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Lance Armstrong still considers himself a Tour de France winner (video)

Aug 7, 2014, 2:46 PM EDT

Lance Armstrong AP

Lance Armstrong still sees himself as a seven-time Tour de France winner, he told Dan Patrick in an interview aired Thursday.

“I don’t like arguing and fighting about it, but you asked me if I feel that way, I say yes, but I also know very well that there are many, many people that don’t agree with that. I respect that, I understand that.”

Armstrong, who was stripped of his record seven Tour de France titles in 2012 and confessed to doping throughout his career, also said he doesn’t wear a Livestrong bracelet anymore.

He said for the first time in his life he’s “truly fearless.”

“Obviously, I was beholden to a very dark secret that just sucked,” Armstrong said. “There was a lot of pressure there that I don’t have anymore. The slate is clean, and I can kind of do whatever I want going forward.”

Armstrong also sympathized with fellow performance-enhancing drug user Mark McGwire in a wide-ranging interview.

“Let’s not forget, he helped save that game after all of the drama of the strike and low attendance,” Armstrong said. “We’d be hypocrites to say they didn’t help save the game.”

Armstrong was asked what the reaction would be if he walked on the Champs-Elysees in Paris wearing a yellow jersey.

“I don’t think I want to do that,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong said he followed this year’s Tour de France, won by Italian Vincenzo Nibali, loosely when he wasn’t mountain biking in Aspen, Colo.

He also declined to say if he was a greater cyclist than three-time Tour winner Greg LeMond, with whom he has an icy relationship.

Armstrong did share a story of a cab ride in central Paris about nine months ago, and was asked how he would fare in the Tour if, hypothetically, he trained for it now and entered in 2015.

“Not very well,” said Armstrong, who has been banned for life. “At 43, 44 years old, I could finish, but I’d get spanked.”

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  1. honkerdawg - Aug 7, 2014 at 4:39 PM

    I’M a Texan and Lances rep isn’t just tarnished, it’s mud. He let a lot of people in Austin down, not that he cares. He’s just another cheater who hasn’t the right to claim ANY titles at all

  2. shawnrohrbach - Aug 7, 2014 at 6:41 PM

    When writing my novel “Cast the First Stone” I interviewed a lot of pro and amateur cyclists, most of whom admitted to doping because everyone else was doing it. It was a bleak time for me and I almost stopped writing the book. Here’s an essay on the process and what allowed me to finish the book.

  3. witchrunner - Aug 7, 2014 at 6:52 PM

    It’s like with baseball, everyone was playing by the same rules. There’s no reason to keep any of the ‘roid users out from the Sousa – McGuire era as they didn’t use anything that was against the rules. In cycling, the “rules” were “don’t get caught.” This is one of those cases where “everyone” did do it. After all, they’ve taken the position that there were no winners. And I haven’t seen anyone jump up and down screaming “hey, I didn’t use!, so I should be the winner!” In this case, it amounts to driving 57 in a 55 zone.

  4. mogogo1 - Aug 8, 2014 at 4:33 PM

    I doubt anyone else in his shoes would feel any differently. He in fact did win all those times, cheating or not. And the one year you have to go back to like 20th place before you find a finisher who wasn’t either caught doping or implicated in it. I’m not making excuses for the guy, but it’s clear doping was dominating the sport at that time. He was the best cheater among all the other cheaters.

  5. vergedrums - Aug 19, 2014 at 12:56 PM

    For me, it’s only partially the doping that bothers me. And, really, that doesn’t bother me that much, considering the well-known fact that everyone was doing it.

    It’s the way Armstrong utterly destroyed people who spoke out about his doping, slandering and suing them until they were completely humiliated. I think the two events that stand out are: 1) Armstrong sees Levi Leipheimer’s wife in a restaurant and texts a message to her phone saying “Run don’t walk”. 2) Armstrong runs into Tyler Hamilton in a restaurant and threatens to “f***ing destroy” him if he talks to the grand jury.

    He deserves to be in prison for witness intimidation.

    He’s a creep. He took all of it MUCH further than anyone else in the history of sports. Threatening other people’s wives and calling people whores (that’s what he called Emma O’Reilly while he was under oath in Europe, while he was in the process of being sued for lying about doping); he’s a class act all the way.

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