would have been impossible without doping

 

If Oprah’s regular audience switched on her interview with Lance Armstrong last night hoping for tears, they’ll have found it disappointing. But for her new audience from the global cycling community, the encounter was anything but.

With his very first answers of the evening, the shamed cyclist confessed that he used performance enhancing substances throughout most of his sporting career, including in all seven of his Tour de France victories. His life as a champion who had overcome cancer to win clean was "a perfect, mythic story," he said. "And it wasn't true."

Armstrong also said he believed his feat of seven consecutive Tour wins from 1999 to 2005 would have been impossible without doping, revealing that his personal preferred "cocktail" was EPO, blood doping and testosterone. He described the US Postal Service team's doping programme as "professional", though he rejected USADA's claims that it was " the most sophisticated, professional and successful doping programme that sport has ever seen." No team members were ever forced to take part in doping, he claimed, though he did admit: "I was a bully."

At the time, said the Texan, he didn't consider his actions to be cheating, because so many other cyclists were also using drugs. "I viewed it as a level playing field," he said. He did, however, deny having doped during his comeback Tours in 2009 and 2010, in which he placed third and 23rd respectively. The last time he used performance enhancing substances, he insisted, was in 2005.

Indeed, Armstrong believes that his 2009 comeback was what led to his downfall. If he had decided to remain in retirement, he told Winfrey, "We wouldn't be sitting here." But his former teammate, Floyd Landis – who was stripped of his own Tour title for doping in 2006 – was unhappy about Armstrong's decision to return to cycling. Landis accused Armstrong of doping in an interview with the US news programme Nightline in 2010, accusations which led to an investigation by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Winfrey, whom some had feared would go easy on Armstrong, appeared well briefed for the interview, with a finer recollection of some incidents than the shamed cyclist himself. The second half of the conversation, which was recorded at a hotel in Austin on Monday, will be broadcast tonight at 2am GMT. The pair are expected to discuss Armstrong's family and his cancer foundation Livestrong, as well as what the future holds for the disgraced athlete.

Armstrong said that he would be keen to help clean up the sport and its image. "It's not my place to say, 'Hey guys, let's clean up cycling!' But if they had a truth and reconciliation commission... I'd be the first through the door." Offering his apologies to anyone to whom he had lied or sued, Armstrong described himself as "deeply flawed". Whether those victims or the cycling community will ever forgive him for his misdeeds, is a question that only they can answer.

 

Get Adobe Flash player

 



PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
voices
Sport
Roger Federer is greeted by Michael Jordan following his victory over Marinko Matosevic
tennisRoger Federer gets Michael Jordan's applause following tweener shot in win over Marinko Matosevic
News
peopleJustin Bieber accuses paparazzi of acting 'recklessly' after car crash
Arts and Entertainment
Oppressive atmosphere: the cast of 'Tyrant'
tvIntroducing Tyrant, one of the most hotly anticipated dramas of the year
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Technical Manager – Heat Pumps

£40000 Per Annum dependent on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: They ...

Test Job

TBC: Test Recruiter for iJobs: Job London (Greater)

Senior Developer - HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, VBA, SQL

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: We are working with one o...

Senior Developer - HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, VBA, SQL

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: We are working with one o...

Day In a Page

Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

From strung out to playing strings

Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

A big fat surprise about nutrition?

The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

On the road to nowhere

A Routemaster trip to remember
Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

Hotel India

Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
10 best pencil cases

Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

Pete Jenson: A Different League

Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
Britain’s superstar ballerina

Britain’s superstar ballerina

Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
Berlin's Furrie invasion

Berlin's Furrie invasion

2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis