Sunday 19 November 2017

'I was such a dick' - Lance Armstrong admits he regrets press conference rows with journalists in revealing interview

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong
Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Lance Armstrong has admitted he is ashamed of his behaviour as he covered up his use of performance enhancing drugs during his cycling career, in what may be his most honest interview yet.

Speaking to Howard Stern on Sirius XM radio in America, the fallen sporting icon who was stripped of his seven Tour de France wins revealed the biggest regret he has from his time in the sport is not his decision to use EPO to enhance his performance.

Instead, he has suggested that his press conference exchanges with writers who were intent on exposing his cheating are among his more shameful moments.

He may well have been referring to his infamous clash with the Sunday Independent’s Paul Kimmage and several other journalists and former members of his team in these comments that make for fascinating reading.

“The decisions I made when we were at war, quote unquote, that is a different thing,” he stated, in reference to his decision to take the performance enhancing EPO.

“But the way I acted, the vehement denials and the way I went about defending myself….buddy the ultimate Lance Armstrong torture is put him in front of a laptop, pull up YouTube and make him what some of those press conferences. Just such a dick. The way I acted was by far the worst part.”

Armstrong admits he is still taunted by his detractors four years after his famous interview with Oprah Winfrey, as he finally confessed to cheating his way to victory in all of his Tour de France wins.

Watch the exchange with Paul Kimmage here:

“We live in an age where people don’t have to come up to your face to criticise me,” he stated. “No one has ever come up to my face in the last five years and done that.

“But to people who do it on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, you know what I say; I understand.

“I can’t change it. All I can do is walk this walk I’m on. If I’m at an airport, a bike race, if people criticise me, I’d say I totally understand. I’m sorry.”

Armstrong appeared to be content with his decision to turn to drugs to fuel his cycling career, as he did not show any remorse in an era when he believes everyone in cycling was cheating a corrupt system.

“EPO is what changed the game,” he continued. “That came in to our sport at exactly the time my generation came into the sport.

“I’m not trying to justify it or make excuses, but it was a long time ago and the culture of the sport was so crazy.

“I wanted to win and I wanted to be the best. I knew I needed a knife as I was going into a knife fight.

“EPO was so powerful. You get a little EPO in your life…it was wow. We had a choice and we made that choice. Nearly everyone made that choice as well.

“There was no test at the time (for EPO). We made that decision. No excuses.

“Everyone was riding this wave. I was riding it, my team was riding it, my foundations were riding it. You are trying to keep this thing going.”

Armstrong regrets making a comeback to the sport in 2009, as he suggested his records would never have been questioned if he did not provide ‘a bridge from the past to the future’ as he also opened up on his son Max’s view on the tarnished Armstrong image.

“I tell a story of my son Max when he was having a conversation with his mother,” he added. “The subject came up and he was talking with his mother and she was saying that I was a great professional cyclist.

“He and I are best friends and he loves me to death. His response was like; yes but he cheated. My son said that to his mother.

“When they grow up, they will watch a documentary, they will watch something on YouTube. That will come up.”

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