A year after admitting to doping during his seven Tour de France victories, Lance Armstrong has spoken out on the culture of doping in cycling.
As punishment for his transgressions, Armstrong received a lifelong competitive ban and was stripped of all of his Tour de France titles, but his comments in an interview with BBC Sport might surprise you. When asked if he’d ever dope again, Armstrong responded with the following:
It’s a complicated question, and my answer is not a popular answer. If I was racing in 2015, no, I wouldn’t do it again, because I don’t think you have to. If you take me back to 1995, when it was completely and totally pervasive, I’d probably do it again. People don’t like to hear that.
Armstrong was notoriously uncooperative during the anti-doping investigation against him, and this statement is far from remorseful. Still, he did make a strong point in addressing the inconveniences his lifelong, competitive ban presents.
Armstrong has been one of the sporting world’s greatest charitable contributors — his “Livestrong” charity generated over half a billion dollars for cancer research alone — yet his competitive ban not only precludes him from taking part in professional cycling events, but also any type of organized race, including charity events like the Boston Marathon.
I wanted to run the Boston Marathon to raise $100,000 (£66,500) for the MS Society, I couldn’t do it. And not just run, I couldn’t walk it, run a little bit, walk the aid stations and finish in four hours 15 minutes, but raise a hundred grand – I can’t do it.
I don’t know how anyone thinks that’s right.
Armstrong also touched on how important having his seven Tour de France titles restored would be for the sport.
If you go to Wikipedia and you look at the Tour de France, there’s this huge block in World War One with no winners, and there’s another block in World War Two. And then it seems like there’s another world war. There has to be a winner.
This interview will be used as part of the 30-min documentary, “Lance Armstrong: The Road Ahead,” which airs Jan. 29 on BBC News.