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Lance Armstrong confesses to use of banned substances including EPO

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Lance Armstrong has admitted to the use of banned substances in competition during an interview with Oprah Winfrey.

The cyclist confessed to using EPO, blood doping and use of testosterone during his highly-anticipated interview with Winfrey on Thursday (January 17).



> Lance Armstrong 'apologises to Livestrong foundation staff'

Armstrong also confirmed that he was using banned substances in the mid-'90s and had been doping during the period of his greatest success when he won a record-breaking seven consecutive Tour de France titles, getting around in-competition testing by 'scheduling' his use of outlawed substances.

He said that his "win at all costs" mentality began when he developed testicular cancer, but persisted following his recovery.

However, Armstrong insisted that he was clean during his comeback in 2009 and 2010 following the International Cycling Union's (UCI) introduction of a 'biological passport' and changes in the drug testing regime.

Lance Armstrong (pictured with Ivan Basso and child, plus Jan Ulrich) - seventh straight Tour de France win in 2005

© PA Images / Christophe Ena / AP


[Lance Armstrong following his seventh and final Tour de France victory]

When Winfrey asked why Armstrong why he had done it, he said: "I don't know that I have a great answer. I will start my answer by saying this is too late. It's too late for probably most people, and that's my fault.

"I view this situation as one big lie, and I repeated a lot of lies. As you said, it wasn't as if I just said 'no' and I moved on. While I've lived through this process... I know the truth. The truth isn't what was out there. The truth isn't what I said, and now it's gone.

"This story was so perfect for so long," he continued. "You overcome the disease [testicular cancer], you win the Tour De France, you have a happy marriage, you have children... all the fault and all the blame falls on me."

When Winfrey asked if doping to achieve his success felt wrong, Armstrong said: "At the time, no. That's scary."

Lance Armstrong, October 2011 Livestrong summit

© PA Images / Julien Behal / PA Wire


> Lance Armstrong stripped of tour victories, banned from cycling

He also added that at the time, he didn't feel like he was cheating taking performance-enhancing drugs because of a culture of doping among rivals, saying: "I just went in and looked up the definition of 'cheat', and it was to gain an advantage over a rival or foe... I viewed it as a level playing field.

"Of course, hindsight is perfect. I know it a thousand times more now. I didn't know what I had [in terms of fan following]. Look at the fallout."

Armstrong denied having access to substances that others didn't, and refused to accuse anyone else of using banned substances, saying that he was "not comfortable" discussing the alleged behaviour of others.

Lance Armstrong photographed in July 2010

© PA Images / John Giles / PA Wire


[Lance Armstrong during his comeback in 2010]

He added: "The idea that anyone was forced or pressured or encouraged [to dope] is not true. I'm out of the business of calling someone a liar... but that is not true."

Refusing to criticise controversial physician and cycling coach Michele Ferrari, Armstrong said: "I viewed [him] as a good man, and a smart man, and I still do."

He vehemently denied claims that a donation he made to the UCI was a mechanism to cover up potential positive tests, and also denied suggestions that he would have had any other rider fired from his team for refusing to dope, saying: "We were grown men. We all made our own choices."

Lance Armstrong with girlfriend Anna Hansen, his mother Linda and four children at the 2009 Tour de France

© PA Images / Christophe Ena / AP


[Lance Armstrong and family at the 2009 Tour de France]

However, Armstrong did confirm a claim made by former masseuse Emma O'Reilly that a prescription was backdated to cover up a positive test for cortisone.

Armstrong also noted during the interview that he understood "some people will never forgive me" for actions borne out of his desire to "control every single outcome", and described himself as a "bully", adding that he "tried to control the narrative, and if I didn't like it, I tried to change it".

The second part of Lance Armstrong's interview with Oprah Winfrey will air on Friday (January 18) at 9pm ET (2am Saturday in the UK) on the OWN network and worldwide on oprah.com.

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