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'Look at this arrogant prick' -- what we learned from Lance/Oprah part 1

The cyclist confessed his cheating in the first part of an interview with Oprah Winfrey which aired last night.

Image: George Burns/AP/Press Association Images

IN THE FIRST part of his sit-down confessional with Oprah Winfrey, Lance Armstrong finally admitted some — though not all — of the doping which saw him stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and given a lifetime ban from cycling.

Here’s a quick summary of the major points:

  • In a series of Yes/No questions from Winfrey at the start of the interview Armstrong admitted using banned performance-enhancing substances, including EPO, during all seven of his Tour de France wins.
  • He later admitted using a “particular cocktail” of EPO, testosterone and blood transfusions.
  • He apologised: “I made my decisions. They’re my mistake. And I’m sitting here today to acknowledge that and to say I’m sorry for that.”
  • Asked if it was possible to win without doping Armstrong said “not in that generation”, but said that the culture in the peloton did not compare to the widespread practices in East Germany in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • “I didn’t invent the culture, but I didn’t try to stop the culture, and that’s my mistake and that’s what I have to be sorry for, and the sport is now paying the price because of that.”
  • He disputed USADA’s claim that he continued to dope following his return to cycling in 2009 and said he rode his final Tours clean. By admitting doping only as far as 2005, he appears to be positioning himself outside the World Anti-Doping Agency’s eight-year statute of limitations.
  • He said that he was a bully and an “arrogant prick” who tried to control the narrative. He said that after beating cancer he wanted to win at all costs and, though he doped before his cancer diagnosis, it was only afterwards that he became a bully.
  • He described Michele Ferrari, the Italian doctor who has a lifetime ban from cycling for his involvement in doping, as “a good man and a smart man.”
  • Asked if he felt that his use of PEDs was cheating at the time, Armstrong said no and that he had to look up the definition of “cheat” in the dictionary.
  • “The definition of cheat is to gain an advantage on a rival or foe, you know, that they don’t have or that they — you know, I didn’t do it that way. I viewed it as a level playing field.”
  • Asked about the alleged cover-up of a positive test at the 2001 Tour of Switzerland — the test which Tyler Hamilton alleges Armstrong “took care of” with help from officials in the International Cycling Union (UCI) — Armstrong flatly denied the story.
  • “There was no positive test, there was no paying off the lab, there was no secret meeting with the lab director.”
  • He refused to answer a number of questions about Betsy Andreu and her testimony that she heard Armstrong openly admit doping while in hospital, saying “I’m not going to take that one on.”
  • Asked if he would take part in a truth and reconciliation process in cycling Armstrong said if invited, “I’ll be the first man in the door” — though he conceded he has no “moral platform.”
  • Regarding the US Department of Justice’s decision in early 2012 not to pursue a case against him, he said he thought he was “out of the woods. And those were some serious wolves.”
  • He said that his fate was sealed when friend and lieutenant George Hincapie decided to co-operate with USADA’s investigation: “George is the most credible voice in all of this. We’re still great friends.”

– Additional reporting from AFP

Lance: I’ve tried to apologise to ‘bullied’ Emma O’Reilly

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Niall Kelly

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