Lance Armstrong has admitted the doping that saw him stripped of his seven Tour de France titles in an explosive interview.
Armstrong ended years of denials when he admitted to using banned substances in all seven of his Tour de France victories, of which he was stripped last year after a damming U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report.
“Yes,” Armstrong said when asked if he had doped, and said his achievements were impossible without drugs and that he had used EPO, cortisone, blood doping and other banned methods.
“This story was so perfect for so long,” he said in the first part of a pre-recorded two-part interview with U.S chat show queen Oprah Winfrey.
“You overcome the disease, you win the Tour de France seven times, you have this perfect marriage, perfect children.”
Non-doping athletes were “heroes”, he said.
Armstrong blamed the “momentum” of his choices for his doping. “Whether it’s the fans, it’s the media, it just gets gone,” he said.
He said the extent of the doping was far more limited than described in the damning USADA report by that alleged he was at the center of the most sophisticated doping program in sports history.
“No,” he said. “Oprah, it wasn’t. It was definitely professional, it was definitely smart if you can it that, but it was very conservative, very risk-averse,” he said.
To say that that program was bigger than the East German doping program in the 80s, it’s not true.”
He said “no” when asked if he had feared being caught. “There was no testing out of competition. Theoretically, they ran it, but they never did,” he said.
“You’re not going to get caught because you’re clean at the races,” he added, saying he used “scheduling” to dodge expected tests.
Armstrong finished first in the Tour de France 1999 and 2005, despite having suffered testicular cancer in 1996. He said he justified taking testosterone to himself because he had suffered the cancer.
The second part of the interview will be broadcast today Friday.