Skip to content

Lance Armstrong says he was ‘singled out’

Dec 12, 2013, 3:08 PM EDT

Lance Armstrong AP

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong admitted to being “way too aggressive” in his years of denying doping allegations but said that he was “singled out” for being combative.

Armstrong, who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France titles last year, said he would still dope if he had to do it over again because most of his peers were cheating, too, according to ESPN.com, citing a 9,000-word ESPN the Magazine interview with Joe Lindsey.

Armstrong also received a life ban and was stripped of an Olympic bronze medal. Others who have admitted to doping during their cycling careers have not been stripped of Olympic medals or Tour de France titles.

“I would even say we all knew what everybody was doing, so I knew what my competitors were doing,” Armstrong said of the main contenders to win the Tour. “We [U.S. Postal Service team] were doing less. We were more conservative, and that’s the reason we were never going to be caught.

Armstrong, who said he still had “no credibility,” discussed plenty in the interview, including his January sitdown with Oprah Winfrey, when he confessed to taking performance-enhancing drugs.

“A buddy of mine told me one day, and I think he’s right, and I respect this guy’s opinion, and he said, “Oprah, for the average person, was too much information,'” Armstrong said. “And for the hardcore cycling fan, it wasn’t enough. So you were stuck in the middle where everyone’s pissed.”

Armstrong said he didn’t have any goals in doing the Winfrey interview, that he wanted to answer her questions honestly.

“Leading up to that, I think people thought she would not give a tough interview, not ask hard questions,” Armstrong said. “I thought the first five minutes got her out of that trap.”

Winfrey came under scrutiny for missing chances to ask follow-up questions. Armstrong contended with that.

“If you ask me questions about what I did in 2001 or what the peloton did in 2001, I’m not going to answer your questions,” he said. “If the governing body of the sport decides to have a full, complete and comprehensive effort to try to address and learn and understand everything, then that’s when I’ll answer questions. To Oprah or to you, that’s not the place to answer those questions. You would love it. She would love it. The hardcore cycling fan would love it. But this isn’t the time and place to answer those questions. If the mission is really to address the issue, not singling out individuals, then let’s do that. Let’s do what we stated we were going to do. Because we haven’t done that yet. In that setting, ask the question, I’ll answer the question.”

Armstrong said if he could go back to 1995, when he started using the popular PED Erythropoietin (EPO), he would have made the same decision. Armstrong would go on to win the first of his seven Tour de France titles in 1999, the year after cycling’s Festina doping scandal rocked the prestigious grand tour.

“It could have been Yosemite Sam winning [in 1999] and he would have been asked a lot of questions,” Armstrong told ESPN the Magazine. “And if he’s winning the Tour in 1999, he’s crossing the line [by doping], for sure. I think that person does the same thing I did, to a degree. They say, ‘No, I’m not cheating.’ I don’t know anybody that would have, at some press conference, and Joe Lindsey says, ‘Are you clean?’ and I don’t know anyone who says, ‘Joe, I’m glad you asked me that. And I’m not.'”

Armstrong said he lied during his championship run to defend his sport, which he said was “on life support,” his U.S. Postal Service team and his foundation.

“In a weird way, I had no choice,” he said.

He also said he thought he would still win the record seven titles if the entire Tour de France field did not use performance-enhancing drugs.

“And I think my competitors, my teammates think that,” Armstrong said. “Guys that saw me or us at work would agree, that with or without dope, those results stay the same. So I would love to have had that opportunity. But I didn’t.”

That agrees with what Armstrong’s biggest rival, Jan Ullrich, said in October, that Armstrong should keep his seven Tour titles.

Bradley Wiggins knighted by Queen Elizabeth II

Latest Posts
  1. Vitaly Scherbo weighs in on Kohei Uchimura

    Apr 20, 2015, 3:14 PM EDT

    Vitaly Scherbo Getty Images

    “To become one of greatest gymnasts of all time, you have to have a little bit more.”

  2. Usain Bolt runs his slowest 100m final ever; Brazil TV simulates Bolt’s dream 100m race

    Apr 20, 2015, 10:05 AM EDT

    Usain Bolt Getty Images

    Bolt picked two sprinters across history he would like to race against.

  3. Olympic champion Amaury Leveaux says French swimmers used cocaine

    Apr 20, 2015, 9:27 AM EDT

    Amaury Leveaux

    Leveaux details his claim in an upcoming autobiography.

  4. Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte split duels in Mesa

    Apr 18, 2015, 10:03 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Katie Ledecky also flirted with a world record.

  5. Boston Marathon preview: Can Meb Keflezighi repeat?

    Apr 18, 2015, 10:17 AM EDT

    Meb Keflezighi AP

    The U.S. appears to have a better shot in the women’s race.

  6. Michael Phelps jokingly challenges Katie Ledecky to race

    Apr 18, 2015, 9:09 AM EDT

    AP AP

    Phelps has raced against a record-breaking woman before.

  7. Debbie Phelps texted Michael Phelps about Rio 2016 years ago (video)

    Apr 17, 2015, 8:35 PM EDT

    Debbie Phelps Getty Images

    “I’m like, Michael, 2016, Rio, 50 free, 100 free, just a relay.”

  8. Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky tie in 400m freestyle

    Apr 17, 2015, 3:06 PM EDT

    Michael Phelps Getty Images

    The finals are at 9 p.m. ET on Universal Sports.

  9. Yevgeny Plushenko to return to figure skating competition

    Apr 17, 2015, 11:03 AM EDT

    Evgeni Plushenko AP

    Plushenko wants to compete in a fifth Olympics in 2018.

  10. St. Louis Marathon disqualifies woman who crossed finish line first

    Apr 17, 2015, 10:29 AM EDT

    St. Louis Marathon

    It took organizers about 20 minutes to figure out what happened Sunday.

  11. Michael Phelps back with ‘OK’ victory in Mesa

    Apr 17, 2015, 8:42 AM EDT

    Michael Phelps Getty Images

    Phelps outdueled Ryan Lochte, but he was slower than last year.

  12. Michael Phelps could be offered World Championships spot by FINA

    Apr 16, 2015, 3:16 PM EDT

    AP AP

    If Phelps is added by FINA, the U.S. might be able to try for podium sweeps at the World Championships.

  13. Michael Phelps fastest in first race since August

    Apr 16, 2015, 3:15 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Phelps and Ryan Lochte appear headed for a showdown Thursday night.

  14. Andrew Wiggins to play for Canada in Olympic qualifying

    Apr 16, 2015, 11:45 AM EDT

    Andrew Wiggins Getty Images

    Canada has a shot to qualify for its first Olympics since 2000.

  15. Aaron Cook, top-ranked taekwondo fighter, switches from Great Britain to Moldova

    Apr 16, 2015, 11:04 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    “There is no legitimate case for nationality change,” a British official said.

  16. Eugene gets 2021 World Track and Field Championships

    Apr 16, 2015, 10:03 AM EDT

    Prefontaine Classic Getty Images

    See Eugene’s bid video for 2019 that failed to get a taste of what Worlds will be like in the U.S.